Guest Post: The Pathway NOT to Take to Publication, by Harry Kraus

Posted in Guest Bloggers, Writers' Workshop, Writing Life | 14 comments

LipReadingThe Pathway NOT to take to Publication (uh, yeah, happens to be the one I took):

1)     For the most part, write blissfully ignorant of “the rules.” I know, I know, there are no concrete rules for fiction writing, but there are ways that others have done things, ways that have worked. Study them. Use them. They worked for others; likely, they will work for you. And if you are breaking a rule, at least you’ll know you’re doing it intentionally.

2)     Ignore all those craft books about how to write a novel. In fact, this step is much easier if you are like I was in the beginning, completely unaware of what was out there that could help speed my maturity as a fiction writer.

3)     Rely on your own gifting. Okay, so this is closely related to number two, but this is the primary reason people don’t search out craft books. Either they don’t know about them (like me) or they ignorantly think they already know what to do.

For me, my writing career started at an insane time in my life. I was a general surgery chief resident, often away from my wife and sons every other night while I attended to some poor trauma victim in the hospital. So I really had little time for study, but I just had a nagging idea about a story that wouldn’t leave me. And I loved reading fiction, so that’s where it started for me. I absorbed enough of “the rules” from my love of reading to do most things right, but there were subtle lessons (about point of view, passive voice, etc.) that I would have done better if I’d gone to the teachers. As it turned out, I had a contract in hand to write my fifth novel and I’d NEVER opened a craft book. An experienced novelist gently told me about some of the rules I was breaking. I ignorantly asked, “what rules?” He (Frank Peretti) pointed me in the direction of the fiction teachers.

Boy, did that scare me. I read craft books and feared I couldn’t do it. Of course, that was just ridiculous self-doubt so common among writers. I’d done it before, but then, with the knowledge of the rules, I pressed forward with new understanding. The result: tighter prose, faster pacing, and overall a smoother experience for my readers.

For you guys wondering where to look, let me guide you to my bookshelf: Pick up a craft book by Donald Maass, James Scott Bell, or Sol Stein. You won’t be disappointed and your readers will be hooked.

About Lip Reading

She could save millions…or save herself.

She just needs a little longer. She’s really close. Becca Jackson, a medical researcher, stands on the verge of a breakthrough that will transform medicine. But she soon discovers the reason behind the miraculous progress in her research, and it leaves her with a nearly impossible choice…and little time to decide. More than her research is at stake. And more threatens it than this latest revelation. Something she’s tried hard to cover up.

Bestselling author, Harry Kraus, is a board certified surgeon, and the author of 15 novels. Known for his intricate plot twists, his novels contain his signature of medical realism. His current novel, Lip Reading, contains backstory touched by Harry’s years of service in East Africa. Harry lives in Williamsburg, Virginia with his college sweetheart.
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