I've read a couple of blogs today about what advice you can give to budding writers. I consider myself, in my head, a novice and yet have just published my 7th novel. So it's a toss up as to whether I have anything to offer or maybe I'm just being arrogant. The latter I wouldn't be proud of but nevertheless I am speaking from experience.
So where to start? Well that's rather like being faced with the first blank sheet of paper after the decision to write has been made. As you have made a writing decision you must have an idea in mind so think of the words that are the basis for your idea and write them.
Once you've started - do a little bit everyday. Writing requires muscle and they need exercise so even if you only write for ten minutes it is useful exercise and establishes muscle memory.
Try to avoid going back over what you've written too soon. I have heard of writers who never getting beyond the first chapter. I would say write three chapters before re-reading the first.
Read your work as if you are presenting it to a live audience. It is surprising how quickly you pick up sentences that have errors or even style points that jar.
Enjoy the construction of characters. This aspect of writing is where fiction touches on reality. By creating a character in a story you're playing God. You are the father, the mother, the ancestors, the siblings as well as the collective experiences of the person you have made. If you aren't enjoying the character then make changes or kill them off - it's in your remit.
Then there is the mystical aspect of writing that I have read commentary on from a range of authors so I know its not just me! There comes a point when you cede control to the characters in your story. It is a real feeling of you having lost control of the tale you're writing to the cast who are playing out the action. Don't worry, you have created the scenario, the players and the location and so it is natural for your creation to come to life.
On the other hand you still have to have in mind the experience you are providing your readers. It is necessary to grab them from the first page, to provide suspense and the emotions that will engage your audience. That is important because your are an entertainer.
I recently heard a writer describe the number of self-publishing authors as a tidal wave. So don't think that your first effort will have you sitting back in the lap of luxury. It may do but in the event that it doesn't - keep trying. I wouldn't ever give up trying to interest an agent but I no longer pressure myself into sending submission after submission.
You have to decide in what format you want to produce your stories. Many self-publishing writers stick to eBooks which is fine but I like to see my work in paperback and so I publish through a London online publisher completelynovel.com which involves a small monthly fee. It's up to you.
Having a proofreader is important. If you know someone who is a reader of books and has an interest in language pray on their good nature. I'm fortunate having two such people who have the time and inclination and they are happy to have a signed copy of the finalised book as payment.
Castled is available from Amazon at the slightly increased price of £2.49/$3.99. Just click on the title.