Monday, August 23, 2010

learn as you go

my dad (AKA the blogging police) pointed out i've been slacking here.

perhaps that's because i'm in a bit of a "path-to-publishing" lull. the agent search is over; the submission nail-biting has yet to begin. i just don't have a lot of insight to share during this brief limbo stage.

instead, i've been studying and learning. and by that - i mean writing.
i learn something new with every book, and i thought i'd share a few of those lessons here.

Sammy Vegas
the first real novel i ever attempted to write taught me:
  • without an outline, my stories amble off course and never get finished.
  • writing a book is time-consuming and requires some sacrifices to find that time.
  • most important, it taught me: maybe i don't suck at this, and maybe i kind of love it... a lot.
Losers (Rebel, Bully, Geek, Pariah)
the first novel i ever finished taught me:
  • a good hook/concept is nothing without a well-planned plot.
  • third person with multiple MCs is not the right format for me.
  • most important, it taught me: i can get to "The End," and even then the book might not be good enough... and that's actually okay, because i have this other idea...
Butter
the first novel i ever queried taught me:
  • how to edit - really edit. cut scenes, re-order chapters, insert new story elements and completely rewrite multiple chapters from scratch... all after i thought i was "done."
  • what kind of stories i want to write and what i really want to say.
  • most important, it taught me: finishing a book is really just the beginning. and with any luck, this one's not done yet.
Billy D. & the Bully (working title)
the book i'm writing right now taught me:
  • not every book gets written at the same pace; not every book is built via the same process (for me anyway).
  • writing is the best distraction from all that "path-to-publishing" neurosis.
  • most of all, it taught me: ....well, i don't know the "most of all" yet. i'll let ya know when i'm all done. ;)
one of the many things my agent and i talked about before signing was how every book you write is important. maybe it's not the book you query; maybe it's not the book that sells; but you had to write it for a reason. sometimes you just don't know what that reason is until you're done.

what about you? what have you learned from your own writing?

6 comments:

McD said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
McD said...

I have written two novels. I LOVE the writing process and telling a story. Unfortunately I lack the drive and desire to do the real work.

Polish and editing kick my ass!!!!

Nicole Thomas said...

Couldn't agree more with this. Just from the three stories I have written this year, I've learned so much compared to years before.

I learned how to really edit, that -ly words are not so good, that using he said/she said is okay and is actually the norm. I also learned how to write my first query, the synopsis and to look at my story as if it were a book on the shelf. Would I pick it up? Would I read the first few pages? Would I buy it?

Sage said...

Excellent.

I hope I'm learning as I go for each novel, but I'm not sure I could outline it like you have here.

(Also, my sister is my blogging police)

Girlinbetween said...

brilliant post. I learn something new from every new project I start.

Lindsay said...

Hi - I came over from the OPWFT thread in AW (I'm Lindzy1954). Great post. It reminds us all everything we write has a purpose and is valuable. Good luck when you get to submissions and keeps us all updated!