on Live Write Thrive:
Writing a novel is a massive undertaking. It doesn’t matter if you’ve written one or thirty.
And even after studying countless how-to books on fiction writing and taking workshops and listening to podcasts, many aspiring writers still flounder.
Why is that? Because there is so much to learn, and if you undertake this mission to learn without focusing first on the most important elements of a story, you can waste a lot of time.
Yes, it’s important to learn how to craft great characters. And write distilled, effective dialogue. And have a riveting plot. But that’s not enough.
I do more than 200 manuscript critiques a year, some by beginning writers and others by seasoned authors. Regardless, I can tell you this as fact:
Very few of these manuscripts hold up structurally. Very few have stellar writing.
Very few accomplish what those first few chapters must do.
What is that, you might ask?