Friday, November 16, 2012

My 10 Newbie Writing Experiences

I remember in my first creative writing class, my instructor told me I started my story in the wrong place. I was like, "No I didn't. It starts on page one."

Having movement on the first page means a rock skipping across the lake, a motorcycle slamming into a semi, or a cockroach skittering along the wall. Unless you're looking to attract some disturbed readers, this movement does not include a turd dropping into the toilet. 

The first time my creative writing instructor red-penned Really? on one of my papers next to something fantastical and completely unbelievable, I commented back with Yes, really! and turned it back in hoping for a better grade. I never got the paper back. 

Don't just tell me it was painful; show me how painful. This doesn't mean, "It was extremely painful."

If grammatical mistakes make you cringe when you read them in a novel, imagine how they'd make you feel when discovered during mud sex. If you don't know what that is, you are missing the key element to the reader/writer bonding experience.

I once had an instructor tell us that readers like emotional characters, so I ended up with a wimpy, whiney protagonist. I discovered much later, in this context, emotional does not mean readers want your characters to cry, moan, or shamelessly grovel. They want your characters to use their emotions to empower. Their lust will conquer the mistress, their anger will break the antagonist, and their fear will force them to face the evils which threaten to harm them or their loved ones. 

I spent years writing and hiding my work so that nobody could copy what would become my masterpieces which would earn me millions. Then I realized writers are supposed to have readers!

I found out the hard way that stream of consciousness writing exercises are not good for a person with a mind like mine and that it is always a good thing to delete your exercises when done.

There's nothing that disturbs me more than when I read my own poetry. That's why I stopped writing poetry.

"Can I send you my manuscript?" in the body of an email is not a query letter.

Those are some of my more embarrassing learning moments in my young writing career. Do you have some to share, even if they are the same and can help me feel better about my faux pas?