Here it is in a nutshell.
1. Fill in the blanks.
An (adjective)(adjective)(somebody) desperately needs to (blank) the (blank), otherwise (blank) will (blank). It is not easy because an (adjective)(adjective)(obstacle) stands in the way. Story opens with (action event) that (blank) the protagonist to want to (blank), which becomes more urgent when (blank) (blank) the (blank). The task must be finished before (blank) is (blank).
2. Put a “corpse” on the first page, and a “shootout” in the final chapter. The “corpse” and “shootout” can be literally a corpse and a shootout, or something that can be figuratively described as such. (Do NOT place a dead body on a piece of paper and call it a corpse on the first page. Be more creative.)
3. Master “show don’t tell”. Omit needless words. Learn the art of point-of-view. Turn every scene and every dialogue into a clear and obvious conflict leading to a resolution. Every conflict must move the plot forward.
4. The first draft always sucks, but don’t try to polish it before you finish it. The second draft is always longer than the first and never has missing characters or plot elements. The third draft is shorter than the second because you just deleted (never added) characters, plot elements, and chapters. Then you send it out to 3 to 9 beta readers (usually 5 or 6) who will resoundingly tell you that your work sucks and instruct you on how to mutilate it. Never argue. Fall into a spiral of self doubt. Tear your book apart and paste it back together until you have a fourth draft. Send it to a professional editor (but ask for a quote first) who will tell you (for a hefty fee) that your work sucks and instruct you to go to a writing seminar, a psychiatrist, or to repent and join a seminary. Never argue. Take whatever lessons you gleaned from the diatribes of the editor and incorporate it into your novel. Now that you have your fifth draft you have a choice of burning the manuscript and slitting your wrist, or self publishing a digital book and let your manuscript drift into the internet void, or sending your manuscript to an agent or publisher who will tell you that your work sucks and tactfully direct you to shoot yourself. Never argue. After you have shot yourself ten to twelve times (because not every rejection successfully triggers a gun), you may be lucky enough to find an agent or publisher who will give your manuscript a lukewarm reception and pay you an advance of twenty dollars. Your book will be published, critically acclaimed by three book reviewers who publish literary magazines out of mom’s basement on recycled toilet paper, given one-star reviews by Amazon customers who did not get the cooking book or pornography they expected from the blurb, and the book will disappear after the first printing.
How long do most people take to write a book?
Here is the equation: Take the average number of words you can write in a day over the course of five working days, say 1000 words per day. Cut by half for a realistic daily word count for long term, 500 words. Multiply by 5 working days makes 2500 words per week. Now set your target word count. For a first time book by an unknown author that should be about 80K to 100K words. Let’s say 80K. Divide total number by weekly word count and you get 8 months for the first draft. Insert three months to account for the 30K block, six months for the 40K block, and 9 months for the “fuck it, I’m just gonna die” block. Now you have 26 months. Assuming that you have finished your first draft by then, add one month for re-reading your first draft, tearing it apart, and hating yourself. Two months to begin to see some merit in it. Another month to discover the copy of the draft you did not delete in the attachment file of the email you sent to your high school sweetheart who is not talking to you anymore. Now at 30 months you can start burning your brain on the second draft and you realize you need another 12 months to research the botanical heritage of domesticated onions. After you have finished your research, you realize that a daily word count of 300 is more realistic for your new style which has matured over time, but your target word count has increased to 120K. You scrap your draft and start over with a fresh idea and try to come up with a better equation this time. After about 30 years of repeating the above, you realize that trying to figure out how long it takes to write a book is a waste of time and that you might have gotten published 30 years ago if you weren’t constantly fretting about the manuscript that wasn’t getting ahead fast enough. There is no way your manuscript will be finished next year, or the year after that, or even the year after that if you keep worrying when it will ever get finished. Your book is going to take a long time to finish. That is how long it takes.
Does anyone in here know how it feels to get shot? (I realize it’s a major longshot but figured I’d ask)
(After a long line of sarcastic replies)
Not to ruin such a humorous thread with a serious response, there are numerous resources out there on this topic.
Gun enthusiasts are most pissed when they read unrealistic depictions of guns in fiction and they have many internet articles discussing just that. Many gun enthusiasts have been in shooting accidents and know first hand what it feels like. Some have written at length about their experience. You may want to reach out to them.
Gun shot trauma is remarkably common in some parts of the world (but not in my neighborhood fortunately). There are doctors who specialize in them. You can find many graphic descriptions of gunshot wounds in specialized journals.
If you go to the Pubmed website, you will find an archive of every medical article ever published after about 1960, find the name of the journal you are looking for, then go to the library and ask for relevant books and documents.
And, of course, you can try shooting yourself, but writing is a traumatic enough endeavor as it is.
BETA READING QUERY
How to trust my beta that my manuscript wouldn’t be stolen?
Send your manuscript to competent readers who have experience enough at writing to understand that stealing a beta manuscript is not worth the trouble.
Where do you get (story) ideas from?
Agatha Christie suggested Marks & Spencer. You might find a better deal at Walmart. Try to avoid knockoffs from China.
i want to be a writer. plz help me how can i do it.
I want to be a writer too. I have been trying for 40 years. Plz help me.