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Hi, my name is Matthew Dewey and I am the writer behind the Penned sleuth. I started the Penned Sleuth website as my own personal blog to write stories and sell my books. Eventually, it turned into an ambition to write a story every single day. A morning habit of sitting in front of the computer and writing a thousand word story about something that just popped into my head and rolling with it till the end and for whatever possible reason I missed a day, I would write two the next day to catch up. There would be no way I would give a story a skip.
The reason I started this writing challenge for myself was to establish a habit of writing everyday. Now, for a writer, it is sometimes incredibly difficult to push yourself and actually sit down in front of your computer and start creating a world from your imagination.
Personally speaking, I like to rush things. My motto throughout my years at school was ‘get it over with asap’. Exams and assignments were written quickly with the first answers that popped into my head. A skill that helps me today when coming up with a new short story each day. However, it was that attitude that lead me to make careless mistakes and what helps me write a lot more clearly is writing a novel.
A novel requires patience and certain measure of planning before you can begin. My first draft of my first novel had none of this. I jumped straight in and wrote until the story ended, which was soon. Looking at this medusa-like first draft I was turned to stone and didn’t write for months on end, but when I returned to it, starting from scratch, I finished the novel, doubling the length and the quality. Dumb mistakes were edited out and stronger ideas written in.
The short stories came after this first novel as I wanted to return to writing and make it a full time business. At no point in the beginning did I think making a career from writing would be easy. Many have tried and failed because it requires massive amounts of work and marketing to become a self-published author. Trust me, there are plenty of books in this world written by creative individuals who go unnoticed and the sad thing is these books are better than anything you read today.
Genius is lost in the sea of wannabe writers and if they are lucky, someone will fish that genius out of the slew of mediocrity and place it on pedestal for the world to see. Moving from that metaphor, I am talking about the authors who sign a contract with a publisher and have their books adorn the shelves.These books do well and if their writing truly shines which depends on a number of factors, they will become a bestselling author.
I know that sounds like only a few steps to making a career from writing, but there are more I am skipping over.
The first and most important step is starting the novel. Every step from there to finishing it is all you should ever care about and a career from writing will flourish. To truly make it, I realized I needed to write more than one book, so I did and continued to write more books. Writing a short story a day had taught me that habit of writing and novels sprang from my mind and I immediately started planning them with a good ol pen and paper.
Beyond that, there were many other things I wanted to to with my writing and for my followers. The short stories I wrote could be used as prompts for new ideas or to add fuel to the fire of inspiration. I try to vary my short stories with different genres and styles in order to challenge and teach myself new ways of writing, but also to appeal to different readers.
Of course, that left more time in the working day for me, so I took things further to better myself and give back to my supporters. I started this podcast channel where I read my stories over the crackling of a fireplace. I post these podcasts on every service I can and on YouTube to those who want to view them there.
Once more, there was still an opening before my day ended, so I started teaching.
Teaching beginners how to write has done more for my inspiration than I ever considered. To have so many people genuinely pleased to hear my advice and instructions on improving was heartwarming to say the least. It all comes down to the fact that creative writing isn’t celebrated as much in school and so young and interested writers turn to the internet for help. The courses I provide on on my website have helped people and in turn it helped me.
Approaching writing from the perspective of a teacher instead of a writer made me realize various nuances that make a character, world and story interesting. Discovering techniques to develop characters, writing to break the mold of what is normal. From all this research and discovery I learnt something I should have a long time ago and I will share it with you now, though I’m sure a good measure of you know this already.
Avoid writing the word ‘said’. There are many actions you can use in writing to describe how somebody says something, but said is by far the worst one. Groaned, cackled, murmured, whispered, yelled, bellowed, ordered, instructed, cursed, spat and so many more that not only convey the emotion of what is being said, but add to the character who is saying it.
The only time I ever use said consciously is when a character actually says the word, ‘said’. It’s a common word and most people will use it. He said that, or they said this etc.
Try it out with a dialog you’ve written, I promise you won’t regret it.
Now, with that being said...yes that pun was intended...there are many wonderful techniques that had an influence over my writing aside from other writers. Many authors out there who show such passion for their writing I couldn’t help but look at it as a career for love for the imagination. An art form in itself. My passion for writing was made apparent long ago and a career in writing is so very clear now, despite all the hardships that come with it.
To all beginner writer’s listening to this podcast or perchance reading this article, be sure to follow me and check out my work. I help anyone interested in writing their book, not just those who have a desire to make a career from writing, but absolutely every person who wants to put their dream in writing. I provide courses, podcasts and bonus advice to help you push through obstacles and be happy with the result at the end.
Good day, goodnight and I will see you in the next episode. Bye for now.
Be sure to follow!