“Perhaps, with a little experience, I too will write a book worth publishing.”
“What are you mumbling there?”
“I was thinking about writing a book.”
“Did you ever write?”
“Well, I wrote nothing besides homework and messages my entire life, but I bet I can start writing something good.”
“That’s fantastic, give it a go! I can give you some books about writing and with my friends we can try to help you. It’ll be fantastic”
“Nah! People say I’m good with words. I think I can start right away on my book. I don’t think I’ll need books or help. But please do ask if you need anything from me.”
“As you please.”
“Oh, can you imagine what would happen if my book becomes a best-seller? Can you imagine that? I’m so excited to publish it. Should I wear something special for the photo on the back cover? Do you think I’ll be rich?”
If deep inside you runs the indomitable passion of writing, a good writer’s advice would be to feed the passion. That’s fantastic, and it thrills any honest writer to help newbies and pass experiences. Still, you need to remember something: perseverance, study, and determination are compulsory. Writing is a complex activity that requires a lot of culture, an impressive ability to write correctly, attention, precision, and knowledge of the issues at stake.
You can’t just highball something, hoping that will be good enough. You must be at least believable.
Yet, if you manage to gain experience and overtime create something unique, and possibly your own style, you can also have satisfactions.
Anyhow, that’s easier said than done; writing is hard, and it’s not just a matter of trying and trying again until it happens to be a best-selling experience. We all know the infinite monkey theorem in a way or another. One cannot say that’s the best strategy to tackle any type of writing: even less creative writing.
That’s why a writer should follow some guidelines. These are some from the many you can find online and offline:
Read! You’ll find this advice in any guide, any blog, any book and carved in almost every experienced writer’s brain. It’s more likely an obligation than a suggestion at this point. Everyone and everything concur about this. The difficulty in this is in trying reading with “different eyes”, consulting books with a specific mindset: not to study other’s works but to enjoy them and understand why is that. Try asking your trusted bookseller, a friend, a professor, what to read next. Try to steal the secrets of the great writers do: the structure of the dialogues, the use of the first and third person, the construction of an image, steal them without copying. Reading means above all re-reading as:
“Every story has already been told. [...] Except that each writer brings to the table, if she will let herself, something that no one else in the history of time has ever had.” A. M. Quindlen
Search for critique. Before proposing yourself to a publisher, create a group of reliable readers (even better if ruthless) to whom you can entrust your manuscript, placing yourself with humility. At this stage, any honest criticism can be invaluable. If the urge to publish remains despite your book has collected a long string of "Nope", better to self-publish, although one could reconsider the work done, and perhaps try to rewrite some parts; still, many literary cases of recent years have found their fortune this way, self-publishing, promoting themselves on social medias, and building their network. If you trust your work blindly, give that a go.
Off to a splendid start. The incipit is very important: it gives readers the right mindset with which to go through your work and the emotions of your characters. Most of the times those initial pages are the one that sell your book in a bookstore, when readers give a quick and sneaky glance at books. It must be a closed window that lets a beautiful landscape or something disturbing, but irresistible, leak out from its shutters and bring radiance. Don't belittle your main character's appearance and the scenario around. Re-read ad nauseam the entrances of the protagonists of the masterpieces of literature
Don't consume an entire thesaurus. Let words that do not belong to you, words that you do not think regularly, be used little in your manuscript: readers notice pretentiousness and the text can result to be not very credible or, at best, unpleasant and trivial. Of course, you can use a dictionary and a thesaurus but do not look at every word as something to change. Also, language and vocabulary can give magnificent facets to your characters so use that to your advantage: if one of your character is a personage, it will need to use a higher vocabulary. If, instead, it is a wise but not so cultured one it will need to have a simpler persona with simpler words usage.
Do not brag or bathe in over-confidence. Being confident about your work is brilliant and also healthy. Being too punitive with what you've done will not help you understand clearly what you can actually change and improve and what's superb already; so don't beat yourself up. However, don't soak in a bragging broth thinking your book is or will be the best, too. Be realistic and calibrate the confidence. If you'll boast continuously, you could lose the respect of other authors, and surely it will diminish the appeal of your work. No matter how good the text is, or how talented you are. And it's not about modesty, mind you. It's about not being fastidiously arrogant.
These are just a few easy, quick and manageable suggestions one can give. They're a good start for newbies and writers with not too much experience. But if you are an experienced writer and want to know how masters do it: try to have a look at Two easy methods for writing better and quicker, there you'll find King and Brown's opinion on how to manage your work.
At the end of the day, what really, really matters is always to write stories, to create lives.
So, keep doing that: Write stories. Create lives.