Everybody has one. The funny tales you made up while randomly looking at a candy wrapper, the fanfic you wrote when a series’ ending left you unsatisfied, a fully outlined novel plotted scene-by-scene on a notebook when you were in high school. Yes, those stories. Stories you loved when you were young. Stories that made you laugh and cry and swoon. Stories that came from the well of your heart.
But things don’t just spill on a page. Words don’t write themselves – boy, how we wished they do! Words doesn’t always like to be written. They’re mean, moody, and usually had to be forced out and bent to behave. And there’s no keeping those words; they haunt us, keep us tossing and turning in our beds, deprive us of sleep, bother us at work. Stories demand to come alive. The plot? Screaming. The trope? Swooning. The characters? They’re making a riot right before you write them, so you better start catching up.
It looks glamorous from the outside but really, a writer’s life is 100% slaving away for a story. But there’s joy in it. There’s this unexplainable feeling of racing to your word count and finally typing in, “The End.” You know how this goes. There’s cake and champagne after. The grueling fight with this chunky monster of a tale is done.
Now, the question is, what happens after? What becomes of your story?
Not all stories are alike, and not all stories become books. Many amazing stories were rejected many times at first. Surprisingly, a lot of mediocre ones got published. There’s no one size fits all formula – getting your story in book form always requires talent, intention, and perseverance.
And perhaps, a nice dash of good luck.
Actually, a lot of luck.
But there are ways to ensure that your book is among the better ones. Take a good look at your draft and check if you’ve got everything on this list.
A personal tip: Save your first draft as another file. Your second draft as another. Never, ever dismiss the importance of your first drafts, because if your story becomes completely different as you revise, you will always have the original draft to come back to. Also: you could recycle the old concepts in your future projects. You don’t have to lose all the magical words you wrote.
From Stories to Shelves 2021. All Rights Reserved.