Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Few Writing Lessons

The whole experience of getting my novel accepted by a publisher has left me thinking about it and what I would do differently if I could.  Here are a few of my items that have bubbled up to me:

Lesson 1:  If I had to do this over again, I would not do it.  Writing a novel of a professional quality is hard work.  Much harder than I thought and not for anyone who is easily frustrated.  Writing of this type requires that you write and revise until the words you've removed all the wordiness and convey your meaning.  As the same time, there needs to be a cadence to the words and flow through the story.  The plot has to make has and the characters need to be real -- or nearly so.  Talk about dancing on the head of pin.

Of course now that I've started my series I'm going to complete it but I expect some amount of pain as I cobble together six or seven more books.

Lesson 2:  Listen you the feedback you receive.  Very often it is right and tells you what your next step is.
I received all kinds of feedback on the various drafts of my novel and all of it was right and help me figure out what I had to do to fix the story so it could be published.  Now that said, sometimes a comment isn't exactly right but has a kernel of truth to it.  For example, one comment I've gotten is the characters are flat; I disagree.  I am just taking my time revealing each of the main characters.  I've seen this done by well-established writers and I am doing the same thing.  Okay, I'm not Robert Jordan by I can use one or two of his techniques.

Lesson 3:  Check your ego at the door when receiving feedback.  The comments are not about you, they are about the work.  And anything that prevents a story from being its best needs to be attended to.  I learned that lesson back in college bur you'd be surprise how often I have to stop and force myself to pay attention to it.

Lesson 4:  Trust your instincts, they are often correct.  And when they are not, the feedback you receive will let you know what sort of adjustment you need to make.  I don't know how many times I've received feedback that justified some original idea of mine, which I ignored in the current draft.  When that happens, I stop and listen to myself.  The story is almost always better for it.

That's enough for now.  If other lessons become clear to me as my book makes its way through the publishing process, I'll be sure to post again on this topic.

Keep writing, everyone.

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