Michael J. SullivanAs I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I use Scrivener as my primary writing tool. I came across an article describing how acclaimed fantasy author, Michael J. Sullivan, uses Scrivener to write his books. Michael and I exchanged emails for a while, discussing various aspects of writing as a profession with a focus on the ‘getting published’ side of things. During these discussions I mentioned that I was working on my first fantasy novel and Michael volunteered to read what I had so far and give me a critique.

So I took him up on his offer.

Although Michael wasn’t personally enamored with my work so far, he said it was better than most of the works he reads from budding authors. He followed up with some excellent advice on how to improve the grab-factor of my first chapter, and more specifically, the first three paragraphs. Editors, like record executives, need to be hooked by your story as quickly as possible or they won’t bother reading the rest. You can’t write something obscure and then explain it in chapter three, hoping the reader has the patience to last that long into your story.

Michael is an approachable and likeable author who is willing to share [via his blog] his experience and wisdom gained in his effort to become published. He has numerous posts that impart valuable tips on the entire range of the “I want to be a successful author” effort. I am halfway through his first novel, Theft of Swords, and can attest that he’s a damn good writer as well as a nice guy.

For those like me who are aspiring to become novelists — regardless of genre — check out Sullivan’s blog. The breadth of information and advice he provides is invaluable. His books are definitely worth reading as well.