Every great author has to start somewhere, so why not start with a Genesis Press journey? The publication house is offering $1,500 and a book deal to the winner of the 2009 Genesis Press Romance Writer contest.
To make sure that every entry is compelling, Genesis Press and Sister 2 Sister are offering up a few simple tips and tricks to remember while writing. It might be a good idea to follow the advice because it could help you discover the romance writer within.
1. Start with a bang! Don’t give the backstory in the beginning. Go immediately into the crux scene of your story, or start with the crisis.
2. Remember: There are no totally good or totally bad people in real life, or in fiction. Your characters are crucial, and it is important that they are well-rounded.
3. Send only your very best work to an editor or to your agent. Make sure your manuscript is neat and that you have edited it as thoroughly as you are able. Neatness, spelling and grammar all count in this very competitive field.
4. Speaking of grammar: avoid unnatural contractions; e.g., should’ve or would’ve.
5. Dialogue is extremely important and one of the first things we look for in a manuscript that is under consideration. It should sound natural. It’s very easy to overwrite dialogue, resulting in a stilted, overly-formal style that bears little resemblance to the way people really talk.
For example, people do not usually use each other’s names repeatedly in an exchange. If they did, it would sound (and read) like this:
“How are you, Mom?”
“I’m fine, son, how are you?”
Also, people tend to use common contractions. In a real-life conversation, someone is much more likely to say, “I don’t believe it!” than “I do not believe it!” If you are having trouble writing dialogue, read it aloud. If it doesn’t sound right when you say it, then it won’t sound right when someone reads it either.
6. As Kurt Vonnegut said, “Every character should want something, even if it’s only a glass of water.”
7. Do your research; even small details matter. If it’s important enough for you to write it, it’s important enough to research. If you are writing something set in the past, make sure that the people, places and things you mention actually were present at the time.
8. Rewrite! Rewrite! Rewrite! We can’t emphasize this enough. The first time out into any story, very little goes directly and perfectly from brain to paper. As your story unfolds, you will find that your characters change, and your situations change. In short, you may not end up writing the same story you started out with. Don’t be afraid to go in and revamp everything you’ve done in order to tell a better story. All successful writers do this.
9. Once you’ve got your manuscript where you want it, send it out. Don’t just keep it in your desk. While it’s true that most new writers meet with their share of rejection, it’s also true that you’ll never get published if you just sit on your stuff! And even rejections can be helpful to your writing, if you learn to use them right.
10. In order to develop good characters, a writer must be willing to look at their own flaws and failures. The more a writer is willing to be honest and transparent (at least with him or herself), the more it will transfer over to the characters, making them easy to relate to and believable.
To enter the contest, click here.