“Whatever you can do or believe you can, . . . begin it now.”
When beggars receive freshly minted coins from the lords with a bow and a smile, it is not that they do not desire to ride horses as the masters do. But wishes don’t ride horses.
I have oftentimes been contacted by many young writers for suggestions to develop a story. After they receive the ideas, they
One of them—a female American—wanted help to develop what I think is a great story. You probably know about it: Ted Kennedy watching on as his girlfriend drowned in a river.
I pity such dreamers. They are among the world’s eminent failures.
It will therefore be a miracle if you yourself will ever write a book after reading this. If you do, then thumbs up, for you belong to the few great minds on earth today.
Anywhere you look today, 20 percent of the people are getting 80 percent of the best things in life. Or put another way, 80 percent of all good things belong to 20 percent of the people. Or,one person succeeds out of five! So, 80 percent of all best-sellers today are written by 20 percent of the writers. And, out of about
five writers, only one has written a best-seller. Where is the other four?
Out of five writers that thought of writing, only one wrote. Out of five people that wrote, only one got published. And out of the five that got published, only one became a best-seller. That is the principle of life: Only those who back their desire with action succeed. For nobody has “the power to curse the darkness” someone says, “unless he has the courage to light a candle.”
You don’t write best-sellers by wishing that you did, and go to sit on the sandy beach of the Pacific Ocean dreaming of your millions and far away islands with lollipop names. Don Quixote the great visioner didn’t even do that. At least he fought imaginary enemies. What did Hippocrates say? “Ars longa. Vita brevis.” Translation: “Arts is long but life is short.” The point then is this: Don’t dream it; WRITE IT!
Best-selling books don’t just happen; just as good writers don’t grow on trees. You have to work hard—put your heart in your work, to write a mega-yield title. Today, everyone is falling heads over heels for the magic of Harry Potter. But if J.K. Rowling—the single mother—didn’t have the gumption to write herself off the dole, the story of Harry Potter wouldn’t have been written or read. A number of factors help to make best-sellers. I have provided a number of those factors here to help you write that your echo-Bible.
Write on a best-selling topic.
I have listed 10 best-selling topics in the early chapter of this book. Why not think of working on one of them?
But think carefully before you choose a subject. You don’t want to write on a topic because everyone is writing on it and
I can tell you what is happening this moment zillions of light
years up there in the world of stars and galaxies. But can you imagine that? If things like that are beyond your imagination, then don’t dream of writing science fiction. Come down to earth and spy on your neighbors who are marrying this moment and divorcing after the wedding day.
You will be at home here. And you are probably familiar with stories of that sort. Like the man who married a woman and
divorced her after having 7 male children for him. (He badly needed female children to pay off his debts from the dowries on their wedding day.) His divorced wife remarried and got a baby girl while the man married a second wife and had a male as well. They divorced again and remarried and had a ninth boy.
And the man sold all the boys to pay his debts.
Why don’t you give the story a new angle? The world has had
stories of Siamese twins. But have they had of the birth of a seven-headed baby girl by a desperate parent who sought the
assistance of a witch?
Don’t miss an opportunity to write a best-seller from great news events. Such stories present little research challenges.
Do you remember the British boy who wanted to be famous, climbed the wall of Buckingham Palace and made his way into the queen’s bedroom? When the cops came
to the rescue they met him helping himself with a glass of wine and chatting with the queen. And the police, thinking of what
offence he has committed, thought of charging him of stealing a bottle of wine. (Did the boy say that the queen was her lover?)
There is a similar one of an American boy who shot former president Reagan. Best-sellers are made of such stuff.
Master your subject
You can’t do a good story if you do not know your topic.
You will even find it difficult to communicate because you will be groping for words, qualifying every word, or
reaching out for every figure of speech and idiom in the book.Bad writing! A good reader will find out that you are not a
master of your subject, and you are done in.
You have every opportunity to research your story. You have the libraries. And thank God, there is the Web. Why not
take advantage of it?
This is very important if you are writing a factual story. But even then that word “factual” has changed meaning. But there has to be a measure of credibility in your work.
Writers don’t just write. They educate. Would the reader find something to learn from your story?
Know your audience
This is one of the first things for you to consider before you begin writing your book. For example, are you writing for
men / women; boys / girls; youths / adults; learned / general, reader?
When J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Porter, she had the youths in mind. Youths are, however, fast in spreading words about a book that they enjoyed reading. But Harry Porter happened to have a subject matter that interests the adults as well. Now readers in the two worlds read the book.
So ask yourself this question if you have not already done so:
Who will read my book?
(To be continued)
Excerpted from How to Write a Best-seller by Arthur Zulu
Arthur Zulu is an editor, book reviewer, and author of Chasing Shadows!, How to Write a Best-seller, A Letter to Noah, and many other works. For his works and FREE help for writers, goto:
Mailto: [email protected]
Web search: Arthur Zulu
About the author:
Arthur Zulu is an editor, book reviewer and published author.
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