Today on The Tattooed Book Geek I am pleased to be bringing to you all a guest post by the fantasy writer Martin Owton author of Exile (The Nandor Tales #1) and Nandor (The Nandor Tales #2).
Without further ado, it’s over to Martin:
Why do writers need other writers?
You’re writing a novel. Every night you shut yourself away and dive into the world you have created and push the story on just a bit further. Or, maybe more realistically, a couple of nights a week you add a few hundred words. Maybe this is your first attempt, or maybe there’re six other novels in various states sitting on your hard drive. You haven’t shown any of it to anyone so why would you need other writers? Well you know that feeling you get when you read the last couple of chapters you’ve written that it’s going off course and isn’t as good as you thought it would be? Yeah; that one. It’s really common but you need another writer, someone who has written a book, to tell you that and to push on and fix it in the rewrite and offer to read it when it’s done. Encouragement like that matters; particularly if you have a load unfinished manuscripts on the hard drive. For some people an imminent writers’ group meeting is the push they need to finish the chapter they’re writing.
Rewrite? Yes, you need to rewrite, and here’s another place you need other writers. Very few people turn out a publishable first draft, particularly if it is the first time you’ve done it. If you want to see your work published then you need other people’s views on it. This is most easily done by swapping critiques with other writers. And you know what? Critiquing other people’s writing improves your own work. Sounds odd, but because the work you’re critiquing isn’t yours you can see the problems in it more clearly, and after you’ve seen the same issues several times in others’ work you’re more likely to notice similar flaws in your own works and avoid them.
Don’t know where to find other writers? Google for writing groups in your area, ask at the nearest library, go online; there are a good number of writers’ websites where can you critique (I like Absolutewrite and SFF Chronicles) and build up your confidence looking at other people’s work before exposing your own.
As you move forward with your rewrites and contemplate publication, you need other writers even more. Advice on where to find reputable publishers and agents, advice on writing queries and synopses, support when the rejections pile up. There’s nothing like the company (real or virtual) of people who’ve trodden this road before you. Look at the acknowledgements page in the last book you read; the author will thank a whole team of people.
Beyond publication you’ll want people to say nice things about your work, preferably people who have influence amongst the reading public, other writers again. You would hope for interviews and panel appearances at conventions, invitations to contribute to anthologies. All of these are greatly assisted by knowing other writers. A word about conventions; they are worth going to IMHO if you are serious about writing. You can meet people whose work you have bought and other writers who hope you’ll buy their work. Many cons run writing workshops, some with publishing professionals, which are well worth participating in. And Cons are fun, which brings me to my last point: writers need other writers because we’re great people to know.
About Martin Owton:
Martin Owton is a Fantasy and Science Fiction writer represented by Ian Drury of Shiel Land Associates. He is a member of the T-Party Writers Group and Rushmoor Writers. He runs and takes part in pub quizzes and follows the fortunes of Southampton FC. In his real life job he is a scientific researcher for a major pharmaceuticals company. He is married and lives in Lightwater, Surrey.
Martin can be found:
Books Martin Owton:
Exile (The Nandor Tales #1).
Nandor (The Nandor Tales #2).
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