A few weeks ago on Thanksgiving I had a very interesting conversation with my niece. It involved writing. (insert smiley face emoticon here)
"Will you read my book?" she asked me, the notebook poised in her hands.
At this point, it had been passed around to a few other people, who all said "it was good." Honestly though, as a writer, you love to hear that kind of praise but you also want to know "how can I make it better?"
Hence, that's where I stepped in because she knew I was a writer and could help her.
The opening line was gripping, something that could be the opening line to any number of bestsellers, and she had sentences that made me all the more impressed. Her dialogue was engaging as well, and you could almost hear the teenagers talking to each other.
Afterwards, I curled my finger and we talked about what she had written. She was thrilled at the constructive criticism I was able to offer, talking about what worked and what didn't. I suggested areas where she could cut, and then she said something about "the story's point of view."
I smiled. "Now you sound like a writer," I said.
She understood that it takes long hours (10,000 to use Malcolm Gladwell's analysis) to build up the craft of writing. They say an overnight success takes 10-20 years. No one sees that hard work that goes into publishing a book except those that live it.
And she's well on her way . . .