Tuesday, November 07, 2006

My friend, Shelia M. Goss!

Shelia Goss is a good friend of mine. She is also a most prolific writer. I asked her if she would share a secret, if she had one, to finishing a manuscript since she has a host of new books coming out over the next several months. Here's what Shelia shared. Enjoy!

The Art of Finishing A Book
Guest Blogger Shelia M Goss

I wish there was a magic formula to tell you so that your unfinished or in some cases unstarted manuscript would magically complete itself, but there isn't. I wish I could privately email you a secret code that only other authors know that mysteriously writes your novel but it doesn't exist.

I could recommend one of many books that teach you how to flush out characters, develop plots and create better settings for your story; but unless you use the information and apply it to your work in progress and desire to complete your story, it won't do you any good.

I may not have the secret to the art of finishing a book, but hopefully something I say below helps.

I want to address writer's block or what I like to call procrastination. The first thing I would suggest in order to finish your book is to stop procrastinating. Whatever it is you're putting ahead of writing your manuscript, stop. Now you're probably like, I can't stop the baby from crying or my spouse from wanting some quality time. You're right. Family is important and you must spend quality time with your family. What about all of the projects I have at work? Work is important. Where does that leave me? This is where you will have to make a sacrifice. Instead of taking a full hour for lunch, why not use half of the time to write. Instead of getting up at 6 am, why not get up 30 minutes prior or stay up 30 minutes later. Before you know it, you've written another chapter and another chapter and if you keep it up, you will have a completed book.

Another thing that sometimes stops people from completing their manuscript is doubt. I doubt if anyone will read this. I doubt if it'll be any good. Well get rid of the doubt. How? If writing is your passion, then stop allowing doubt to stand in the way. Surround yourself with positive people. Don't let doubt stop you from finishing your book.

Procrastinating isn't your problem and you don't doubt yourself, but you can't get past the first few chapters. The hardest part is to get the first draft done. Once you get the first draft written, then you can revise it. But if you don't get the first draft of a completed manuscript done, what do you have to work with? Nothing. So to resolve that issue, I would suggest that you write, write and write until you get the first draft and then go back and revise.

This last thing I'm about to mention may be a given, but I'll mention it anyway. Know what you want to write about. If you don't know what the premises is for your story then you will not be able to complete it. Before you type that first word, know what the central theme of your story will be. Know your characters inside and out. You may not know the ending, but everything you write, should live up to the theme. Each scene should add up and take the reader on a journey into your make believe world.

To sum it all up, don't let anything stand in your way. The art to finishing your book can be summed up in three words that Nike uses in their ads and that's JUST DO IT.

Shelia M Goss is an entertainment writer and the National Bestselling Author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are true. She was the recipient of three 2003 Shades of Romance Magazine Reader's Choice Multi-cultural Awards and the 2004 Oneswan Productions Female Author of the Year. Her website is www.sheliagoss.com or visit her on myspace at www.myspace.com/sheliagoss. My Invisible Husband is published by Urban Soul, an imprint of Urban Books/Kensington and will be in stores in December and available from BlackExpressions.com.


MsJayy said...

Very nicely done ladies! As normal. Keep rising!

Shelia said...

Thanks Jackie for your comments and Peggy, I'm honored that you allowed me into your world. God Bless.