Saturday, April 21, 2012

Lessons Learned

This week we had state tests at school. One of my former student's asked how my new book was coming along. I replied that I'd done little writing this year because of all of the effort I had put in on lesson plans, etc. My principal was standing there and assured her I would get back into it. This kind of lit a fire under me.

Today I opened the book Hooked by Les Edgerton
I mention this because as a new writer I need to constantly work at learning more. I have never taken any college courses to teach me how to write a book. I decided one day I had to ignore what others told me and just do it. I am proud of my first book, "Steps to Courage". However, I am constantly reading things and seeing how I did things wrong. I have always felt the beginning of my book just wasn't right. By the time I published it I felt it was as good as "I" could make it. It has been through HONEST critiques and reviews of my book that I have slowly begun the process of learning to improve my writing. Several people have told me that I did more telling than showing. I also know I have a problem with being a passive writer. I keep trying to write like I was taught in school, and like I've been trained to teach kids to write. I want to change this. I must begin by reading and analyzing books like Hooked. I began by looking at a copy of my book and marking it up. My hope is that as I deconstruct my first book I will be able to avoid those mistakes in the future.

I would love to be able to give someone my book and say, "Mark it up. Be brutally honest and tell me what is wrong so I can fix it and not make the same mistakes in the future". 

There are two main reasons I need to do this. If I ever decide to traditionally publish, it must be good enough to get the attention of a publisher and editor. 
The second reason is if I decide to self-publish again, I need to make sure it is better than my first book.

I will say this much though, it sure has felt good to be back doing what I really enjoy, writing. Yes, the writing process includes reading and learning about writing and practicing what you have learned. 

So what are you waiting for?
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