If you're trying to make a living as a fiction writer, I certainly know a great many self-published writers who are able to do that. Literary writers, or even commercial writers like me, have a tougher time making a solid income from our fiction.
Novels are not cars to be assembled. You can't write them if the muse isn't with you, and the muse doesn't always come when you call her. Yet, if you want to make a living as a writer, you must find a way to go to the muse if she won't come to you.
Copy editors are worth their weight in gold, yet hardly ever garner a mention. So here it is, a shout-out to you, copy editors around the world: we writers and readers are so lucky to have you smoothing sentences and paragraphs and chapters. Thank you for all of your hard work.
To me, settings are far more than just places in books. I view settings as essential components of every novel, because so often places convey the interior landscapes of the characters and deepen the reader's experience.
When people ask how I get ideas for my novels, I tell them that a writer's mind is like that junk drawer in your kitchen. You throw all kinds of things into that drawer: paper clips, rubber bands, business cards. Likewise, writers go around collecting snippets of dialogue overheard.
We are happiest when we're in our native environments, scribbling in journals or tapping out love stories and action scenes and terrifying near-death experiences on our keyboards. Writing is the only cure for publishing a novel. The sooner we get back to it, the better.
Unfortunately, a writing retreat, there's always the letdown. You come back and family life is the same exhilarating, exhausting Bermuda Triangle it always is. And there your bag sits with those fresh pages of your novel, untouched, as mine has been for the past four days since coming home.
First of all, let's define 'pro:' for the purposes of this article, a pro is someone who earns his/her primary income from writing. My friend Toby Neal and I are pros, with multiple novels and credits of various kinds under our belts.
What is it like to finish a novel? The first time you do it, you feel utter euphoria, and you should. Unfortunately, what follows isn't always instant acceptance by an agent, an editor, or even your beta readers and friends.