13 Terrible Reasons Not to Be an Author

As I’ve said before in my past article, So You Want to Write a Novel – A Brief Overview of 7 Key Elements, everybody has a story inside of them that they want to share with the world. So why isn’t everybody writing a book? Below is a list of 13 terrible reasons why people choose to not write their story, and my response to those claims.

  1. “No one will buy my books.” – even if you start with only a few people, SOMEONE will buy your book. A friend or family member who wants to help you out. Or make friends with another author, do them a solid by buying and promoting their book and watch the favor be returned.
  2. “I don’t have the time to write.” – If you can set aside 15-30 minutes every day, you can have enough content for a book in a year. If only 4 days a week, in two years you’ve got your content. No excuses!
  3. “My writing isn’t very good.” – If you get the content out, an editor can help you turn it into a good piece of writing. While being a good speller, knowing grammar, and having an eloquence with words is a great help, a lack of those does not need to keep you from writing a book. Lean on others when you must.
  4. “I don’t know how to write a book.” – Well then, I guess you’re in the right place! This blog will cover how to write a book so follow my blog, read the articles, and share it with your friends!
  5. “Only a few people make money from being an author.” – Good. Then be one of those few. It is slow starting out, but as you build up momentum you can start to make some money. Perhaps not billions of dollars, but if you make any profits, wasn’t it worth it?
  6. “I can’t come up with good stories.” – Translation: “I haven’t yet come up with a good story.” That’s where collaboration can help. Not that you need to write a story with someone else, but another author prodding you and picking your brain can help bring out ideas you never even knew existed!
  7. “People will judge my writing based on famous authors and I will fall short.” – Sure they will! Just be happy that they are putting your name in the same sentence as Rowling, King, Martin.
  8. “I don’t have the support I need.” – There are some great Facebook groups that can give you the support you need. Or check with the library and see if there are any local writing groups.
  9. “I don’t have the money to pay for publishing.” – My costs have been approximately $50, and that was on my cover art. And that was given as a gift from my dad. Self-publishing is a very reasonable way to put out a novel. I’ll cover that in this blog as well!
  10. “No traditional publisher will pick me up.” – As I mentioned, there’s always self-publishing. Both have their ups and downs.
  11. “I don’t know how to market a book.” – Welcome to the club! But we learn as we go. Through other authors that I’ve become friends with I’ve seen what works for them and will be using those techniques to market my books.
  12. “I never finish projects that I start.” – That was me for 38 years! Then in 2013 I changed my mind. I decided, “Hmm, let’s finish something for once.” So I did. And it was a brand new beginning! This blog will give you tips for pressing on, and writing groups can help with that as well.
  13. “I don’t know what I’d write.” – Talk to me. Together we’ll choose something. I’ll draw it out of you and send you along with an idea and a plan!

In my opinion, these are not reasons so much as excuses. Over the years I’ve clung to at least 9 of these, and more! It’s all part of maturing as a writer to overcome these mindsets and producing the novel you’ve always wanted to tell!

How about you? If you’re putting off writing what is your excuse? Or if you are a writer, which of these hurdles have you overcome? Share in the comments below.

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5 Critical Parts to Building Your Novel’s World

Just as important as it is to know the parts of writing a novel, you need understand how to build a solid world in which your characters will live. This can take as little as a short afternoon to cover critical points as related to your story all the way up to spending over a decade just creating the world in which you will tell future stories.

In my previous article, So You Want to Write a Novel – A Brief Overview of 7 Key Elements, I shared with you the most important parts you’ll need to write an intriguing novel. One of those key elements was about location and how worldbuilding is essential if you want to draw your readers into your story. Worldbuilding is an entire course in itself, and should be given some of the highest priority. To get you started, I’m sharing what I see as the 5 most critical parts that need to go into the creation of your world. In future articles I will talk about each more in-depth, but this overview can help you begin.

1) Geographical Regions/Lay of the land

Of course your novel’s world needs to have a landmass. Whether it all takes place in a single city, a haunted bungalow, or a planet with rivers, mountains and deserts, forests, plains and more, you need a physical location for your characters to live out the story. It would be beneficial to at least decide on some preliminary settings before you begin to write. Describe what they look like. Not in your story, but in a separate document that you can refer to when you need it.

