But is that it? Just create a buyer persona, locate a point of universal interest, and market to it? Unfortunately, to sell, this is about as complex as it gets. The tale of “niche markets” is as simple as the above, and through practice you will succeed. However, we must make note that we are still artists at heart, and we need to be able to utilize that rather unique flame within us to formulate more than just a good marketing gimmick. You need a good book. There is really no specific manner in which you can tell if you are a good writer, a great writer, or none of the above. Some people know they will take months writing 10,000 words for a school paper and accept that they suck at writing. I would know.
Pray, Pray, Pray…
However, others think their work is worth reading; their experiences are worth sharing; they are creative people who can write a solid, self-fulfilling manuscript with less than three revisions. But they forgot the most important rule of writing: pray-for-dear-fucking-life that you are discovered. Sorry, I seem to have strayed off topic, but in the end, it is simply a matter of passion. I care a lot about myself and other authors – real authors who take the time to deliver when they need to. But yes, this is indeed a chapter about what makes a good writer…
…as well as what makes a good book.
Good Versus Great!
So how can you tell if you are a good writer? And what separates a good writer from a great writer? It is not too difficult to discern that your writing talent depends not only on your ability to create a marketable book; it is also about keeping the reader moving from page-to-page with a sense of subtle urgency, as if they need to know what is coming up next. Ever interrupt someone engrossed in a book? Have you ever gotten what I call “the finger”? That is, not the middle one but the index, pointed upward in a silence-provoking manner? Let us now discuss what makes a great writer, and why they are great!
What makes a great writer different from a good one?
A Unique Novelty
One word: novelty. A writer’s greatest skill is being able to paint a picture with their words, leave you hanging in the dust, and just when you thought the bad part was over, the knife-wielding murderer is revived from the grave and the book leads into “Part Two.” Our most known writers of today: Stephen King, Dean Coontz, and even Hunter S. Thompson provide the world with books that are never like another. Exclusivity is important when writing, and a primary constituent is being able to not sound like anything ever written before. This is one pragmatic opinion, but there are more facets to a great writer.
Another word for “what makes a good writer” is disarray. Every day you will be in a different mood; that’s life, at least for true authors. But when you write every day you are jotting down content using a sequentially different, pragmatic form of cognizance: the tone of the wording will change, and perhaps the plot will take a sudden twist because of it (or provide downtime from all of the action and vampires and zombies and whatever people are reading about these days). Last but not least, the mark of a great writer is the ability to utilize new, daring formats, a “custom-made-by-you-for-you-alone” manner of syntax, and high linguistic emphasis. A good writer will play by the rules, following the Three Act Structure and though it may be a good story and a good read, it is not revolutionary.
A Revolutionary Mindset
But what are all great writings based on? You will come to find that most great writers were revolutionaries, and that sense of passion bled into their work – often quite literally. As stated by Ernest Hemingway: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Nothing is closer to the truth. No matter what the genre is, nor your intended audience, you need to stand out and do things differently than everybody else. I hate to keep bringing him up but Stephen King is known as one of few authors who do not follow an outline; he writes and as he writes, he comes up with the next plot twist.
I do this, too, and though sometimes having a general synopsis is a good way to start, if you have to literally plan out the entire makeup of the book before you even start to write it is inherent on over preparation and goes against all that writing stands for. This is just my opinion, and that is why you most likely did not have to pay for this: it is all opinions, and it would be sinful to charge you for an opinion. However, your book is most likely the opposite. Monetary gain is of the essence, and though this is free, my others are not. Another mark of a tried-and-true novelist is the ability to describe a character or a setting, or even a situation with just enough detail to give you a mental picture of what the scene would look like if it were a movie. “Gunslinger” in “The Dark Tower” series was never really described; King kind of left everybody on their own with his description.
Now, as I write these words, “The Dark Tower” is in theaters and surprise: they made Roland (the main character) black. That was the beauty of it. I cannot stress how daring this was to do, as I come from a film background and I know that there is one rule with turning a book into a script: stick to it as much as you can. In this case, King never once said the man was white; he left it up to the reader to paint their own picture, and that is why you must let the reader paint the story you are telling with just enough of discretion-to-detail to get them going. Hand them your paintbrush…
…lend them your canvas and your
brush, then let them do the rest.
[What do you think makes a great writer? Is it what I believe, or something far from it?]