Wednesday, July 13, 2011

D'OH!

Every Wednesday, YA Highway asks their readership a simple question to answer on your blog. Once you answer, you link your blog in the comments for other readers to hop on board. This is Road Trip Wednesday.

Today's topic: What's the biggest writing / querying / publishing mistake you've made?

Oi. I've been writing for a loooong time which means there's a long bucket list of things never to do again.

  • Like writing a 100K YA contemporary,
  • Or being too cocky in a query letter,
  • Or not doing proper agent research.

These are just a few of my many mistakes.

But the biggest one of all has to be when I took every single piece of feedback my crit group gave me. This is the same crit group that birthed Nemesis, so that I listened to everything they said is crazy. Doing this added another 3 years on getting my WIP back on track*. I was so intent on everyone liking my writing that I forgot to listen to my instinct. I won't be making that mistake ever again.

Have you had a similar experience? What's the biggest mistake you made in your journey?


* I'm happy to announce that it IS back on track. Finally. *confetti shower*
_______

Last.fm hit of the day: Heaven and Hell by Black Sabbath

17 comments:

  1. I totally did that with my first manuscript. I went off track of my original vision b/c I just believed everything they said and made the changes! I think we've all made those mistakes!

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  2. Yeah, I hate that spot in between knowing your vision for the novel and considering the criticism. Sometimes it's obvious that your critique partner is right, but there is a huge grey area of writing that is totally subjective.

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  3. Wow--thanks for the honesty here. What a tough thing to look back on! But I bet you are a stronger writer, and critter for it. (Isn't that the standby wisdom? If it doesn't kill you--or your writing--it makes you stronger?) Oh well, I never said that I didn't do cliches.

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  4. yup. that was my biggest mistake, too. i think every new writer makes it. we want to please everyone and try too hard....and in the process lose our vision and voice. and i personally think that's the hardest part about being a writer - knowing what advice to take and when to trust your instinct.

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  5. I've learned to follow advice, but also follow my heart. If I hear the same thing from several people, I will change it.

    100K. I think I got you beat. My first project was 175K. Whew.

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  6. This is fantastic advice! I've learned to consider ALL feedback, but to only apply what really makes sense to me, the writer.

    And yes, unfortunately many of us are guilty of the 100K+ manuscript... sigh.

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  7. Oh man, that is a killer lesson to learn. It's so easy to focus on this idea that "I need to be open to critique!" that we start ignoring our gut feelings about the work.

    And BOOOOO Nemesis!

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  8. Oh yeah, that listening to critique partners is a hard one. I used to do the same thing. I think it's natural.

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  9. I've struggled with wanting to make every critique partner happy on every single thing, but sometimes it just isn't possible. And, if they are good crit partners (which mine are, thankfully!), they'll understand. :) It's a hard thing to trust our instinct sometimes, but in the end, it keeps our stories true to what we created.

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  10. I so hear you! I am glad you've had enough experience to glean the useful from the not-so-useful in crits.
    I worried about some of my comments being appropriate, b/c I don't know your genre. Whew!

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  11. I know why you did it. It's so easy to believe your work is flawed in all of the ways our crit partners note even if our gut is saying the opposite. Glad to hear you're back on track and feeling good about the story now!

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  12. Telling not showing. Run on sentences. Using "was" too many times. Querying too early. Way too early.

    I can't even imagine the things I've learned in the last five years. Sometimes you have to make the mistake to learn.

    Thanks for sharing, Alicia!

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  13. It's easy to make yourself crazy trying to please all your crit partners. You really have to have a firm sense of your manuscript and its arc to be able to sift through what is helpful and what is not true to your book.

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  14. I've been there with trying to listen to all advice also...until I got the first contradictory advice on the same passage. From then on I learned to filter it all through my own creative instincts.

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  15. Ouch, three years. Hard lesson, but impressive that you've stuck with it. <3

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  16. That's the tough thing about crit partners - we value their input and know they want to make our work better, but in the end we have to follow our instincts when it comes to our writing. It's a fine line to walk.

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