by Stephen May
If you are writing stories of any kind and you want people to read them, then you need to ask yourself some hard questions. Why should anyone read this story? Why should they choose my work over any of the other 100 million books already on the shelves? Why should they read me – an unknown author – rather than, say, the latest celebrity memoir?
And you should only go on to write that story if you can say to yourself these things:
This story is based on an original idea
This story contains interesting characters
This story slaps its readers in the face right from the start
This story contains conflict, heartbreak and/or laughter
This story keeps the readers guessing
This story contains believable dialogue
If, hand on heart, you can say these things then work at your story until you can’t do anything more with it. Then put it away and let no one see it. Go and work on something else. Take it out after a few days and suddenly the faults and flaws will be obvious. Now work on it some more. Repeat this process, and then – and only then – let someone else see it. And seek criticism not praise.
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