Please welcome author Rula Sinara as she talks about....
It’s not about being pretty. Yes, you want to follow proper format on a manuscript, but agonizing for hours over how to get 25 lines on your page instead of the 23 that are haunting you at night is a waste of precious time. Having blatant two-inch margins and an entire manuscript in italics is practically an act of defiance (can you tell I have teenagers), given how many clear sources there are on proper formatting. However, editors aren’t window shopping. They’re not going to buy your book because it looked all pretty. They’re going to buy it because of its quality and fit. All that time I spent counting lines and worrying over minutia, I should have spent on conflict.
A Writer’s Hindsight and the Secret that Sold
By Rula Sinara
Although I’m a strong believer in education (bookworm here), I also know without a doubt that experience can trump what’s found on a page. I tell my kids all the time that it doesn’t matter if they read the examples in their math textbook a zillion times. They have to work problems if they’re going to really ‘get it’. I’ve also reminded them that, even though they’re smarter than I was at their age, I will always be ahead of them in experience (I’m sure they love hearing that lol).
As a writer, I love the fact that there will always be wiser, more experienced authors who I can (and have) turned to for advice. I can’t tell you how many writing blogs I’ve turned to for answers. How many craft books I devoured. However, with my first book now on shelves, I’ve been able to look back and clearly see where—despite excellent advice—I wasted time and energy on that road to publication because of misplaced paranoia and perfectionism.
I’m a craft book junkie. I read up on voice, character development, motivation…you name it. It’s all crucial, especially having characters with realistic, organic motivation for their goals. But, in my opinion, all of that links back to a story needing a solid conflict—a situation where the actions a hero or heroine must take to achieve their ultimate goal, will prevent the other from achieving theirs. Rather than turning this into a conflict lesson, I’ll refer you to the man who made it all click for me. Michael Hague. If you ever have the chance to attend one of his ‘Story Mastery’ lectures (I always listen to him at RWA Nationals), do so. You can also check out his website at www.storymastery.com. What I will say here is this…the one thing that kept my earlier manuscripts from selling wasn’t spacing or typos. It was not having the right (or strong enough) conflict. I know this from editor feedback, so I’m passing that tip on to you. No amount of description or voice will sell your story if there is no story. Most of us wish there were more than 24 hours in a day. Prioritize your writing focus as you do other things. Make sure your conflict is strong and compelling. Nail that first…and the rest comes after.Bio:
Rula Sinara lives in Virginia’s countryside with her husband, three boys and crazy but endearing pets. When she's not writing or doing mom stuff, she loves organic gardening, attracting wildlife to her yard (cool bugs included) or watching romantic movies. She also enjoys interviewing fellow authors and is a Special Contributor for USA Today's Happy Ever After blog. Her door is always open at www.rulasinara.com or www.awritersrush.blogspot.com.
Blurb: The Promise of Rain
The Busara elephant research and rescue camp on Kenya's Serengeti is Anna Bekker's life's work. And it's the last place she thought she'd run into Dr. Jackson Harper. As soon as he sets eyes on her four-year-old, Pippa, Anna knows he'll never leave…without his daughter.
Furious doesn't begin to describe how Jack feels. How could Anna keep this from him? He has to get his child back to the States. Yet as angry as he is with Anna, they still have a bond. But can it endure, despite the ocean—and the little girl—between them?
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