Marcia Preston hosted one of the workshops at the Central Coast Writer's Conference this year. She is a published author who lives in Edmund, OK. She presented us with a good list of Writing Tips which I will share with you.
1. Your story needs to be something special and unique. It needs to hook the reader in the first few paragraphs, through the character or the setting.
2. There needs to be a strong sense of character and of place.
3. Structure your novel well...make sure you have all the elements of Plot Structure, and you work this to the max.
4. She suggest keeping a Writer's Journal. This is a place you can jot down ideas for future novels, or record events you witness and turn these into story ideas.
5. When selecting an agent, be sure it is one you feel you can work with. One who is compatible, and aggressive. A bad agent is worse than no agent at all.
6. Don't overlook Small Presses and Publishing companies.
7. Once you have sent out your book to an agent or editor, start right away writing on the next one.
8. Here's the important one...Marcia Preston says to begin now...even before you have a novel accepted or published, to build a platform. This means, get a Blog, and/or Web Site, join Facebook, etc. Starting building a fan base and get your name known. She also said if an agent or editor sees you were willing to put forth this effort before you got published, then they know you will be willing to really promote your book once it's out in print.
That is why I have this Blog site, and my Web site:
http://www.adventuresinfiction.vpweb.com/ Check it out.
Facebook? Well, I'm not quite ready for that just yet.
So, I hope these tips will be helpful to you. Some, I'm sure you are already aware of, but just think about them a bit more...and what they really mean to your finished product.
Marcia also said you can use Brand Names and Song Titles in your story with no problem. However, if you use lyrics you do have to obtain permission first. You can also use "show names", like The Jay Leno Show, etc. I know some of you have wondered about this.
And her most important piece of advice: Never, Never Give Up!
Keep Writing Ya'all,