The 5 Misconceptions We All Start Off With

Yay, another list! Enjoy!

  1. Good novels advertise themselves. When I first started out, I assumed that, if I wrote well, readers, publishers, agents—everyone—would recognize my prowess and bow down. Needless to say, the idea is laughable to me now.
  2. Editing will fix everything. There are some novels/stories where the only sufficient amount of editing is a complete rewrite. And let’s admit, there are some ideas not worth putting down in the first place (I’ve had quite a few).
  3. The ideas will come to us. In The Art of Fiction (a compilation of lectures and lessons from Ayn Rand), Ms. Rand deals with this matter at length. The gist of what she says is: ideas come to those who sit in front of their laptop, desktop, typewriter—or whatever you use—and think. Good ideas are culled from bad ones, and we can all come up with 1000 bad ideas. But if you think sitting in front of your tv will help you come up with story ideas—no, not unless you also spend time inventing some tales of your own.
  4. Our first novel has to be a best-seller. A simple look at the New York Times bestseller list should be enough to prove first books do not sell well, but I encounter a lot of authors who hold onto their first novel like a newborn. “It isn’t ready for the world yet”. Well, probably not. But if you never get it behind you, you’ll never be able to move onto new (and probably better) projects.
  5. If we like it, other people will too. This was a hard one for me to kick. The problem is, most writers are very forgiving of their own work (if the phrase “they’ll know what I’m trying to say” comes into your head, consider it a red flag). This is why a second pair of eyes (or third, or fourth) can be so useful.

Hope this proves useful. If so, please leave a comment or like. And be sure to check out my blog and Twitter @vtothetom.

7 thoughts on “The 5 Misconceptions We All Start Off With

  1. Thanks for the tips! I completely agree. I tend to think more along the lines of, “If I’m feeling a deep emotion while writing something, or having a lot of fun, then it’s more likely someone else will enjoy reading it.”

  2. #4… Hmmm… Okay, let me start off by saying I haven’t published anything yet. At the moment I’m writing my fifth novel, which is a sequel to the third one, which I’m editing and hoping to publish before Christmas. Here’s my thought: what if I edit my very first novel and publish that first? I feel it could be good enough to sell reasonably well, and perhaps give me something to put “out there” before I publish the one I’m editing, which is the one I have the most confidence in. Thoughts?

    1. If it were me, I’d publish. The way I figure it, the more that my name’s out there the better, as long as it’s at least decent–which beta readers and extensive editing help to ensure.

      1. That’s my thinking as well. I’ll ponder it some more. I’m just itching to get my third novel (the 161K one) finished and out into the world.

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