Well, it’s the first Wednesday in January, so this is the first yearly meeting of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. At this point, a lot of my writer’s insecurities center around the Holly Lisle ‘How to Revise your Novel’ and scene cards.
Revision courses can be enough to make any novice writer feel insecure, I think. You’re learning a new philosophy about what ingredients go into a great book, and the homework exercises are applying tests to your beloved novel manuscript and forcing you to admit all of the different ways that it’s broken. As I’ve gone through the first few lessons with “Won’t somebody think of the Children,” I’ve found out that:
- The first person narration absolutely has to go, which means that I’m going to have to rewrite the entire book just to get it into some kind of third person, and proofread it very carefully to make sure that I didn’t accidentally leave an ‘I’ or a ‘we’ in the wrong place.
- On a related note, I’m very guilty of telling instead of showing.
- There’s a lot of passages that I honestly don’t care about when I’m reading them myself.
- My characters personalities are often all over the place, or simply invisible.
- There’s conversations where two people tell each other things that they already know simply to explain them to the reader.
- I’ve got scenes that end with whimpers instead of twists or hooks.
- Important characters are left to be introduced near the end of the book, even though they could add to the first act.
- In act one, I don’t establish why my characters really want the goal that they’re fighting for.
- A main character dying at the end comes literally out of the black night of space.
- I’m putting too much detail into introducing minor characters, and too little for more important supporting characters.
- I’ve got scenes with no conflict, scenes with no clearly established setting, and scenes that are missing a clearly established antagonist that need one.
Of course, the obvious come-back response is that finding all of this stuff really will help me rock the revision and write a much better draft of the book. I do try to focus on that. But it can be hard to stick to the lessons and avoid procrastinating when it feels like all I’m finding is problems. That’s why it’s important to celebrate all the cool moments that I’ve come across too, the passages that make me smile when I think “I wrote that!”