So many potential mistakes that costs time… . These first three articles discuss the importance of attending writers’ conferences and how to best utilize them and save time. This third article reveals two other very common mistakes to avoid in order to save even more time. Of course, I made these mistakes as well… .
Learning the Craft of Fiction Writing
I studied and worked hard at learning my new craft of fiction writing. How-to books filled my shelves, and yes, I not only read them, but I studied them. There were books on
- character development,
- showing not telling,
to name just a few, along with workbooks where you can practice — and practice I did. Finally, I finished the first draft and applied for one of the few select spots in a fiction clinic with a great publisher and editor, Jeff Gerke.
The Fiction Clinic
This book was my baby. I spent countless hours creating a strong heroine in a field that fascinated me – journalism. That’s right, I was fascinated with journalists who covered exciting, dangerous events so I made my heroine a journalist.
Jeff asked me a simple question that changed the course of my book, Hidden Bloodlines, (and my series — The J.C. Classified Series). “Why isn’t your heroine a lawyer?” He sagely pointed out that it’s better to write what you know. As a lawyer myself, I’ve lived the life, and if my character lived what I know, she would feel “real” to the reader and have a greater impact. You want your readers to fall in love with your characters.
Jeff then asked me to tell him the entire story in a nutshell. Most writers like to tell their story and I held nothing back. My story was too complicated — there were actually two books within one and they needed to be separated. I was back to the drawing board with a heroine who was now a lawyer and a plot that needed to be simplified.
The Plotter vs. Pantser
If I were a “plotter,” a writer who creates detailed outlines prior to starting, at least the overly complicated story may have been identified prior to writing the entire manuscript. However, I am a “seat of the pants” writer where this risk is higher. I’ve attended conferences where the recommendation is to blend the two. That may work with some, but not all, and certainly not me. That’s part of the excitement for me to write — the developing story and the twists and turns of events.
How about you? Are you a “plotter,” “pantser,” or a blend of both?