A secret formula to a best-seller? Certainly there is no generic formula, not even in the same genre, I think. But, there may be a formula hidden within each of us if we write from a passion of what we are interested in and/or aroused by.
Lee Masterson, an excellent writer from Australia, wrote an insightful article addressing this topic and I am pleased to present her thoughts here:
The Secret Formula for Writing a Best-Selling Novel
by Lee Masterson
The Secret Formula for Writing a Best-Selling Novel is…
Wait for it…
Well, the truth is, there isn’t one. That is, the formula is no secret.
Go ahead, browse your local bookstore, or search the net merrily if you like. You’ll quickly learn that there are thousands of How-To books out there, all declaring that they can show you how to write a best-seller.
The problem here is that there are so many of these books available that the information begins to blur a little at the edges. They all offer good advice, but each seems to offer slightly different angles or varying approaches to applying techniques.
For this reason, it’s often hard to determine which is right or wrong. Often these books, although helpful, are simply documenting a particular path one writer took to achieve publishing success. Unfortunately that same path may not work for another writer.
Writing in differing genres may require more specific information than a broad-based fiction manual. For example, a writer reading a How-To book on romantic fiction is not going to learn the best way to apply that information to writing science fiction. But the basic rules will be the same.
All stories, whether horror fiction or historical fantasy, all contain the same basic structure. They all have a beginning, middle and end, and they all have characters who must struggle through your plotline to reach a resolution. And all How-To books will agree on these basics.
In fact, most of them are pretty consistent in their foundations. The variances come from the individual author’s own personal experiences and chosen genre.
Once you have a fair understanding of the guidelines offered in the self-help manuals, file those rules away and WRITE. Let your own unique imagination supply the finer details.
Write from your heart, not from a misguided notion of following someone else’s rules. Write what you are happy writing. Tell yourself often that what works for one writer may never work for you. But above all, keep writing.
Look through each section in any bookstore. There will always be authors whose names are instantly recognizable as belonging to best-selling writers. Every fiction genre has its share of them, and they all began as comparative unknowns with one thing in common.
They all happened to stumble upon the magic ingredient for turning their passion into amazing success.
That ingredient is a passion for writing.
So that elusive secret formula really should be as simple as writing something you truly believe in. It should be as difficult as struggling through the isolation of the creation process.
It should be as crazy as daring to persist in the face of all adversity. It should be as frustrating as needing to resubmit your work again, even after you’ve received forty rejection slips.
But, above all, it must be as satisfying as wanting to write purely for the joy of writing.
Lee Masterson is a freelance writer from South Australia. She is also the editor of Fiction Factor (http://www.fictionfactor.com/) – an online magazine for writers, offering tips and advice on getting published, articles to improve your writing skills, heaps of writer’s resources and much more. Check out Lee’s newest book, “Write, Create & Promote a Best-Seller” here and jump-start your writing career.