There was an article about Tony Hillerman in the Arizona Republic newspaper. I liked the way Mr. Hillerman wrote easy like real Indian's talk. His voice and knowledge of Native American traditions and life made interesting mystery believable, plus I like to think that some people learned things the didn't previously know about the Navajo people by reading Tony's books.
The thing in the article that really made me smile was this:
"When Tony Hillerman finished his first detective novel set on the Navajo Reservation, a literary agent told him it looked like a best-seller. All he had to do was 'lose the Indian stuff.' "
It's funny how we never list the agents who 'pass' on a best-seller. I don't know why we are so protective, but on the other hand, what's to be gained by ratting them out? Agents are human and entitled to make dumb mistakes too. I received rejection letters long after I had an agent. And once I had one, I didn't want him. Figures, don't it? All of that is another story for another day.
The point is the writer has to believe in their ms. They need to step back and look at it with a certain amount of detachment. They have to ask, "How can I make this better?"
And more importantly, how can I make the next ms better?
It is important to constantly hone writing skills. Reading other writer's works is not enough. I know nearly every website says, read all the novels in your genre you can. Well fine for as far as that goes. But do you really want to write in someone else's voice? Read for enjoyment. Learn new skills, enhance the ones you have, assess each 'expert' for what feels right in your gut and in your intellect.
There it is, my opinion.
As a final note, the blog book goes to the printer today. I should have the proof copy by the end of the week. Whoo-hoo!