Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lessons I've Learned

I took a bit of a break from the writing posts because of the Thanksgiving holiday and then because I had a new book releasing that day. I think this will be my last writing post of 2014 because of holiday craziness and because I'm in the middle of a first draft, so my brain isn't functioning at normal levels.

No matter how many books I write, I seem to keep learning as I go. Here are some things I've learned about writing and publishing this year:

The action really needs to kick off earlier in the book and then be paced steadily throughout. You'd think this would be obvious, but it's the thing I always seem to have to fix after a first draft.

If you find that you've created a really great character, it's a good idea to introduce her earlier in the story and then give her more of an active role.

An outside eye can really help you spot things you never would have noticed, whether it's that great character or that wrong word you used (that somehow made it through a beta reader, an agent, an editor and a copyeditor before the proofreader caught it).

Setting unrealistic production goals can actually decrease your productivity. When you surpass a goal, it feels good to keep going and do even more. If there's no way you're going to meet a goal, it's too easy to just give up earlier. All that counts is what you actually accomplish, not what you dream you can accomplish. (I keep having to re-learn this.)

A story needs an antagonist or villain. Figuring out who the villain is and what the villain wants is rather important to plotting a book. I should know this, but it keeps coming up again. I guess I'm far more interested in the heroes.

You need to love anything you write enough to re-read it dozens of times. You're going to have to if you want to make it the best it can be.

Traditional publishing can be a very slow process. Really, really slow. Writing is not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Writing can, however, pay off over time once you have a certain amount of work out there that's selling steadily and have it in a variety of markets.

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