Saturday, July 21, 2007

Ted Dekker's writing advice

Lately I've been thinking about the writing advice I've heard from some of the novelists I've interviewed for Today Ted Dekker's advice is sticking in my mind. Here's what he shared in this interview:

"Finish the novel. Then write another one. And then, write another one ... If you give up after your first book, you were never meant to be an author. If you give up after the second one, you still were never meant to be an author. Publishing requires writing and writing and writing. When you have three complete novels, you probably will be published. My fourth novel was published. My first few novels were way too aggressive for the Christian market. The publishers were like, “Oh my goodness! This is like Stephen King!” They were taken aback.

Showdown was my very first novel. Now I’ve gone back and revised it. On my fourth novel I decided I was going to write what they wanted me to write, and the result was Heaven’s Wager. It was more of a Christian novel. But it still was quite edgy for that time. I got four offers within one month. I finally wrote what they wanted. I continued to write that way for a number of books, and I still enjoy that process. I love those early books. Then later, after I was established, I was able to write what I really wanted to do, what I was called to do. My first kind of bridge novel was Thr3e."

Isn't this encouraging? Knowing that Ted Dekker didn't get published until his fourth book makes me realize that the biggest key to being published is persistence. Yes, you need to learn your craft. Yes, learn about the industry and markets. But if you write well and have a million contacts in your Roledex, you won't make it without persistence.


Gina Conroy said...

Very encouraging article because I've taken the same rode in writing what THEY want, in hopes of one day really writing what I want!

C.J. Darlington said...

Here's hoping you get to write the book of your heart, Gina! (You will if you stick with it.)

Nancy Moser said...

Ted is right. I wrote five novels and tried to get them published, writing according to what was on the best-seller list. Only after an eye-opening revelation did I set those five novels aside, deem them "practice", and write a sixth novel in the style that was mine. It was published--as have fifteen novels since then. Sixteen novels in eleven years because I finally got on the right road and found my voice and MY story. Don't copy the style and voice of others. Create your own style and voice--and learn from others.