Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

What writerly mistakes have you made?

My old gran used to say, 'Smart folks try to learn from their mistakes, the wise ones try to learn from other people's.' With that in mind, I thought it might be interesting to hear about some of the big writerly-type mistakes people feel they've made, and what they learned from them.

As you might imagine, I've made a fair few myself, but if I had to pick, I'd say these are the two biggest so far:

From the Spring of 2003 to the Winter of 2007, I wrote four complete novels, at least I thought they were complete. In reality, they were little more than poorly-written first drafts. 

What I should have also been doing during that time was working to improve my craft, but in my blissful ignorance, I didn't realize there was so much about writing that I didn't even know I didn't know. If I'd taken the time to find out, those drafts would have turned out much better.

In December of 2009, when Echelon Press offered me a contract for Fur-Face, I made the mistake of confusing editing work and book promotion with actual writing. Although I did a fair bit of work outlining several new book ideas (an important part of my writing process), I wrote very few new words of fiction in 2010.

In January of this year, I had to force myself to make it a priority. After almost six months, I feel like I'm at last back on track. I have a good routine now which seems to work for me. 

How about you?

What are the biggest writerly mistakes you've made?

Site Meter


Jun. 20th, 2011 05:13 pm (UTC)
The only trouble with reading critically is how difficult it is to switch off :(
Jun. 20th, 2011 05:18 pm (UTC)
*sigh* Sadly yes! I'll now try to read something for pleasure and go, "Gee, that's a rather cliche phrase" or "hmmm...you sure took your sweet time getting to the plot..."

Oh well...
Jun. 20th, 2011 05:55 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes, the "sweet time, getting to the plot" thing.

There's also the sidetrack. Have you ever seen the movie, "The Stuff"? I recommend it. I think it's funnier, because I've been in so many writer's groups and whatnot. It's a movie that could have gone so, so right and ended up so, so wrong.... But because I've been in so many writer's groups, that makes this movie hilarious, IMO!
Jun. 20th, 2011 06:19 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've read books that have been great but...the plot hasn't started in the first 100 or so pages, so I've just given up. I mean, the characters may be lovely and the world building exquisite, but...I'm an impatient reader! I want a story!

The sidetrack is also a great plot-fail bit. ;) I haven't seen "The Stuff", but I may need to now. (And I'll admit that I have a horrible tendency to use sidetrack plots, although I do tend to clean them up in editing.)
Jun. 20th, 2011 07:01 pm (UTC)
You won't regret it-it's a hoot! It's bad enough to be good for at least pointing out where some stories fail, even though they try (and are very trying)!
Jun. 20th, 2011 07:03 pm (UTC)
(example: Dialogue like "My name is Mo. They cal me that because, whenever you give me money, I always want Mo'." Some line to that effect, anyway. It tries, so hard.... >=3)
Jun. 20th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC)
Wow...that is pretty deliciously awful. ;) And there's something hilarious about stuff that's trying hard and failing badly! (Or being absolutely terrible on purpose.)
Jun. 20th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
I know. That's one of the parts that had me laughing so hard. The first time I saw "The Stuff", it was right after watching this SNL skit with this magician who hypnotized everybody into seeing his show. Everyone said (and I do not exactly remember the name of the mesmerist character) "X. We loved it. It was much better than Cats. We're going to see it, again and again." I used to crack my at-the-time Junior Management up by sort of quoting it as "The Stuff. We loved it. It was much better than Cats..." You know. Cracked him up, something awful. Killer Yogurt From Beneath The Earth.

Things What I Wrote and Other Stuff

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there

No longer in print but there are still some copies floating around out there



Books by my writer friends - compressed

NJ Writing groups - compressed

NJ writing conference - compressed

Page Summary


Latest Month

September 2019
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Paulina Bozek