Whether you’re just working on your very first manuscript or carving through your tenth, each one has it’s own set of rules. It’s a different story with different characters/emotions/expectations which requires you to DO different things to tell it.
There are resources you can use, however that give you a decent path towards success should you need it. Each of my novels has been vastly different from the last but I always rely on the following to complete each one.
Shut the laptop and go pick up a book within the genre you’re writing. Get inspiration and make notes. This is always a fool proof way for me to get out of my funk. But don’t do it for purely pleasure, read like a writer. Ask yourself questions.
Why do I like this character so much?
Why is this one easier to put down than others I get sucked into?
How is the pacing?
Decide what it is you want your reader to get from your story and figure out how someone else managed to do it.
2. Make Connections in the Industry
Social Media can be the devil for many reasons. But it can also be extraordinarily helpful in connecting you to other writers that you wouldn’t have met otherwise. Get to know these people, read their work, support them however you can because (what I love about this writing world, is that writers are wonderfully generous to one another) you’ll need/want the same in return. This is also a great way to meet beta readers!
You wouldn’t believe how helpful a critique can be. Is it tough to read someone’s feedback on something you’ve spent months to years working on? SURE! But do you also want to put out your absolute best work? ABSOLUTELY! So, meet people, scratch each others backs, and get better.
3. Go to a Conference
They are expensive, but this is where you want to spend your money. Take a writer friend with you and split a hotel (it’s fun and really handy when you need a drinking buddy after a tough day of pitching agents). There are classes where real agents give advice/insight/tips and you get to ask questions! That’s the best part, for a brief moment, they become REAL people to you and not this untouchable god who terrifies you.
This is also a GREAT way to practice talking about your book and yourself! I’m a person who gets social anxiety pretty bad and (thanks to Instagram) I was able to meet an author who is now a dear friend and helped prepare me for DAYS before this conference. Thanks to her, I spoke with two agents, both of which asked to see more pages (which had NEVER happened before!)
Now, both rejected me in the end BUT, this was a great experience and I have zero regrets!
4. Save Yourself!
If you are going to read any book that’s specifically for writing, get Save The Cat. It will be your bible and you will use it for EVERY book you write after. Jessica Brody constructed a complete guide for any genre and solutions for any issue you may run into AND she does it in a way that is interesting and fun to read. Highly recommend this one.
5. Have a Trustworthy Set of Beta Readers
It’s not enough to just have people read for you if they won’t be honest. It comes from a good place, I’m sure! They want you to feel confident/don’t want to insult you or hurt your feelings, but this doesn’t do your work justice. You NEED that honesty to tell you what is missing, what you have too much of, whether or not a scene is confusing (because while you’re writing, you know the backstory - someone else doesn’t). RELY on them because this is going to be that first chance to “edit” your work and know what needs tweaking and how much.