Thursday, October 25, 2012

A question I receive weekly...

I get a lot of requests from people about co-authoring non-fiction work, mainly of the self-help variety. I always turn them down; for me, writing is a personal thing where I open a vein and bleed onto my keyboard, and I believe it should be for them as well. There is also the fact that I have a laundry list of fiction projects to write, and that's my preference. If that sounds selfish, I'm not going to apologize.

I do believe in paying it forward though. I have had plenty of help in the first decade of my career as other authors have given me pointers and tips: R.A. Salvatore, Steven Savile and Kevin J. Anderson being the main three. I've given these same pointers to other authors, like Nickie Storey, Jeff Beesler, and up-and-coming urban fantasy author Foster Haskell. I hope they'll do the same to others as their careers grow. Quick aside: I tease buddy Mike Crane, the drabble man, all the time about his inability to write a full-length novel... Daniel Arenson and I always tell him to "WTFN!" which translates to Write The Fucking Novel. We're still working on him... but anyway, moving on.

When these people who ask me to co-author tell me that they don't know where to start, I always say, "The beginning." Self-help, about helping people deal with issues, starts at the beginning... what happened when you became addicted? The day your spouse was addicted... or diagnosed. That should be your jumping point, your beginning. Tell the story from that point, and don't leave out details.

The same goes for fiction writing. Sit at your computer, put your fingers on the keyboard. Put something on the screen. You'll be surprised how much your conscious self will reveal to you, and it'll make the writing that much more personal.

"But I don't have the time to write." BS. Stop the bitching right now. You're on Facebook, or you're watching TV. Writing means sacrifice. It means giving something else up in order to get your X number of words onto the screen. Here comes a tip I learned from Kevin: If you have a loaded day, try just writing two sentences. Two sentences is two sentences you didn't have before you started that day. Two sentences is two sentences closer to finishing your book. Two sentences can become two paragraphs, and ten minutes later--or it feels like ten minutes--you can have a page done. 
The moral to this story: Don't sell yourself short; everyone has a book in them.
Happy writing.