Thursday, 14 April 2016

The Secret Formula for Writing Success

Before I was published I used to go to a lot of author talks about getting published.  I was always hoping they'd reveal the magic formula or, at the very least, some of the magic might rub off on me.

Now I'm published and give those talks myself and I can reveal - just to you - that Yes!  There really is a Secret Formula for Writing Success. To celebrate my return to blogging, I will reveal it to you.  It is:

A + B = Success!!!

It really is that simple.

Of course, there are complications, because with secret formulae there always are complications.  First off, what does success mean?  Well, it means whatever you want it to mean.  That might be a conventional publishing contract, or your mother/partner/child's approval, or shedloads of money and an appearance on TV.  It's entirely up to you to define what your success will look like.  As to the rest of the formula:

A = Get it finished.

It doesn't matter what you're writing, unless it's finished no one else can read it so getting it finished is essential.  The trick with this is to remember that Finished is not a synonym for Well Written. The writer who hands in their very first draft and has their readers applauding is rare; most that I know expect to write what is often called a Dirty Draft before they get on with the second stage.

B = Make it good.

"Good" here means making the writing as effective as possible - if you're writing horror, your reader should be really scared. If you're writing romance, your reader should feel all warm and fuzzy.  If you're writing a thriller, your reader's heart should be rattling along at the same speed as the pages get turned.

The formula only works when you put A and B together - no point in making it good, if it never gets finished.   And no point in getting it finished if you never go back to make it good.  The two go together.

There are lots of different methods to achieve A and lots of advice and exercises to achieve B.  But essentially that's all it comes down to.  A + B = Success.


Patsy said...

A and B are definitely important. I think we also need a touch of C to ensure success though.

Anonymous said...

Im just so happy your blog has suddenly started to pop into my letter box again. Dont know if it was a cyber glitch or if you just took time off to write another book, either way Im pleased to see your name again! Ginny

Sarah Duncan said...

Ah yes, C the magic ingredient! Yup, it's essential to have a good dollop of C in the mix.

Hi Ginny, not a glitch, at least not cyber wise - a glitch me-wise perhaps. Thanks for the nice message, it's really kind.