Illustration by Makenna Alyse
I wish somebody told me this when I started writing. I wish somebody explained to me why some books sell, and some don't. I wish there was a manual written for every beginning writer that was something like Writing 101. I wish it were easy to learn the very simple truths I'm learning after blindly stumbling around for four years, teaching all of this to myself on my own. I'm happy that's it's only been four years, and not fourteen, or forty, which is the case with many writers who eventually give up, tired of having another job or two to support themselves, tired of their manuscripts being rejected, tired of their self-published books not selling. Tired of their friends and family shaking their heads and patting their backs and saying in kind, pitiful tones: "Well, you gave it your best. At least there is that."
It doesn't have to be like this. I'm about to give you a wild theory that struck me while reading Shawn Coyne's THE STORY GRID, the first book on writing I'm reading that's not written by a writer but by an editor, a professional editor with over 20 years of experience. I wish I read this book earlier. I'm happy I stumbled on it now.
And my theory is this.
EVERY ELEMENT OF YOUR NOVEL MUST TURN.
Here is what this means.