2) Races and creatures

For a fantasy/sci-fi/paranormal novel, you’ll need to decide on what the primary races of characters are. In Game of Thrones you basically see only humans, whereas in Elfstones of Shannara there are elves, humans, dwarves, demons, among others. Even paranormal books may have humans, vampires, werewolves, and/or ghosts. Are the creatures going to be standard creatures you’d find on Earth, or do you want centaurs, unicorns, goblins, or dragons?

And if you stick with Earthlike settings, you still might have to decide what groups of people inhabit which geographical regions. Are there different countries or nations, like on Earth? Or is the world a one-world government with no breakdown of regions?

3) Economy

This is something that is often overlooked. How do people determine the value of items, services, or knowledge? Does the entire world use the same currency? Are there areas that trade instead of using money? What about inflation? Supply and demand? Are any of these elements important in your world? They may not be to you, or to the reader, but I’m sure they are to the people who live in this world you’re creating.

4) Class System/Society

Is everyone equal in the eyes of the law (or in the eyes of God, if you prefer)? Are there people in authority? One or two warring governments, each with their own laws and societal makeup or are customs local? In most cases there will likely be a difference between the rich and the poor. Kings or presidents and their citizens. What rights are bestowed on everybody, and how do you determine if certain rights are provided for a few select people?

5) History

Unless you are starting the story with the creation of everything that exists, there is history. How old is your world? What are critical past events that have happened? You don’t need to include any of this in your novel, but knowing for yourself why things are the way they are will help you determine important parts of your story. Are there any legendary leaders that have helped forge the world the way it is? Past wars that have caused alliances or divisions? These are important to know.

Bringing it Together

As we can see, there is a huge amount of work that can go into building a quality world. You could spend years or decades forming the perfect place for your future characters to live out their adventures. But you also need to balance that with time.

If you have a story that you are ready to start writing, you still need to make sure some of these elements are covered. If your story only takes place in a certain town you don’t really have the need to decide how the river on another island has changed course over time. But you do need to figure out the layout of the town, and the layout of the key locations within the town (such as the bakery’s layout). You need to figure out who the main groups of people are, how they relate to each other, and any historically significant events that might be important to your plot.

Although this list is certainly not exhaustive, it’s a great place to start and be able to figure out the basics of the world in which your story will take place. In the following months I’ll be going more in-depth on these 5 parts of building a great world, and touching on other worldbuilding elements as well.

And now for a challenge!

I’d love to hear your experiences or your preconceptions. In the comments section, share your favorite part of creating a new world, or why you prefer to use pre-existing places. If you have never built a world, what part sounds the most exciting or daunting to you?

So You Want to Write a Novel – A Brief Overview of 7 Key Elements

Everybody has a story inside them and you’re no different! But if you’re like a lot of people I’ve talked to, perhaps you aren’t sure where to begin. Do you just start writing about some awesome character you know everyone will love? Do you need an outline? Start with a title or an action scene or a conversation or, well, you get the picture. Over the next several months I’ll cover all of these questions, and more! But for now I’d like to start with an overview on seven key elements to writing a novel.

But before I jump into these seven key elements, there is an important question you’ll need to answer before you begin writing your novel. What genre are you looking to write? Do you want to write epic fantasy, bone-chilling horror, or dystopian science fiction? Or are you more partial to a wild western, or a steamy romance? That’s something you’ll have to decide from the start. Now that you’ve got an inkling of an idea what kind of book you’d like to write, what are the key elements that you’ll want to focus on to write a compelling story?

1) Obviously no story can be told without characters. Over the course of this series, I’ll cover character creation and help you form well-crafted characters. They are the central theme of stories, and the most important element of your novel.

2) These wonderful characters need a place to live! Worldbuilding is another key element of writing a novel. J. R. R. Tolkien is often seen as the penultimate world-builder with his creation of Middle Earth. Because worldbuilding can be such an intricate task, there will be several articles dedicated to what goes into this key element.

