Wulf Moon wrote:
It's good to remember every writer began with a first story that was crap. But they wrote a story, and that's a huge step. And then they wrote another, and another, and got good at their craft. Eventually, they had their brilliant idea matched by mastery of craft, and they figured out how to touch hearts and a star was born.
I learned this lesson right about this time last year. I was eight chapters into a manuscript when my cousin--who was my critique partner at the time--legit told me it was garbage. (I asked for brutal honesty, and I got it).
He then started challenging me my sending me daily writing prompts where I would have to compose 300 words based on whatever the prompt was. Oddly enough for two weeks straight, my prompt responses all resolved around the same three characters. He looked at me and said, "Nikki, this is the book you SHOULD be writing, not that other hot mess."
To be honest, I was a little upset, after all, I was 24k words deep into HOT MESS (not really its title, but thats what I refer to it as now as an inside joke), that I had put a lot of thought and effort into. So I looked at my prompts, developed a world build, and got to work from the beginning on a completely new concept. After a few chapters, he asked me straight out if I was the same writer who sent him the garbage-script a month earlier. I worked on this story off and on, attending workshops, writing short stories for WOTF, and taking a crack at NaNo last year. In that time, just from constant writing, learning, and networking, (also reviewing and critiquing the works of my peers) I got much better with every short and novella I completed. I finished that second novel, ending at around 76k at the end of last month.
Submitting things to market is still terrifying, but I'm doing it anyway, and it becomes less of a scare-fest every time. I'm not afraid of rejection, as its just one more step toward that first publication credit.
I'm now at a point where I complete everything I start, and I feel myself improving every day.
That original novel I talked about, the one where I was 8 chapters into the manuscript? I looked at it over the weekend and realized that it WAS garbage. But, knowing that I can recognize that offered me one of two options. I could 1) trash it, or 2) fix it.
I didn't trash it. Something about the concept still fascinated me and it was time for me to take it off life support.
Instead, Using what I've learned over the past year, I took those eight chapters, took them apart, and sat and made a world build using the existing material. Over the next few weeks, I plan on overhauling the content, writing new outlines, and starting over and doing a rewrite. I talked to my cousin and my writing group about the new concept for HOT MESS and none of them can believe I salvaged and formed a concept from the guts of the original material.
Am I published yet? Nope...But I did get an HM for Q1, so there's that :)
I'm fairly certain that If I keep up and maintain all the habits I've developed in the story I mentioned above, that I'll get there soon.