Today, I’m scrutinizing the quality and precision of my writing. I’ve read and own a great deal of writing and psychology reference books I picked up in order to craft better stories. They gave me a great starting point, but there’s still a learning process in trying to apply what I read. I think the most valuable part of that reading has been the ability to apply feedback. There are a lot of really smart writers and readers out there that can help with your work in progress. Some have given me advice and my past reading has helped me understand and apply some of that to vary degrees of success.
I think my greatest progress has been in writing Redux Riding Hood in this serialized version. I have had the pleasure of working with an editor for each of my chapters, receiving feedback after I completed each one. There were some obvious things I struggled with early on. ‘Lay vs lie’ comes to mind most readily, as it’s still something that trips me up from time to time. Tense and perspective shifting were also an adversary that I kept coming up against.
You know how the bad guy is never dead in horror movies? These were my unkillable bad guys—and still are, actually. They keep showing up whenever I let down my guard, so I wonder if they’ll ever stay dead. I may be dealing with a Michael Myers scenario… That doesn’t mean abandon all hope, though, and it’s not to say that I’m making no progress. My awareness of those monsters lurking within my writing, that’s a significant accomplishment by itself.
Something changed when I wrote my twenty-fifth scene. A dragon fight takes place in this scene. I wrote it once and didn’t like it. I wrote it again, and it was closer—close enough for the time being. Some of my main character’s motivations came out in this scene and allowed the following chapters to improve. My next conflict scene came out a lot better, with each improving there after.
I’m twenty-five scenes beyond the dragon fight, and I’m circling back to apply what I have learned. Each scene needs to accomplish specific things, so while I’m applying lessons learned, I’m also making sure that scenes accomplish what they should.
Now, it’s time to get back to work!