At a recent NJ Author’s talk on “Getting Published”, a group of published authors discussed the biggest mistakes they think new writers make. Boy did they have a long list!
The panel consisted of: Jonathan Maberry, Mike McPhail, Danielle Ackley-McPhail, Jon Gibbs, Jennifer R. Hubbard, and Kristin Battestella.
As always, I love learning from mistakes others have made, and I truly appreciate them sharing what NOT TO DO.
This is going to be my new “Friday Night” slot… Biggest Mistakes New Writers make.
Mistake Number one:
It is really easy as a new writer to get frustrated, and go on a delete frenzy. The problem is, the days of crumbling up paper and throwing it into a garbage can are over. You can’t take your deleted file out of the trash, smooth it out, and look at it again. Once you delete… it is gone.
Deleting in a frenzy can lead to loss of very valuable work. Especially if you are really emotional when you are editing (we authors never do that, right?)
Trust me, you may think everything you’ve written stinks now, but you may find you need to refer back to part of it later. Even if you don’t use it, it is part of your back story, and you may need to review it to keep your story consistent.
The Author Panel suggested keeping a side file and don’t actually delete anything. Just drag and drop. If you never want to see it again, just don’t open the file. But if you do—
From my own experience, I know I always change my mind. There is a huge scene near the end of my novel where one character gets his memory back. I have re-written the scene five times, and they are all dramatically different. You know where I landed? With my very first draft. I was putting so many plot twists and turns in the revisions that the scene became confusing. I did need to re-write it a little, but I stuck with my original idea. Believe me, a year later, I was glad I had a copy to refer back to.
Avoid the dreaded Delete Frenzy. Make a cozy little file. Call it a nasty name if it makes you feel better. Someday, you may thank me.
Jonathan Maberry: www.Jonathanmaberry.com
Mike McPhail: www.mcp-concepts.com
Danielle Ackley-McPhail: www.sidhenadaire.com
Jon Gibbs: www.acatofninetales.com
Jennifer R. Hubbard: www.jenniferhubbard.com
Kristin Battestella: www.jsnouff.com/kristin