Sunday, September 26, 2010

I Am The Elite 2%

Yesterday, I attended a class for children's and YA writers.  A lot of it was introductory stuff I already knew, but a few of the tidbits I wrote down:

  • You have to write one million bad words before you can write one good one.
  • Writers come in one of two forms
    • Plotters - extensive outliners
    • Pantsers - make it up as they go
  • Three things every writer must have:
    • Professionalism
    • Optimism
    • A thick skin
  • In order to get published:
    • Write something no one has ever written before. Or,
    • Write a familiar story better than everyone you're competing against.
  • 81% of Americans say they have a book in them.
  • 2% actually write one.
  • In an odd coincidence, 2% of Americans are also commercial pilots.
So how do you like that?

And, it turns out, the writer running the class is represented by an agent who rejected my full manuscript about a year ago, and who, after extensive re-writes, I've decided to query again.  I posted it on Aboslute Write in Query Letter Hell.  If you have a moment, let me know what you think, either there, or in the comments here.


Ted Cross said...

I think they are mixing thing up if they said a million words. I read a study not long ago that said you need to average 10,000 hours of serious work on a subject in order to gain a level of mastery. I suspect that is closer to the truth.

Matt said...

I've heard the 10,000 hours thing too. Another thing they said is that most authors write four books before getting published. I know my first was wayyy too long. So if that's any indication, throw in short stories and who knows what else, one million might not be that far off.

April said...

Interesting stuff to consider. I do know that lots and lots of people say things like "I should write a book about it." And they think they can and have no idea how hard it actually is. Their first clue should be that most of them don't ever sit down to try.

Gemma Noon said...

I think the million words thing is a misquote of Stephen King, he said something like "the first million words are just practice".

I'm fairly sure he was included his first few published novels in that, but I may be wrong.