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The Distinction of a Writer OR Rule #1 of Writing

Welcome to the Writers of the Future blog; Tips on Writing. You will find many great tips to help you tone up your writing, both for submission to the Contest and just in general for submitting for publication. As with any great narrative, we are going to start at the beginning, in this case, with Rule #1 of writing.

What is going to separate a writer from everyone they know who has a story to tell?

Is it that their story is more compelling, dynamic and cutting edge? Does it have rainbow making badgers who chant the wisdom of the world from the sage mountaintops?

Is their universe the most diverse, innovative amalgamation of cultures ever thought of?

Or maybe you have an extraordinary vernacular full of kerffufles and syzygys?

Regardless of the unique voice and vision, the first—and most important—thing that will make a writer different is actually finishing the story! It doesn’t matter how ragged, battered and pathetic that story is when it crosses the finish line. It doesn’t matter whether it is flash fiction or novel length… finishing is what will separate you from 90% of the writers who start to tell a story.

If the distinction between an author and a writer is getting published, then the distinction between a writer and an aspiring writer is finishing the story.

Orson Scott Card voiced this single most important aspect for success in Ender’s Game. “If you try and lose then it isn’t your fault. But if you don’t try and we lose, then it’s all your fault.”

Why don’t more people finish their story?

Apart from the obvious time commitment it requires, the inner critic can be the main culprit that strangles writers, wringing the last breath out of a manuscript before it sees the light of day. Whether it taunts mercilessly—you aren’t a good enough writer—or that evil inner voice becomes oddly silent, plunging the writer into the oubliette of writer’s block, the paralysis and frustration can take hold of a writer’s ability to keep writing.

Finish the story. That must be the hammer that breaks down everything else. To get there, it can help to have a plan to keep putting fingers to the keyboard, and when those fingers pause… make a new plan. Read books, articles, engage with friends to shake ideas loose, anything to keep the flow of creative juices running no matter how bazaar or amateur.

Better to have a lump of clay to mold than to have nothing at all.


Peter Wacks

Guest blogger Peter J. Wacks is a bestselling cross-genre writer. He has worked across the creative fields in gaming, television, film, comics, and most recently, when not busy editing, he spends his time writing novels and there are over 3.5 million copies of his stories in circulation.

Holly Roberds

Co-author Holly Roberds wrote a science fiction/romance trilogy before being told to scrap the lot of it. Since then, she has hunted for all information about the craft of writing, honing and evolving her skills. Roberds is currently applying all hard-won knowledge to rewriting her novels, and getting her short stories published. She is also a professional freelance article/blog writer, singer/songwriter, and never has less than five jobs at one time.

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