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Looking back

While I was looking through my list of unfinished stories I came across one which I would really like to see through to completion. It’s been sitting for a very long time now, hell I don’t even remember when I started it! The idea excites me though and its fantasy, which I haven’t written any of for awhile – it all seems to be horror or sci-fi these days.

On reading through, I quickly discovered how bad the writing is. The story is fine, the writing… well, lets just say that its obvious from this piece that overwriting is one of my flaws. In particular, stating things a couple times in different ways.

Why on earth does that happen? At least its glaringly obvious on a re-read, and I have certainly come a long way in that I don’t do it as much as I did a couple of years back!

It is nice to see where you’ve progressed, and that is what I took away from the read through. I’m better than that now, and as a result, the story when it’s finished will be much better too. My writing is getting tighter, my craft stronger.

Which makes me want to go back and edit Lifelines again… but we’ll see 😉 I can’t be taking on too many little projects! I’ll end up getting nothing completed.

What are your big flaws as a writer? How have you improved over the last year or so?

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17 thoughts on “Looking back”

  1. It’s amazing to look back and say “wow, did I really write like that?”

    In the last year I have tightened my prose a lot. Dumped my love affair with words in favour of a starker, more honest voice. I think it’s a huge improvement 🙂 My big flaw at the moment is rushing to the end – my final scenes can be so stark they’re incomprehensible! Nothing that can’t be fixed with an edit, I hope 😉

    1. well, I think thats the main thing to remember – an edit can fix most issues if you have a solid idea there to begin with. The benefit from learning and writing tighter/better first drafts is that the whole process doesn’t take as long!

  2. Writing skill is something that is always improving, changing, and growing. It is a living thing, so I have come to believe.

    Yeah, you know you missed my strange little responses!

    1. I have! I know! lol I just got back from picking Ivy up from school and find your comments all over a bunch of blogs and its great 🙂 did you get some time off or something? lol

  3. No, I didn’t. Actually, I have a new job coming my way that will take me away from the crappy one I’ve been wasting my life away at. Also, Christa is going to be starting head start soon, so that is awesome. I decided to start socializing more instead of holing myself up in my room and hammering away at the best novel I’ve ever written… in my opinion.

    Merrillee is already getting onto me. Grrr…..

    You have some pretty decent friends on here. It’s nice to meet them. 😛

    I’m not one to enter all kinds of writing contests, produce short stories by the dozen, or yammering poems,

  4. Oops, I accidentally hit the submit comment button. I was going somewhere with that rant. Let’s see…

    Oh, yeah. Yammering poems, BUT I write novels and manage to fit into this bunch here on wordpress! Go me!

      1. Who said I’m not a lover of the short form? How dare you make such accusations! Off with her head!

        I may not have an interest in writing them, but I love to read them. Tim Pratt’s “Little Gods” is possibly the best short story I’ve ever read in my life. I highly recommend it.

  5. adverbs! adverbs adverbs adverbs! I use a million of them & end up overdescribing everything – and sounding like a 5 yr old while doing it. Sad thing is, I never really noticed it until someone pointed it out on my old blog last year. OI!

    I’ve been working on it. Sometimes I forget until I reread or edit – other times I’m more conscious of it. I also tend to lose my own voice in place of someone elses, because I am always like a sponge – I soak up habits, accents, styles, etc from whatever I’m reading. It’s kind of weird. No idea how to break that.

    & there is nothing better than finding another shining example of just how you’ve grown!

    1. You know, I read an article yesterday about how young children are encouraged to use lots of adverbs and it tends to be one of the things that stick, and one thing writers tend to have to train themselves out of – we get so much praise for writing creatively and using lots of describing words that it can be hard to let them go! But, the writing does tend to be better without them.

      A sponge huh? That could be used to your advantage in some ways! At least you’ll have lots to draw on for different characters 🙂 I worry that my characters are too similar, but thats something I need to work on.

  6. My old short stories are terribly executed, but I keep looking back and thinking “Damn, that was a great idea – if only I’d known how to actually write back then.” My main problem was trying to imitate my author-love-affair of the month, which led to me spending six months writing Cormac McCarthy style prose so bad that even my now-fiance couldn’t bear to give me critique.

    1. Do you find yourself able to go back to those stories and rewrite them? I have a hard time with it I feel, as though they are so entrenched in the way they are written that I have a hard time seeing how they could be different even though I know the idea is good and completely worthy of being done better.
      Not that this has stopped me from working on some of them, but it seems to be a barrier thats cropped up in the past, one I intend to shatter at every opportunity.

  7. Oh, it’s fun when that happens! Nothing like time away.
    Well, I certainly hope I have imrpoved in the last year, canb’t say how though. I do still struggle with giving enough info, sometimes I take things for granted that the reader knows.
    Have fun with your rewrite!

    1. thanks Jennifer 🙂 I also tend to take for granted what the reader knows, I’ve had friends tell me that I can see it all in my head so why the hell don’t I let them in on it a little more? but other stories seem to go the other way and give too much information… hard to find a balance it seems.

      You’ve mostly been working on the same novel in the last year right? Sorry if I am wrong, pregnancy brain! It can be hard to see how much you’ve grown when working on novels, now that I have switched back to shorts I can certainly see where my growth has been, it’s nice to have that reassurance.

      1. Oh, that pregnancy brain. I never had it so bad with my others…
        Yes, I spent just over on first draft, now editing. I squeeze shorts in but this past year I have not written any new ones, just edited two that I really liked. I joined a critique group, and I find that that really helped bring those two shorts to another level.

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