I’ve only written one book for adults….TALES OF A FEMALE NOMAD. A non-fiction memoir travel book. That means I can’t offer any advice on writing fiction. When I think of trying fiction for adults, my hands get sweaty. I worry a lot about competing with the best of the fiction writers out there……..so I haven’t tried.
The best advice I ever got, when I was trying to write the NOMAD book, was from Ray Richards, my friend and a legendary literary agent in New Zealand. I might never have written the book if he hadn’t observed my organizational deficiencies and my paralysis in the face of the challenge of writing my first book for adults.
First Ray suggested that I write down the stories I remembered best, the ones I told frequently. Just the stories…in no particular order. He told me to just get them down on paper.
His second suggestion was that I create a series of files (notebooks, whatever) that would serve as what he called “memory joggers.” Files individually titled with words such as: people, surprises, places, chronology, fears, life as a loner, philosophies, etc. Obviously everyone has her own categories. The point is that I didn’t sit down and write a book. I did bits and pieces. Whenever an idea or a topic occurred to me, I added it to a file or created a new one. I was never stuck because there was always something I could add somewhere.
After a while I was able to write from beginning to end….but when I began, I wasn’t writing a book….I was filling files. An important psychological difference.
There’s more about the publishing process in the Writing for Kids section and in the section about how I wrote a proposal and found an agent. The whole thing has been a great experience….especially after the fact. There were times……………..
I’ll never get rich from NOMAD but I’m glad I did it.
Good luck to you.