Before I became acquainted with WARA I had already written one and a half books. However, since joining WARA, I have discovered that I’ve done a lot of things backwards or not at all. So that “one and a half” books has become one and a half stories, with books to be forthcoming. As a friend of mine used to say, “Who’d a thunk it?”

I certainly never imagined that there were rules to be followed if you hoped to publish a book. Which necessated changes in how one wrote it. I only thought they were good or bad; either well written or indecipherable. I knew nothing about writing terms, policies, procedures or preparation. I just sat down one day and started putting my stories to paper, which I now know, makes me a pantster! Some of the things my fellow bloggers have, and will be talking about, I ended up doing out of necessity, like research. I had to delve into the facts and figure department in order to not have my characters look and sound stupid to those who knew better. I had to start charting my characters; their age, name, birth date and part in my productions. I began to keep a calendar so that the time would flow realistically, and I could keep track of it throughout the story. And since these will eventually be a trilogy, I had to figure out how to chart everything over the span of three books. (No point in doing things the easy way!)

I started making lists to go back and check this or that detail, or to fix something that I discovered didn’t quite "jive" with the overall picture I wanted to paint. I learned to keep a list of each chapter and a brief sentence of what was in it, so that I could go where I needed to much quicker. I had to brush up on my punctuation and grammar skills, (say aackk), and how to format my writing in order to somewhat resemble a book.

If I had done all these things from the get go, life would have been so much smoother and quicker. So take it from someone who learned to do things the hard way, and now has to pretty much do them all over again. Join a writer’s group, learn the craft first, and save yourself a few headaches along the way.


Joan Vincent said...

You've learned a lot--and thinks all writers before you had to learn. All of us still struggle with doing things the "hard way" at times. There is always something new to learn, or a new twist to an old way of doing things. We grow, we change as our writing style developes and matures. I just wish there could be a "happy medium" to change and not quite so much angst as usually accompanies it.

Pat Davids said...

Very few writers start by joining a writer's group. You, like many of us, just started a book because we love writing and making imaginary characters do our bidding. It's only later that we find out writing is a skill.

Writing is no different than pitching a baseball. A lot of people can do it, some can do it pretty good. Some do it really, really well, but all of them have to practice to get better.

Only a few pitchers make it to the world series. Not one made it that far without a LOT of practice.

Roxann Delaney said...

Wow, Pat! That was awesome! What a great analogy.

They're right, Becky. The starting point isn't always the same, but most of us go down the same road, starting at different intervals and different speeds.

I'd say close to 99.9% of writers think getting published is easy. For a very, very small few, it is, but they may discover on down the line that there are things they missed learning.

I've never counted how many complete ms I have still under the bed. A couple have actually sold later, after lots and lots of education and rewriting. The rest are pretty much crap.

I'm sure Joan, Pat, Starla, Penny, and most others will agree that the learning never stops. Might as well sit back and enjoy what you can. :)

Starla Kaye said...

Like everyone before me has said, the learning part of writing never stops. And If I ever felt I'd stopped learning in my process, then I would probsbly just stop writing. I like needing to constantly challenge my brain, always needing to learn something new and figure out how to use it.