Wow, I’ve actually made a Wednesday post. At least, I’m hopeful that this will become the actual post, lol. How does life get so busy? Why aren’t there 30 hours a day and 8 days in a week. Why don’t I have an army of clones, yet? Surely this is scientifically possible. I will make it so…
And there’s a flashback to Star Trek, Next Generation. Make it so…
Fine, I’m stalling. Mostly because I always think the topic will be easy but it rarely is. And this week we’re discussing—
Mistakes from my first manuscript—how I’ve grown as a writer.
Honestly, that seems so long ago. It’s going on six years now, but after writing so many books since then, it’s hard to remember those first few edits. But I’ve definitely grown as an author, and here’s what stands out. What I notice if I reread those early works.
1—name calling. Dear god, the characters said each other’s name in dialogue so much. As in an insane amount. In reality, we only probably say a person’s name once maybe twice in an entire exchange. Yet, I had mine saying it almost every other line. I’d like to think I’ve learned this one, lol.
2—tagging dialogue. Looking back, I can’t believe how many muttered, and shouted, and bit outs I had. Not that there’s anything wrong with using these, but I’ve come to realize that tagging with action is so much more effective. That describing the scene often relieves the author from having to add words like whispered, or shouted. This is one thing I’d definitely change if I ever rewrote those works.
3—not streamlining descriptions. Sometimes saying less really is more. No one needs a nonstop commentary of what’s happening. At least, not all the time.
4—the too stupid to live scenario. Or even simply stopping to talk in the middle of the action—or having sex at the wrong times, too. I will admit, that on occasion, I had my characters do something that was definitely the equivalent to the age old horror movie trope of…let’s split up. In fact, I’ve gotten to the point where I hear my editor’s voice in my head saying “would they really stop and talk now?” Or, “Is this a good time and place for sex?” I HEAR IT IN MY HEAD!
5—I don’t do well with short pieces. Okay, not sure this is a mistake as much as a revelation, but it’s true just the same. I don’t write short pieces well. There’s definitely an art to keeping a work contained. Hell, an idea contained. When I think of a story idea, it’s always epic. Thus, you won’t see me volunteering to be part of a short collection of stories. I just hate the pressure of keeping to a certain word count. Give me fifty or sixty thousand words, and I might pull it off, but even then. A book needs to go until it’s over, lol. And I seem to need a lot of words to accomplish that.
Now, I’m sure there are tons more. That I screwed up and continue to screw up, lots of stuff. But I just can’t think of them. But all of this serves to remind us that we all, yes all, need a good editor. Please check out the other ladies and see how far they’ve come.