Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Al Loving Biography - Loved Painting from Early Age to Alice McGill Biography - Personal » William (J. Luttrell III) (1954-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights

William (J. Luttrell III) Biography (1954-) - Sidelights

writing published skill talent

William Luttrell told SATA: "If you want to become a published writer of fiction, it is my opinion that you must possess four separate but equal skills.

"The first skill is talent, the natural ability to string words together. Having an ear for language is a good indicator of writing talent. If you can hear the rhythm of an interesting name ('Di-kem-be Mu-tom-bo') or a well-balanced sentence ('To be or not to be') you probably have the talent to be a writer. Possessing natural writing ability is by far the most overrated quality of a published author. If you are weak in talent but strong in the next three elements, you will be published.

"The next skill consists of learning the craft of writing. Know why you start your story with a brick through the window and not with a long weather report. Master the skill of describing person and place without stopping the forward motion of your story. You can learn the craft by writing regularly and by seeking help from other writers.

"The third skill necessary to become a published writer—and make no mistake, this is at least as important as natural writing talent—is knowing how to market your writing. You must think of your book not as literature or art (though it may well be) but as a product. You'll never hear a Toyota executive say things like 'We made the car that was inside of us' or 'We built the car that had to be built,' yet would-be writers make these statements all the time. Toyota finds out what the consumers want, builds it for them, and markets it to them. You must do the same. Prowl bookstores. Read books that are selling and figure out what the author is doing. Pay attention to word count. If your genre has a formula, learn it and follow it. This advice may sound commercialistic. It is. Don't follow it if you are writing for self-expression or catharsis and don't care to be published. But if you would like to be paid for your writing, you must master the skill of marketing.

"The final and most important skill necessary to become a published author can be described in one word: guts. You must have the will to persevere when there is absolutely no reason to do so. You must be strong enough to conquer any obstacles in your way, most of which you have erected. Like your own inertia. Or your fear of rejection. You must be powerful enough to put down the TV remote and pick up the pen. You must declare 'I am a writer' and act accordingly, not during cocktail parties or long drives in the car, but late at night when you're tired and your bed is calling.

"The good news in all of this is that three of the four skills—learning the craft, marketing, and guts—can be acquired and mastered. The only thing you can't control is talent, and that is only twenty-five percent of the equation. So if you want to be a published writer, get started.

"I'm looking forward to the day that I open this book and read about you."

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