09 24 2020
Welcome to Ron’s Lit Tip. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I will share a tip with you.
Have you rushed your story?
Perhaps you had a story bursting to be told. You sat down and started writing. You wrote and wrote. It seemed to flow from your brain to your fingers. Your imagination was on fire! And you continued to write.
Finally, it was done, and you felt ready to be published. Perhaps you asked a friend to proofread it, not for mistakes but accolades. Or perhaps you decided to read it through anticipating another surge of pleasure. Alas, that’s not how it went.
Instead your friend tried to be gentle, but she had to point out the errors, lots of errors. Over a hundred errors! Or your own reading revealed the multitude of errors. In either case you are flabbergasted, shocked beyond belief!
On top of all that your masterpiece looked disorganized, and just plain crummy.
Devastated you pick up the typed manuscript and rip it to shreds before dumping the remains into your wastebasket.
What went wrong?
You’ve made 3 Key Mistakes
1 – You rushed it! There is nothing wrong with working hard on your story, but the truth is there is preparation before you start writing. If you start writing first, just remember that chances are you will have extra work later on.
The better approach is to start asking questions about the story you want to write. Basically, they are the Who, What, When, and Where questions with a How included. Some writers do that first, some while they write, but in either case it needs to be done. Some experts suggest breaking the process into time schedules. Whatever works for you. I don’t have a time schedule like that. Years of writing have developed habits that involve both the writing and the necessary research and editing.
2- First Draft. This is where the 2nd mistake takes place. You’ve finished the book or thought you had done so, and you seek to get it published. But the truth is this is your first draft and first drafts are rarely ready to be published. You need to review, edit, and repeat. Some writers hold off until the end before reviewing and editing. I often do it more frequently, perhaps every chapter and with a final review and edit at the conclusion.
This seems time-consuming, but for me it breaks the process up and sometimes leads to a reevaluation of the entire story. Whether fiction or non-fiction you will need to have some kind of review and edit.
3 – You Quit. This is the third and worst mistake. It stems from the first two mistakes where you rushed it and got discouraged by the results. Instead of quitting you want to respond with more energy and determination to finish the story. Take a look at the first draft and identify the good parts, the fixable parts, and the wastebasket parts. Wastebasket parts are those parts that don’t have a place in your book.
When I wrote the nonfiction book Trump an Outsider’s View, I realized from the start I had to go slow. I was going to be covering a lot of material and needed to get it right the first time. So, I was forced from the beginning to do diligent research. As mentioned above, I performed the review and edit tasks as I was writing the story. So, the completed draft was not just my first draft, but my second and third drafts. But I still needed to review it.
It was hard work, under time pressure because it needed to be published before the election, and frustrating. But I believed in the project and pressed on so that by October 1st the book was already out and being marketed.
Tip: Slow down, edit, and never quit.
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R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. #Writingservices