This has been a tough year of rejections. From literary agents to magazines to newspapers. If I concentrate only on the negative, it's been pathetic. BUT...the year has not been a total disaster. I have had some articles published, and I won my first award as a writer. The award certainly helped my confidence level, as it confirmed what I firmly believe: I am a good writer. It was also great to see a copy of my front-page article being held by a fan at a Sweet Tea Trio concert. The girls themselves told me they loved the piece I did on them, calling me very talented.
Just when I think I'll quit writing forever, some nugget of good will surface. So I keep at it, all the while reading and writing - and getting better. My first novel is on hold. It will probably remain on the shelf for a while because that genre (Civil War) is not currently selling. So, my next novel is ready to submit to agents, and that will be a primary focus in the coming weeks. I've also completed several short stories that I'm excited about, and those are being edited and submitted as well.
While researching, I've come across some tips that my writer buddies probably already know, but might find helpful. If you write suspense, here are some things you need to consider: 1) Include hints about worrisome things - for the main character and therefore your readers 2) Incorporate callbacks for these things 3) Have the payoff be unexpected: revenge/action/consequence of abuse.
For novels, ask yourself these questions: 1) What is the story really about? 2) Who does the book help? 3) What lesson do I want readers to take away from the book? 4) What transformation does your information provide for people?
Writing is so much more than simply sitting down and doing it. There are a lot things to consider. But like anything else, the more it's done the easier it gets and the better one becomes at doing it. Here's hoping all of the hard work of 2016 pays off in 2017.