10/21/13

Writing doesn’t have to suck.


Depending on where you are in your writing process, you may be calling me a liar, trying to figure out what the hell I’ve been smoking. (Or maybe you’re Stephen King, then this post doesn’t apply to you.) Let me explain.

1st book I wrote - sucked so bad, it made the vacuum of a black hole look like a Dustbuster.
2nd book I wrote - sucked too, almost as much as Jenna Jameson—well, you get the point. 
3rd book I wrote - just plain sucked.  No exaggerated comparison.  Plain and simple “an act or instance of sucking.”

I know you’re thinking, “Wow,Dana, that’s a whole lot of suckage for something that doesn’t have to suck.” O_o

At some point in your writing you have to recognize all the suckage as something good. You now have excellent examples of what NOT to do.  A good—determined—writer will eventually see their flaws and strive to fix them.

4th book I wrote – did not suck. Doesn’t mean it was awesome or publishable or even query worthy, but it did not suck.

Writing book four I discovered a few things. It was the first book worthy of revisions. All the others would have been COMPLETE rewrites, and I wasn’t willing sacrifice more words with no payoff. Other things that did not suck in the book were the characters.  I had a great cast of characters with unique personalities.  The plot wasn’t bad, at least it was full of action. But the most important discovery in writing the fourth book, voice.  Halleluiah! Yes, I had finally captured the ever elusive creature called Voice. But alas, the book had one major flaw, no character motivation.  So as awesome as her personality was and as much action as the plot had, without motivation the pacing felt forced. So the story got shelved.

Four years of writing under my belt and four books written, I still didn’t have a book to query.  Now that sucks. As depressing as it felt to me and no further in my career, I wasn’t willing to give up.  With an arsenal of what NOT to do, I wrote another book. Cue 5th book.

5th book I wrote - was pretty dang good if I say so myself.  And I just did. Focused on what I was good at, coupled with strengthening what I wasn’t so good at, I wrote my last manuscript in 45 days.  I spent the next four months revising it (with the help of 4 awesome CPs. Thanks, girlies!)  I have probably read my manuscript 30 times.  Not ONCE have I read it and thought, “I’m sick of this story!”  Each time I read it, I remember the love I have for my characters and their story. With book five, I got an agent.

And THAT, my dear friends, does not suck.

So I’m here to tell you, when you write something you hate, get down in the dumps because you don’t feel like your career is going anywhere and the thought of writing one more thing makes you want to give up writing all together…don’t.  Don’t quit.  Don’t let self doubt squash your dreams like fresh turd on the bottom of your shoe. (Oh come on, I was getting too theatrical and had to break the tension.)

In the words of Commander Peter Quincy Taggart, “Never give up.  Never surrender.” 

6 comments :

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I love reading stories of writers' journeys toward landing an agent/book deal. Yours is very inspiring! That's great that your perseverance and hard work paid off. :)

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    1. Glad it inspired you. I've pouted a many a nights to my husband about writing. I'm glad I kept at it.

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  2. Totally needed to hear this. xo AND as if I didn't love you enough you quoted GALAXY QUEST. I'm totally in my happy place.

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    1. I have great taste in movies, what can I say! Glad my post helped.

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  3. This post was great before, but the fact that you quoted GALAXY QUEST at the end makes it awesome. My CP and I have a saying that includes that: No Excuses. No Regrets. Never Give Up. Never Surrender. (The first two were hers and the last two were mine, so we combined them *winks*)

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    1. I am full of movie quotes, most especially obscure lines no one but my husband knows what movie from. And I love you and your CPs saying.

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