5. Read some great books on writing. One that writers at any stage in their careers can learn from is James Scott Bell’s book, Plot and Structure. A great help! Several other good books are Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass and Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Brown and Dave King.
6. Be brave! Start sending your baby out there. One of the hardest things about the writing life is the rejection we all face. No matter what stage you’re at, there will be times of discouragement. I got enough rejections to paper a wall in my office before I sold my first manuscript. Truly. But I just kept getting up and dusting myself back off. Get in the fray and don’t quit!
7. Find a critique partner who “gets” you. I have three really super ones: Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter and Diann Hunt. Close writing buddies will root for you when you are on top of the mountain and commiserate with you when the dreaded rejection comes your way. Mine have held my hand many times, and I’ve held theirs.
8. Name that baby. Character names are so important. I found a great resource for naming my babies. It’s called The Baby Name Survey Book. It tells what people think of when they hear names. It really helps characterize the people in your novel. Another great resource is a phone book from the area where you’re setting your novel. You can see the last names that are common. I struggled with this a lot before I discovered area phone books. You can buy them or better yet, contact someone on your networking attempts who lives in that area who will send you last year’s.
9. Discover travel guides. They are indispensable for helping pull out the flavor of an area. For my Aloha Reef books, I used The Ultimate Kauai Guidebook and Hawaii: The Big Island Revealed. They have been a lifesaver.
10. Learn to love the revision process. It’s my favorite part! Slogging through the first draft is hard, but revisions are like an extension of brainstorming. Realize when someone suggests a change that it’s not a personal attack on you. You can always make it better!