post by Michelle Griep
Having half a metric ton of unfinished stories laying about is not only a fire hazard and just might get you on a prime time episode of Hoarders, that mess has a way of messing with your brain. You start to feel like you don't have it in you to create a tale from beginning to end. And guess what? You can't sell what you don't have. So even if you think your plot is an ugly yellow dung beetle, just finish it. That success will be a mile marker in your writerly life.
2. Love what you're doing.
If you can't work up the slightest tingle of hu-hum I-suppose-this-story-idea-is-okay, then don't start writing it (because remember, I told you that you have to finish what you start). Here's the dealio . . . you need to be passionate about the story you're telling. If you're not, then why the heck would you write it? And don't tell me, "But Michelle! I have to get my foot in the publishing door and the only way to do that is by spinning an Amish/Warlord/Ninja Romance." That's a load of hooey. Write the story that's burning inside of you, no matter what it is.
Yeah, I know I've beat your head with this dead horse in a thousand different ways. Okay, so that was kind of a gross visual, but just do it. Read. And don't read only in the genre that you write. In order to dazzle readers with your words, you need to be dazzled by words.
4. Be risky.
Take that feather boa off right now! Sheesh. I said risky, not risqué. Stretch the limits of your writing. Take a craft class or pick up a book on it if you need to. Writing the same way year after year is not only a yawner for yourself but for your readers as well. Explore spoken word poetry then try crafting some of your own. Not that you'll be putting this directly into your stories, but trying different types of writing gives your own writing a different flavor.
5. Don't stress about theme.
You are not Billy Sunday. Your book is not your pulpit so don't worry about trepanning a hole in the reader's skull and inserting your propaganda. Story is king, so write your story. A theme will develop when your back is turned. It always does.
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