Everything I know about writing a novel, I’ve learned from Crest Extra Whitening Toothpaste. What? You don’t believe me? Ow. That hurts. Okay, okay. I’ll prove it. Give me a sec while I run to the bathroom and grab a tube…
I’m back. Ta-dah! Come closer and see for yourself.
1.) Brush teeth thoroughly after meals at least twice a day or as directed by a dentist. Supervise children’s brushing until good habits are established.
"The art of writing is the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair." Mary Heaton Vorse
If I waited for the perfect mood or lightning bolt of inspiration to strike before I sat down and wrote, I would never have finished Before Ever After, or perhaps even started.
A huge part of writing the book was just about showing up, sitting down, and putting one word in front of another. It was important for me to follow a schedule and be as disciplined about it as though I were clocking in at an office. Whether I came up with five words or five hundred, it was still more than what I had the day before.
2.) For best results, squeeze tube from the bottom and flatten as you go up.
"The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense." Tom Clancy
One of the things I like about writing is the freedom to create worlds within the pages of the book – but while these worlds spring from our imagination, it must come alive in someone else’s. Twists and turns in the story are great, but if it leaves readers going back and forth between pages to understand what’s going on, then the writer has failed. Doing the Cha Cha is fun – but not when you are reading.
Writing with the end in mind is essential – each sentence you put down must take you closer to that goal. If it doesn’t, take it out.
3.) Questions? 1-800-699-3974
"Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go." E. L. Doctorow
The common advice is to write what you know. I believe, however, that that shouldn’t stop us from exploring what we don’t. There are treasure troves of information to be found out there and experts who are more than willing to share their knowledge if you just ask them. For me, half the fun of writing is in discovering something new.
4.) Whitens teeth by gently polishing away surface stains. Leaves teeth feeling slick and smooth.
"The great thing about revision is that it's your opportunity to fake being brilliant." Will Shetterly
Polish or die. To fall in love with your first draft is to guarantee doom. The best thing to do with a first draft is to stuff it in a box and forget about it. Dig it up only when the rush of typing “the end” has faded, then don’t forget to lay newspapers on the floor. Adverbs and adjectives tend to bleed a lot when you kill them.
5.) Net wt 8.0z (226g)
It helps to be aware of the word count guidelines for your genre BEFORE you write your book. I didn’t, and wound up with a first draft that was 120,000 words long. The draft I queried with was trimmed to 86,000 words. The final book’s word count is 92,000. I’m all for letting the words flow, but keeping in mind the industry standard will be a big help in making sure that your story is progressing at the right pace.
6.) Do not swallow.
Um, yeah, because that would hurt.