The development of a writer: Are you getting any better?

I just had a realization that has me bashing my head against my keyboard.

I think I might be a better writer now, then I was a year ago.

How did I come to this epiphany?

Ashes Teaser postponedAs some of you have noticed, Ashes in the Sky is late. Ashes, Book Two in the Fire in the Woods Series, is now (I think) on its third editor (Maybe the fourth. I’m losing count.)

This is both good, and bad.  It’s good, because I am getting extra eyes on the book, and each of the umpteenth editing rounds I do, the book gets infinitely stronger. (It’s not the editing rounds that are making it late by the way. Publishing is a fickle business. “Things” happen.)

So what’s got bugs in my bonnet?

Ashes1I jut started my final (I hope) round of edits before the proofread. Since this has been through SO MANY editing rounds, the novel should be pretty near perfect, right?

It’s not.

I’ve already gone through the entire manuscript and accepted, rejected, or revised according to the editor’s suggestions. The hard part is over.

Today, I started reading from page one, giving one final check before the proofread.

Here is where the banging my head part comes in.

I’m stunned at how many changes I am making, and I’ve only gotten through the first fifty pages of so.

I see things I didn’t see before. I am finding sentences that could be stronger. I’m replacing lazy verbs with robust ones. I’m finding paragraphs that don’t read quite right, and making them flow. And I even found a scene that had to be completely re-organized to make it make sense chronologically.

Could it be that I am incredibly picky and hard on myself?

PKO_0005301Well, yes. If you’ve been hanging out here for a while, you already know that is true. But I think the BIG difference is that I finished this novel November 2, 2014. That is almost a year ago, and since then I have completed two more novels. You always hear that practice makes you better. I think this is the case here.

Now that have two more novel’s worth of experience under the keys on my keyboard, and I am unwilling to let ASHES go to press when it’s not as perfect as I can get it.

Will it ever be perfect?

No, of course not, but I’m working darn hard to make sure it lives up to who I am now as a writer, and not who I was a year ago.

This kinda makes me nervous to think that I have three more novels that I completed BEFORE the contract offer for this series that I left on the back-burner to edit and submit another day. I shiver to think about the editing of those. I might have to set them aside as learning experiences.

Or maybe use them as 80,000 word detailed outlines, and start over from scratch.

Has this happened to you? Do you see yourself developing the more you write? Try reading something you wrote a long time ago, and let me know what you see.

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6 responses to “The development of a writer: Are you getting any better?

  1. Enjoyed this post.
    thelonelyauthorblog

  2. If I recall, you had to really hit it hard to complete “Ashes” on deadline, so perhaps this is the work you would have done anyway, if you’d had the time. In any case, you’re right to be picky and especially to insist on the internal logic of the story. Readers really do notice and appreciate when writers go beyond what’s “good enough.”

  3. “No, of course not, but I’m working darn hard to make sure it lives up to who I am now as a writer, and not who I was a year ago.” What a great line. She was right, that teacher that said, “The only way you get better is to write. So start.” Cheers for your progress and astute observations

  4. So now, approximately when can we expect the book out?? I am really waiting for this book!