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My Writing Mistakes For Your Future Writing Reference

Updated on October 21, 2014
Ethan Bridges profile image

I am currently an English Major in hopes to become one of the great writers of all time.

The Beginning

I have always dreamed of becoming a writer. Not one of these flyby night, New York Times bestsellers, but I wanted to become an accomplished, published writer. I have always wanted to see my name nestled amongst the writers that I fell in love with, who encouraged me unknowingly to want to become a writer. I always considered myself a fair writer, never the best, for I have much work ahead of me until I reach that point in my literary career. I wanted this more than anything. The trouble is how does one become a writer? Many writers struggle with basic concept of writing. The writing bit!

I started work on my first draft of my first novel of my first trilogy in 2012. It took an entire year to work and finish the storyline, plot, foreshadowing, and growth as a "young" writer (albeit I was 18 at the time). The idea was genuinely novel and was perfect for young adult/teen readers. Yet I was still in the "young" stage. The only way to keep the story going was to keep writing. Writing takes a long time, I know. The very thought of writing another book in a year's time seems unfathomable, but it is possible I could do it once more. Writing, almost daily, kept my mind at bay, to keep my characters alive I had to write just one more scene, one more section, one more chapter. I kept my fingers glued to my keyboard and kept them moving. I just knew I had to finish my story just to start the next one, but there would come a time where I had to face a reality. After you finish writing one book, you must go back and make the necessary changes that need to be made. And what's more horrific than EDITING!

Editing has always been a problem with me. I know how my sentences are supposed to be, but for some strange reason, I don't grasp the fact that it's hard to edit my own work because I see what should be there. Editing other people's work is not a problem for me at all... Just my own is the problem. I clearly needed some help. An old English teaching friend of mine started on the first chapter. She said the story was good, the idea, the concept, but my work was missing something: Characterization. Where was the rise and fall of my characters? Where was the one flaw that made my protagonist my protagonist? What was their purpose in my story to begin with? I had the story now I needed my characters to build on the story. She also told me that I made the same mistake every "young" writer makes of telling and not showing. That was a whole different ball field for me, and I continue to struggle with telling and not showing my characters' actions. It isn't something easy for a writer to pick out but their counterpart: The reader.

So I began my journey of reading over my work, finding mistakes that seemed simple and stupid after I looked over them. I realized I wasn't the greatest writer as I thought I was. I almost went mad from all the mistakes I found that I had made. I was and appalled at the amount of wasted time I spent on this story. It was for failure; until my friend told me that this was called my FIRST draft, and it is made to have all your mistakes in it. I have went through so many "rough" drafts that I have torn my story a part bit by bit.

After I slaved over my computer for one entire week, I finished my full edit from top to bottom. The amount of progress surprised me within that little time frame. My story grew, but I also had to take away some details, some characters, some scenes because they no longer fit the story. I have taken a look over it over the past two years and realize the more I work on it the better it becomes. I enjoy it more, and the story appears more enlightened than the last.

So, now I'm on to marketing my book. I have sent it out to several literary agencies and have only had two rejections thus far. But that's not going to let me down. I've got to keep my head up hight.

Helpful Tips

Learning on my mistakes with my first novel, I realize to become a writer one must write. At all times, write the words of your story in your head. Keep a reporter's notebook in your pocket along with a pencil. Pencils seem better than pens when it comes to writing down ideas. Pens make things look permanent when they don't have to be. You can make all the changes with the eraser of your pencil.

Kill your darlings! Yes, butcher your words until the blood flows red and your arms ache with the constant use of chopping. Take out what you know that is making your work choppy. Leave what you know to be important. This has helped me in so many ways. Look to see if what you have is necessary for your scene or for the story, if not get rid of it. It is most likely hurting your story and not helping. Always ask yourself if your character should be doing what he or she is doing.

Show not tell. "Sally is honest." This is an example of telling. "Sally returned the money she found inside the wallet to the store manager, hoping the owner would return to get back what was his." This is an example of showing that she's honest and not telling the audience that she is. Working on this is possibly the hardest role in writing.

Always keep a positive outlook when writing. Keep faith in yourself, and never let anyone get the best of you. If you keep writing, you are a writer. Getting published is the only difficult part... Trust me, I know.


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