When Your Own Bad Writing Makes You Sick

Ever look back and read work you’ve done in the past to realize it sucks so bad you almost feel physically ill?

Yep, that happened to me in a big way Sunday. The previous week my son started school on Wednesday, so I started working on my new novel with gusto (I’d been waiting all summer to start!), but realized I had some background information and research that needed to be done first. Then I got the bright idea to read the half completed first draft of my second novel (Dark Territories) over the weekend. God, what a horrible, awful, terrible disappointment that turned out to be.

I couldn’t even get all the way through two chapters before I decided I’d had enough, because I was real close to vomiting. Yeah, it was that bad. And I can’t even pinpoint one specific thing that was terrible. There was a well balanced amount of terribleness from stiff and completely out of character dialogue to plot leaps that would make a mountain goat proud. There were tie-ins from one story arc to another that left me wondering exactly how much I had to drink that day. And please don’t even get me started on my long windedness. I could probably make a schooner set sail with all that blustering air moving about in each scene.

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To Be a Good Writer Means to Be a Good Thinker

Writing is 99% thinking, and the rest is typing. — Ray Bradbury

When I first started writing, I did it the hard way. I just wrote the first thing that came to mind. I got an idea, character, setting, or ect. in my head and I wrote it down immediately.

It was fun. I produced a story, or maybe a part of a story, or maybe really just words on a page. But damn if I didn’t feel proud of my accomplishment. A proud Momma with her precious baby.

And then I got some experience under my belt and that happy bubble popped when I realized I was doing it all wrong.

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Writing Tips from Fictions Authors

cropped-writing1.jpgI am always looking for advice or insight into writing and what others have to say about the writing journey. In my search, I found an article from iUniverse that gives 20 tips from authors some of them well mown like Neil Gaiman and Elmore Leonard. Some of the tips I’ve already heard, but they are important and are worth repeating (a lot). In fact, I may just print this up and put it on the wall so I can see it on a daily basis.

Check these tips out and see what you think. