One of the most irritating moments in my entire writing career was when an editor told me, before I typed one word of the novel rewrite on which I was working, that I was going to have to write a character study for every character in the novel.
I was like … are you kidding me right now. Are. You. Kidding.
Because it’s really hard to write a character study! They’re super demanding! There’s, like, 30,000 steps for each character, even the bitty ones!
* cue emotional eating and task avoidance for the next two weeks *
Whether readers are supposed to love or hate them, they’re absolutely critical to a good story. But writing them is not as easy as one might suppose … especially since the whole “sprung out of my head fully formed!” thing is total BS.
That’s where the complete character study comes in, a full-scale assault on who, what, when, where, how and why your character is and will be.
Sometimes we fear success, while other times simply looking at a blank page can fill us with angst. Other times we worry about what people will say when they read our work … or even what they won’t say. Fear of that silence may, in fact, be the most powerful fear of all.
Because then who would we be?
Nothing!! screams the ego, doing its level best to make you want to crawl into a hole for the rest of eternity (plus ten years).
But your ego is wrong.
Raise your hand if fiction writing completely terrifies you.
Raise your hand if you should have raised your hand just now but you didn’t want to because there are some things you can’t even admit to yourself. Like the time you ate an entire chocolate bundt cake from the Safeway bakery department … and also the fear of fiction writing thing.
Raise your hand if you’re tired of the raising-your-hand game.
Well, fine. We can move on.
Anyway, I know so many people who want to write fiction, and while I’m no paragon of novel awesomeness yet, I have managed to consistently make time for it over the last 10 years, so I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the subject of becoming a serious fiction writer.
A number of people have asked me how I formatted my fiction novel myself for Kindle, and the answer is a resounding:
It’s all about this program. In this two-part guide, I’m going to give you the quick and dirty guide on how to format your fiction novel in Calibre, so that hopefully your process doesn’t need to be nearly as slow and dirty as mine was.
That didn’t sound right. Fun, maybe, but not right.
Anyway. Here you go. Follow these steps, tweak as necessary, and you’ll be good.
(NOTE: I DO NOT GUARANTEE THIS IS THE PRETTIEST, SHINIEST WAY TO FORMAT YOUR BOOK. It’s not. There are other programs, more detailed tutorials and experts you can pay for a much more beautiful product. But if you’re poor and want to put out a functional ebook, this will do it.)
So you want to be a copywriter, but you find yourself saying:
“Oh, I don’t have the right copywriting personality to [fill in the blank]. I could never build a brand around my weaksauce personality.”
First of all, don’t sell yourself short. You’re not weaksauce. At most, your personality is lame.
Second of all, this misconception is rarely (or never) true. At least, not in this case. Yes, there are some professions where it matters a lot. If you want to be a stand-up comedienne, you have to be funny. I mean, get real. And if you want to be the president, you have to be serious. Because things like public welfare and nuclear proliferation matter.
Kind of a lot, actually.
But copywriting? Uh-uh. You don’t have to have some specific copywriting personality; you just have to match the personality of your prospective client. Period. That’s it.
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