Writing Books/1st novel


I have an idea for a story, which has been in development stage for the past couple of months. The problem is I tend to write a little bit then stop. I do this because I feel that Iím jumping too quickly into the action and not giving enough description on surroundings or character traits etc.
Do you have any suggestions on how I can help the reader feel like theyíre a part of this fictional world but without slowing the pace?

Also, when a publisher starts reading a manuscript what are they generally looking for? Would it be the originality of the conflict/ideas for that particular genre?
Or the skill at playing with words to create the desired effect? Or both?
Iím just curious because Iíve heard that some publishers wonít read past the first few paragraphs if the story doesnít grab them.
I just need a couple of pointers to aim for.


Hello Steve:

As to your first question, It is difficult for me to advise you without seeing your material. I do offer this service, but as a professional writer, I charge for my services. Please go to http://pygmypress.com and check my rates if you are interested.

I do not keep up with the publishing world, so I don't know what they are looking for, but publishing today is a business. You can safely assume they are looking for books that will sell a lot of copies. If you are Ted Bundy or Scooter Libby, you will have no trouble getting published.

First readers at publishing houses don't have the time to read further than the first paragraphs or two, to see if you know what you are doing. If you do, it will be plain in the first sentence, paragraph and page. If you don't, that will also be readily apparent.

It takes considerable instruction/reading/writing practice  to reach the point where you can distinguish writing that works from that which doesn't.

While you work to reach that point, keep writing those small pieces and save them. One day, you will have a whole bookful.

I hope this helps. If it does, a nice rating would be greatly appreciated. I am proud of my high score over 1,000 questions.

And good luck with your writing!


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If you need help with that book or story you've been dying to write, or are trying to write, contact us at pygmy@pygmypress.com, or visit our site at http://pygmypress.com. (You will have to cut and paste as this site does not support hyperlinks).

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Susan Rand


I can answer questions about the elements of fiction and non-fiction writing: how to get started, writing techniques, re-writing, etc. I will NOT write for you, do critiques except from my website at http://pygmypress.com, or give you ideas. I will not answer home-or-schoolwork questions in any category. If English is your second language, please say so, and I will make an exception. Please submit no more than one or two questions at once, as I tend to go into detail in my answers.


I wrote my first book in 1957 and have been writing and studying writing since. I have a BA in Written Communications, and have taught writing both privately and through adult education for 15 years. Have also edited (fiction books) for an online publisher and edited/wrote more than 100 articles for a teen sex education site. Currently writing web content and mentoring beginning writers.

BA degree in Written Communication

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