I believe that most new writers spend far too much time on words and sentences rather than on the story. They’re willing to spend hours or even days thinking about a single sentence, trying to prove to the world how very clever they are. There’s nothing wrong with this per se, especially if an equal amount of time is spent on the content of the story, but this is something many writers don’t know how to do or they can’t be bothered. Writing an interesting novel isn’t as simple as it may seem. But neither is it so very difficult that one should immediately give up.
I’ll tell you an interesting example. While on holiday at the seaside, I noticed a friend had a thick book in his hand. I asked him what he was reading.
He said: “It’s a war novel and I love it. But it’s quite a demanding read, which suits me, at least I’ll learn something new.”
I asked him: “So how long have you been reading it?” I’d noticed that he’d only read a few dozen pages.
“Three weeks.” He made some excuses about having lots of other things to do.
I had brought with me Nothing Lasts Forever by Sidney Sheldon.
I convinced my friend to read it. He read it in a few days and asked me if I had another book like that. I gave him all three books I had brought and he read them within a week. And he never touched the thick war book again.
It’s hard to believe how many people feel that they have to learn something from a book. And at the same time they watch simple thrillers on television, from which they learn nothing.