The Secret to Being Published

My very first IWSG post!
It’s that time again…
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Alex J. Cavanaugh
[Our Ninja Captain]

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It’s not an easy life choosing to be a writer. We write because we love writing, but we also open ourselves up to rejection, lots and lots of rejection.

“Why would you do that?” non-writers want to know.

Why? Because it’s who we are… and… we can’t help ourselves.

Truth is most of us believe getting published is simply the final step in the process. First you write the book, then you query agents, then your agent finds a publisher, and voila: you’re a rich published author.

How long before you realized it was never going to be that easy?

I bet (if you’re not yet published) you read today’s title and now you’re waiting for the punchline. What is the secret to getting a contract, finding someone willing to pay money to turn your story into a novel or eBook?

In a word: WORK.

You work at writing clearer, smoother, better. You work at learning your craft. You work at becoming an expert in the art of fiction writing.

Could you be more specific?

Read the best how-to-books on writing you can find. Join as many writer’s group as you deem necessary. Learn to give and receive helpful and constructive critiques. But most of all: write, write, write.

Getting published is like losing 20, 30 or even 100 pounds on purpose without dieting. (Bet you’re shaking your head over that one. )

It requires trust, faith, perseverance, listening to your inner voice, AND (here’s that word again) work. If you’re shaking your head, mumbling something about “Yeah-well, I knew that already!” and getting ready to go to the next blog, I certainly wouldn’t blame you. I can’t count how many articles I read back in the days before I was published, promising if I followed their simple steps, I’d be published in no time.

Sorry, there’s no real secret.

So, rather than waste your time with empty promises, here’s something that might help enrich your prose, something I see many new authors struggling with — the latest point of view:


You’ve been attempting to get a handle on First, Third and Omniscient POV, and now there’s yet one more to worry about: Deep POV I can relate to your frustration. But as I’ve said above, though difficult to master, Deep POV — the technique of going deeper into your point of view character — is guaranteed to enrich your writing.

Here’s examples of each POV:

FIRST:  When John returned, he found me sitting on the white leather bench. I had my eyes half-closed, my arms crossed, and I was feeling great sadness. “Well?” I asked, but I was thinking, ‘Give me a reason not to kill you.’ 

THIRDMatthew sat down on the white leather bench and lowered his eyes. Consumed by a great sadness, he crossed his arms and waited. When John returned, he asked him, “How long have you worked for me?”

OMNISCIENTWhen John returned from summing a plane to pick up his boss and return him safely to the mainland, he found Matthew sitting on the white leather bench with his eyes half-closed and his arms crossed. Matthew chose not to look at him, he was that angry. “John, tell me I didn’t make a mistake bringing you,” he said. John couldn’t think and stuttered…

DEEP POVThe bench in the stern of the boat reeked of that new leather smell that burned all the way down his throat. A glimpse east and the sun’s glare shot pain through his temple. Closing his eyes helped, but the trembling wouldn’t stop. His pulse pounded through his crossed arms. This was John’s fault. No respect. No gratitude. Hadn’t he and his daughter been taken care of all these years. Ruby held a secure job at the Baja Hotel for the rest of her life if she wanted. John threatened that. Could his stupidity be forgiven without costing the Organization everything? A touch of the gun and the chill felt shocking at first, then comforting.

DEEP POV is a combination of first (intimate) and third (limited). As silly as it sounds, the only way to succeed in pulling your reader into the experience of your POV character is to become THAT character. Close your eyes, experience the totality of the protagonist, then open your eyes and start writing. 

If that’s too difficult, start off by writing a scene from FIRST POV, then switch it to THIRD POV. Drop as many verbs as possible, (saw, thought, looked, etc) eliminate the tags: said, asked (no need to show the reader what they already know). Do this for every scene, and I promise it’ll start becoming as natural as riding a bike.

After a few exercises, let me know how you’re doing.  
–happy writing

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