Everyone has a story in them, although very few people put it on the page. That’s all you need to be a writer; One Great Tale that you put into words. It doesn’t matter how long it is or the topic or how pretty it is, or isn’t. One Great Tale written makes you a writer.
For those who choose the words to express their story and dream of getting it published, it’s a long haul. You will rework the One Great Tale a hundred times or more. Editing will seem never-ending. Good writers learn and revise, then learn more and revise again. The One Great Tale is polished over years, perhaps decades, until it is absolutely, positively, perfect.
But when it comes out, it will be gorgeous. It will astound people, draw them in. People will sing its praises! You will be an acclaimed author!
And then the readers will look for the next book.
It took decades for that first book to be ready, but the audience is hungry now for the next. They won’t wait decades more. So what happens?
The mistake I see so often is that the second book is written in a few years, at most. It doesn’t get the same attention or polish. The third book is rushed through in a few months. It’s like a television series that carries on long after the fanbase left, grasping at anything to make an episode and ruining the wonder of the initial concept. The ideas are not there. The finesse certainly isn’t. There is no time to make it great.
This is the danger of the One Great Tale.
If you are happy with One Great Tale, please write that beautiful story and share it with the world. I’m not trying to discourage people with this caution! But for me, it’s not enough to make One Great Tale. I want to become a great storyteller and great writer. As I work through drafts, I experiment, explore genres and styles. I write poetry sometimes. I fight with short stories. I submit other pieces. I take out parts. I go to conferences. I do writing exercises. I practice, practice, practice.
Because then, when my fans come looking for the second book, I’m ready to produce something just as good as the first. With practice, that second book will only take months.
I encourage you to put down the One Great Tale when you’ve finished it and not stop there. Pick up a new idea and run with it. Write a snippet or a sequel. Anything that will help you grow.
Then, when you're ready, write the Second Great Tale
D. Lambert, author
Fantasy novels that entice, inspire, and entertain.