3) One of the elements that many people find most difficult is dialogue. How do you create the relationships between the characters? How do you write conversations that leave the reader feeling like the characters were right there before them, allowing them to hear every word? How do you keep it from sounding cheesy? It takes practice. I’m finding the dialogue for my current book is much more refined than what I provided in Winter’s Bite. And I’ll share my tips in an upcoming post or two.

4) What kind of items are found in your novel? This would depend in part on the time period, the genre, the advancements in technology. In a fantasy world, do you want to create oak trees or do you want to design your own plant, perhaps a Hul Vine? How are your characters dressed? Do they carry walking sticks? Is everyone armed? Do the food and drinks have unique names or will you stick with bread and ale? Just make sure that you don’t include automobiles in 16th century England, unless you’re writing something off-the-wall.

5) This one will be present in many genres, but perhaps not all of them. But you’ll want to decide if there are any supernatural or special rules about the world. If you’re writing a romance novel, it is standard romance or are you touching on paranormal romance? In a standard romance novel, will the ghost of a former lover show up? Does magic exist? Is gravity the same as Earth, or are there new laws of physics?

6) If you don’t want your audience to fall asleep, you’ve got to come up with some heart-thumping action scenes! A swordfight between two dueling lords, a sultry night between the CEO of Ronn Electronics and one of his clients, a chase scene that threatens to land the hero in prison – or dead. Fast-paced action will help your reader stay interested in your story.

7) Finally, none of these elements mean anything without a plot. The storyline will take your reader on the adventure of their life, and you’ll want to learn to do that well. I’ll show you how to add multiple plotlines and some tips for keeping the timing straight on them (my experiences here will be shared in a later post).

The writing tips that I will post over the next several months will help you to transform your ideas for a story into a plan of action to put them into words for the world to read. As long as you have a solid grasp on the seven elements that I touched on in this post – characters, locations, dialogue, items, supernatural elements, action, and a solid plot – and you blend them together, you will have a story that the world needs to hear!

So what do you think the most difficult element will be for you? Let me know in the comments section!

Begin Your Adventure With Me!

Thank you for taking the time to visit The Author’s Blade. This is the first blog post and I’d like to go into a little bit of detail about what you’ll find here.

For starters, the intended audience that will receive the biggest benefit from this site will be the people who want to write a novel but just don’t know where to begin. It does seem a daunting task, writing a novel, but with my help you will be able to overcome many of the hurdles I had to stumble over. Or, if you already have your start and are just struggling with certain aspects of writing a novel, you may find benefit here, too. Maybe you struggle with writing dialogue. That will be covered in one of the posts. Or perhaps you have too many subplots that are just mucking things up and you want to resolve them. There will be an article on that as well. But even professional writers understand the value in looking at things from a different perspective and perhaps they will see something in a way they haven’t before. Or just maybe you don’t buy into the idea that we all have a story inside us that wants to get out, and you’re just here for the wit. That’s great too.

I have several months worth of articles that I will be posting in my Novel Writing Tips series. I’ll start with an overview and a few foundational items, and then move on to characters, worldbuilding, plotlines, dialogue, action, and many other topics. I’ll go over what tools to use, how to find time to write, and then finish up the series on post-writing activities such as proofreading, editing, beta readers, formatting, self-publishing, book launch, and promotion.

In addition to the Novel Writing Tips series, I’m planning to include a Spotlight on Poetry series. I’ll pick one form of poetry per article, give a brief overview on the structure of that form, and give a few examples of that form. I’ll also write my own poem of that form and include it in the article.

Lastly, you’ll find writing tips that may not apply solely to novels or poetry, and instead focus on some of the broader aspects of writing. I intend to retweet short writing tips that I find for inspiration, so be sure to follow me on Twitter for those! And for updates on my current novel, be sure to follow me on Facebook!

That’s all for now, and soon we’ll unleash your inner story together!
~Robert Adkisson~

More About the Author:
I’m an author, gamer, husband, father, and friend. This blog is dedicated to helping people tell the story they’ve always wanted to tell. For more information about me, read my bio.