- S tory Ideas: Lehman feels you should have three or four ideas formulating in your mind at a time. Writing is the art of discovery and stories should lead to a greater understanding.
- T reatment: Don't limit yourself; write everything. A poem, short story, or essay, is a glimpse; the novel, a full look.
- A udience: Know who your audience is. Write what people are curious about. Spending time in a bookstore and watching people interact with the material can offer insight into what an audience wants.
- R esearch: Where will your book go in the bookstore? If it doesn't fit nicely into one section, it will not find any home there.
- T imeline: Set a schedule and stick to it. You need to write consistently and on a regular basis to build the writing muscle. When the time comes for you to produce quality material on short notice, you will have the skills to deliver and get paid for your skills.
2. Increase your circle of of identity to include editors and publishers. Lehman says we all have our circle of acquaintances and this circle must include those that can further your writing career. The right place at the right time is often knowing the right person when the time comes.
3. Journal your activities. Track your writing production and research. A good record mixed with solid goals leads to regular output.
4. Write in scenes. In every scene, each character has an objective. There is a winner and a loser.
5. Editors love metaphors. Editors want to see how characters deal with issues compared to other things.
6. Editors like titles and endings. Even though your title is unlikely to make to the final cover, a good title grabs agents and editors. Endings are the most important part of the story. If the ending is a disappointing, the story fails, and will not sell.
7. Who you know is important. Lehman enunciated he may catch flack for this point, but sticks to his guns on the statement. You need to build a circle of acquaintances in the industry. Editors buy, you need to know editors. Lots of them.
8. We are shaped by our early experiences and must move beyond these experiences. To be successful at writing, you must grow beyond your current comfort zone and learn.
9. There are stages to story development. First we absorb information, then formulate a story (a lesson learned), create the story, and finally, send it out into the world for other to see and learn (publication).
10. Writing myths and truths:
- You are a writer.
- To give up is hard. To give up is like not breathing.
- It is hard to succeed. In fact, it is hard to stop. You want to write, you must write. Continued effort will lead to sales. Quiting is impossible to swallow.
As you can see, Lehman provides powerful advice for all writers, published and unpublished. Never be afraid to write, send out material to editors, or get disheartened by a rejection. Your story will find a home in time.