I recently participated in a competition whereby the winner got an opportunity to co-author a book with New York times best-selling author James Patterson. That was the first time that I participated in a book competition. I also thought the experience was amazing and intense. Most importantly, I’m also happy that I participated in the competition as I gained some practical experience with the process involved in conceptualizing a best-selling thriller, fiction novel. I’m happy to share with you what I re-learned from that experience.
- Have a willingness to “adjust” your initial book idea.
I had an idea of the story that I wanted to write. However, in one of the lessons from his Writing Masterclass, James Patterson speaks about the importance of the characters being believable. After listening and watching the lesson, I decided to adjust my initial idea as I thought that readers might not have believed that my protagonist would’ve been qualified to do the things that she does – or to do the things that she did.
- Ask for feedback
When I was a student at Douglas College, I had an informal chat with an employee. I’ll never forget the advice he gave me: “Proactively seek feedback.” I’ve taken this advice and added it to my “good-life-and-work-advice-imaginary-bag”. I carry this advice everywhere that I go. Sometimes, or dare I say that, most of the times, we think that our ideas, or in this case, our writing and our stories are the most amazing types of writing and stories since Hemingway and Shakespeare. It’s great to think in that mindset – however, it’s even greater to ask someone “hey, what do you think about this?” I’d also suggest to be specific as to what it is that you want to get feedback about. You’ll be amazed at the number of ways that your idea, or your story could be ever-more-awesome with just one piece of feedback.
- Be willing to allow yourself to second-guess your work
I don’t think that I’ve ever taken so much time to press a submit button! To participate in the competition, we had to submit a hook and a sample chapter. I must’ve have reviewed and proofread my hook and sample chapter a million times. I also told myself that maybe I should’ve omitted this, kept that information, detail, etc. At some point, I just told myself OK Naomi, this is ok. This is the best way that you thought the story could’ve been told. At the end of the day, sometimes, you just must tell yourself that, this is ok, this is good enough – for now! 😊
Onward and upward!
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