My guest is romance author, Houston A.W Knight, aka, Hawk. Many may know her from her blog and also know she’s been deep in her writers cave the past few months.
Aspiring authors work hard to get their work published. Sometimes it feels like pushing a stone up a mountain. There is just so much to learn and apply.
Most writers I know are professionals with successful careers. These writers have worked hard for the measure of success they have.
Breaking into fiction writing, however, levels the playing field because they’re starting out entry level and dealing with rejections. A place many haven’t been in years. Oh, and let’s not forget most these writers are doing this while juggling life, family, jobs, and trying to carve out time to write. To follow a dream and build a writing career.
I love hearing success stories. When any of my friends get THE CALL, I’m thrilled for them. I know how hard they’ve been working for this day, this call.When I received a giddy call from Hawk (yes you were keyed up and giddy, my friend), I was so excited. I asked her to please take the time away from her deadlines and talk about her journey to publication and what she learned along the way.
To be Published Or Not To Be Published, that is the question. To which I answered, I wanna be published!!!
And I have.
First, let me reassure Sia, that my dog still has his hearing and no windows were broken in my house. Yep, she asked me that. I think she was a wee bit disappointed to hear I was very calm and business like when I received the call from the publisher. I wanted deadline details and release dates. Once it sank it I was excited and shared my news with friends.
I know the frustrations, and doubts we struggling writers go through. I want to share what secrets I discovered to make my dream come true.
I joined a writers’ chapter and learned a lot of basic things. The 'helpful' information given by the 'Pros' sounded good, but didn't really help. I wondered what secret information they were all dancing around and why they just didn't come out and tell me what I needed to know to get the job done. Being an Irish lass, I had to uncover their secrets.
- First secret: I'm sure you all have heard it; Show Don't Tell.
We all know that means showing how the hero walked into the room instead of telling the reader he walked in. But more importantly is picking the right things to SHOW. How do you know what to pick? You’re writing a romance, go for showing the deep POV of the Character (show their emotions) with a few details of the surroundings. What the Pro’s don’t tell you is YOU HAVE TO BALANCE THAT SHOWING WITH "TELLING" ~ so the rule 'show don't tell' didn't work for me because if you study published authors…they "show AND tell."
- Second secret: They'll say, be sure to give the GMC (Goals, Motivations and Conflict).
What they don't tell you is that you have to put that in the very first paragraph if you want a publisher to look at your work. Actually, your first three lines of your opening paragraph should be the heroines full name, her profession and her GMC and the forth line should be a hook. Pick up a book by a new author and check the opening paragraph and you’ll see just often this is true with new authors. Those already published will break this rule, but you're not published…yet :-) you've got to play by the rules…for now!
- Secret three: What in the heck did they mean, "Focus on the romance."
I’ll bet most of you said what I did ~ Well duh, I'm writing a romance…but what did they really mean?
If you want to sell a book…every two or three lines should have an emotion. That's what they're not telling you. Go to your favorite author…don't read the book, read the lines and mark the emotions and see just how often she slipped in an emotion you weren't even aware of reading. SURPRISE!
When they say give details, what they don't tell you is, we don't care if Tom passed the salt to Mary. What we are interested in is that as Tom passed the salt to Mary his heart was breaking because he couldn’t bring himself to confess his love for her. Now THAT'S a detail we care about.
- Secret Four: Giving the details.
There are a lot of secret shadings in the advice writers are given. Advice that appears helpful but if you don't delve deeper…you'll spend years trying to understand what they want.
Another key to getting published it watching what's going on around you in the business. There will come a time when you'll have to decide your options. Do you keep writing what you love knowing it won't sell or change and write what sells? I'm not saying chase the market…I'm saying study what's happening in the market. Know what’s selling and what’s not. Then be willing to change Genre.
There was a time in my life when I was about to give up. We all hit those days. DON'T GIVE UP. I'm telling you right now…it won't work, you'll be like a druggy sneaking off to write a story and you'll tell yourself you're not really writing, you are…so, forget about it…you're a writer and accept you'll have those days. KEEP GOING!! Hanging in there is your only chance at getting your foot in the door. I don't care if you're hanging on by your last fingernail…HANG IN THERE…you can make this happen.