Wednesday, April 04, 2012
Mistakes I Made In Writing My First Manuscript
1. I started in the wrong place. Over and over again. I must have rewritten the beginning of that darn book twenty times . . . in twenty different places.
2. The first draft was too long. I had no clue about acceptable word count. Basically, my first “draft” was something like 160,000 words; in other words, a tome!
3. I knew nothing about genre when I started writing. I had a story in my head and I started putting it down, with no clue that agents, editors, and booksellers have to know HOW to shelve your book in order to sell it to readers.
4. I didn't understand point of view. Didn’t figure it out until I was on the third or fourth draft. The light bulb actually went off for me after receiving a critique from an on-line group.
5. Ditto on dialogue tags. I was snorting, gasping, wheezing, growling, snarling, rasping, whispering, scoffing, scolding, shouting, and chuckling all over the place.
6. Double ditto on the overuse of adverbs and adjectives, she admitted wryly.
7. I didn’t know the difference in passive and active voice.
8. I didn’t have a clue how to “show” rather than tell. Still struggle with that one, I must say.
9. I info dumped all over the place!
10. I didn’t realize that, even if you’re writing a series, each book has to stand alone.
11. It was originally written in third person omniscient, which is rarely used these days. (See number 4 about POV).
12. I wasn’t willing to kill my little darlings, even when they didn’t serve a purpose or move the story forward.
13. I became too attached to the story. I couldn’t believe no one recognized my brilliance. Snort! It was only after I walked away from it and tried something else that I sold.
14. I wrote in a vacuum for too many years with no feedback or constructive criticism. I should have joined a writer’s group and RWA sooner, and learned about networking and craft workshops.
These are just a few of the mistakes I made. What about you? What have you learned about the craft of writing through trial and error?