Almost all the posts you see on this blog focus on what to do after you have completed writing your book. Some focus on writing query letters, pitching to literary agents and publishers, dealing with rejection letters. There have been none on how to improve your creative writing skills. All this while we’ve been ignoring the big elephant in the room – bad writing. That’s a big reason why many authors get rejection letters from publishing companies and literary agency.
We’ve been assuming that the completed book is perfect shape. But most books are far from that state. Ironically, a whole lot of well-written query letters push not-so-well-written books in front of publishers and agents.
While we console ourselves that the rejection letters are pouring in because of evil editors and disinterested agents, we often fail to critically look at our own work. Was the writing quality good in the first place or was there scope for improvement? Maybe your friends and family who read the novel loved it and encouraged you to get it published. But how would a professional evaluate your creative writing skills?
While my entire focus of this blog was on the post-writing phases, I’ve shied away from talking about creative writing skills, working on the plot, developing characters, avoiding clichés and many other topics that are extremely crucial for any novel.
There were two reasons for this:
– I don’t think I am qualified enough to teach others to write
I have had no formal (or informal) training in the art. I’ve written a non-fiction book that has got a fair bit of success. But that’s not because of the brilliant quality of writing. Non-fiction works differently compared to fiction. Writing styles are important, but the credibility, practicality and relevance of the basic ideas and the messages communicated are more important.
I think fiction is tougher. If you are writing novels, as opposed to non-fiction, be aware that the calibre of writing out there is phenomenal. And that means the competition is cut-throat too.
– I am an entrepreneur in a writer’s clothing (it’s not as sinister as it sounds)
That is why I am more at home with the non-writing aspects (commercial, marketing, book promotion, platform building etc). All these factors are important, but only after you’ve taken care of the writing quality.
Many readers of this blog reached out to me requesting for tips, ideas and in fact book reviews as well. And I’ve always use variations of ‘Not now’ and ‘Not me’ to turn down all requests.
But I’ve been thinking of what else to help out all the folks who genuinely need help. For time and (lack of) expertise reasons, I couldn’t cover those topics here.
So I recently launched a new site called Booksoarus to focus on how to improve creative writing skills
The focus of this site would be on practical tips and ideas that writers can use across all genres – fiction, non-fiction, articles for newspapers / magazines. Apart from the advisory (how-to) posts, we’ll have interviews with some really interesting folks, including the movers and shakers of the Indian publishing industry.
While I’ll manage all the behind-the-scenes aspects of running a site (and the occasional post), the advisory and editorial content will be managed by Lavanya Shanbhogue-Arvind (here’s –> more about her).
Here are a few posts that we’ve already published on Booksoarus.
– How to write and develop the plot of a story
– 5 Sure sources of ideas for creative writing
– Writing about the setting of a story
– Idioms and clichés in creative writing
– 7 Proven steps to complete your book
Please check out Booksoarus and let me know your thoughts on whether you find the idea interesting and what you’d like to read about.
Don’t forget to sign-up for the email subscription there to get new posts in your inbox, as we’d be having more action out there than on this blog.
Let’s try to see how we can reduce those rejection letters from publishers and literary agents.
I look forward to seeing you in Lavanya teacher’s class on Booksoarus.