Earlier posts from the SG1 Series:
What, Why, Who, How â€“ Questioning Formula?
Many writers learn to emulate or procreate success by following or developing a specific formula. We begin the journey of a writer in the footsteps of our favorites, the classics and contemporaries who walked these hallowed halls before us, but in time we learn to strike out on our own. We develop our own voice, our own techniques and our own formulas.
Television Series are almost entirely dependent on formula. Formula allows multiple writers to follow steps to create a consistent product. Category Romance are often formulaic as well. Indeed many aspects of business (writing or otherwise) coexist around formula, from business models to time management and of course content.
Formula is about reusing what has proven to work. While there is little point in repeating actions that were unsuccessful, we know that success can often be recreated by following similar steps. The Stargate Series continued to produce successful seasons, year after year, thanks to their carefully structured formula. Category Romances are enjoyed by thousands of women around the world because we all know they have happy endings, itâ€™s part of the formula. Success, developed into a success formula can recreate success.
For first time novelists this might seem like information you canâ€™t use. After all, we need to have those first successes to create a success formula, right? Nope, not at all. Thatâ€™s where emulation plays a significant role in the early success of writers. It is one of the reasons a love of reading is almost a prerequisite for writers. The more you read the more you will absorb the method and technique, the formulas, of other writers.
Worship at the Author Altar by Reading
Books should obviously be our first love. After all, as novelists we are determined to spend hour upon hour in company with them every single day. When we arenâ€™t writing our own we are, hopefully, kicking back with one of the many books that gather in teetering piles on any available flat surface (or stacked neatly on a bookshelf if youâ€™re the rare mythological being, a neat writer).
The books we read offer lessons to all writers. With time and experience writers develop an eye that tends to transform the reading process. The luckiest of us donâ€™t find this dilutes the joy of reading but sometimes it can feel like we are still working in our off hours.
Read as much as you possibly can. Donâ€™t be afraid to deviate from your favorite authors, genres, or first publication dates. Read classics, thrillers, fillers, any book that stumbles into your hands both fiction and non-fiction. Become your libraries most loyal visitor and steal moments to read whenever you can. This firm foundation of language and technique is the cement pad on which youâ€™ll build a house of writing.
Pester, Prod, Ask Questions, and Be Interested
We have a surprising number of opportunities throughout life to learn. Writersâ€™ conferences, talk shows, podcasts, blogs, writersâ€™ groups, book readings, etc. all provide a marvelous chance to pick apart the brains of other writers. Donâ€™t be afraid to ask questions. If you show a true interest and a willingness to learn most writers will be available for you (to a point). You can learn a great deal about writing and success from published authors, interviews, and the media. Absorb and question, analyze and compare. Become an avid busy-body and learn to ask the right questions to get the answers you can use.
Recreate a Success Formula â€“ Write!
With what you learn from reading and questioning, from watching television and movies and listening to the world you will have found consistencies you can use to begin to develop your own success formula. Publisher guidelines and writing magazines are another place to dig. By pulling these threads of knowledge together you can structure the walls of your success.
Recreate and emulate the successful techniques youâ€™ve discovered but be prepared to grow and adjust. A formula never works perfectly if it is identical every time. You must change as needed. This takes practice and the only way you will succeed is to learn to fail. Writers never get it right every time. We get better with failure, we learn, we develop, we grow into success.
The Bookâ€™s Formula
Just as youâ€™ve created a formula for success many books can follow a formula that also aids their success. It is done in much the same way. By learning what works and working what youâ€™ve learnt. Remember to adjust when needed and to practice. A Book Formula is most common for book series and some very specific genres. Many of the most prolific writers have learnt to use formula to produce multiple books that stand alone on their own merit but follow consistent patterns that fans enjoy and come to expect.
Donâ€™t be afraid to emulate formula while you begin as a writer but donâ€™t forget how vital it is to discover your own voice, and walk the path in your own shoes. Yes, you can learn to be successful by following in the footsteps of successful people but the most successful learn to strike out on their own, they take paths less traveled and that makes all the difference.