The ‘Save’ button on the computer should be your best friend. You save and save and save. You save after you type a word, a sentence or a paragraph. You save the deleted scenes because trust me, you will one day want to look back or need to use some of your old stuff. If everything you write is from your heart then every word represents the very fiber that defines who you are in life and as a writer.
So it’s been a few months now and you have finished editing the first draft. You actually have a complete second draft! Congratulations! It takes grit to reach this stage and you are well on your way to writing a best seller.
So you now, put the book aside and this time for a little bit longer, say a minimum of two months, maximum five. What you are about to embark on is the part of writing called ‘research’. Yaks… there goes the word that makes the heart flutter.
You find books that are in your genre or in line with what you are writing. If your book is based in a particular country then you can narrow your research to Authors from that country. If you are writing about crime and detective series then you should for example read James Patterson; if you are writing legal thriller then John Grisham is your man. You read to enjoy but here is the thing, you learn from their style; you watch chapter transition and plot build up, you see how they draw you in and make you feel. You see how they play with words and above all, make sure that your writing is not a repetition of what has already been published. Don’t let your book be a cliché because publishers will not look at it twice.
When I was doing research on a Lion in America my first novel, I had been in America for eight years and had lost touch with my homeland Africa. I wanted to know what African writers were writing about and so I read African writers like Chinua Achebe, Ishmael Beah and Ngugi wa Thiong’o. The River between novel by Ngugi captivated me a lot and I realized that its genius was in its simplicity. Ngugi spoke about a divided Africa contaminated by western ways and now many years later I realized that Ngugi had been trying to warn the world about my kind and I. I know more about the western lifestyle than my own. I have a first English and second African name. I am a lion in America.
If you write from your heart then your book will be unique. Now think about how you can draw a margin between what you have written and the books already in the market. What direction or how can you twist your book to make it your story and not just another detective series or romance theme? You have to figure this out before you go back to doing a third draft. Continued….