Writers aren’t necessarily born, they can be made too. And for those of us who weren’t blessed with spontaneous literary talent, it takes a lot of practice to perfect the art of storytelling. In today’s economy, being a good writer isn’t enough; you have to be a selling author too. No publisher will accept a manuscript that is not commercially viable, although there are still stories where novels that later became huge successes were rejected a number of times (think Harry Potter). So how can you become a good writer? Read on and find out.
String a Coherent Sentence Together
Many people today barely know how to spell, let alone write a grammatically complex sentence that also has literary depth. That is due to the advent of ‘spell- check’ and ‘auto- correct’ technology on our phones and computers. The publishing industry is one place where good grammar and spelling still counts. If you can’t string two coherent sentences together, learn how. Take a class if necessary. Write your stories, but keep re writing them until you feel your language skills will pass muster with a professional proof reader. The occasional typo or spelling/ grammar mistake is excusable; it happens to the best of writers. But if there are i’s and e’s in the wrong place, if the syntax makes no sense, if there are too many contractions, you might want to hit the library.
Get the Details Right
Many authors are vilified in the press and by the public for not getting the details right. If you don’t know enough about the topic you want to write about, then do some research. No, do a lot of research. Find out enough about everything that you sound like the voice of knowledge in the story. If a group of teenagers rob a convenience store in a city (in the story), know that they cannot get away because they will be caught on cctv cameras inside the store and traffic cameras outside. Get to know how you can install security systems like a surveillance camera right here.
Similarly, if you want to write about a medical romance and one of them is an ER surgeon, remember that they have hectic shifts and your ‘romance’ might be short- lived. Never underestimate the importance of getting the details right, whether its cctv cameras in Brisbane and footage that can lead to the capture of thieves, or the shift times of surgeon and nurse who is having an affair.
Know What the Market Needs
Ideally, a writer can write whatever he/ she want and if it’s a good book, it will sell. The truth is that most best- sellers are a result of clever marketing by publishers or writers getting on the bandwagon of a current trend. Good writers however can start a trend: when J. K. Rowling first published Harry Potter, it marked a major shift in how the world viewed children’s books. Businessmen noticed that even books could be franchised and soon, the famous novel became movies, spin- off books, a stage play, a spin- off movie and even theme parks around the world. Many other writers got on the Harry Potter bandwagon and started producing children’s fantasy books which became just as popular. So either you can be the one- in- a- thousand writer who creates a trend and creates a cash cow, or you can be one of the other several hundred writers who cash in alongside it. Your choice.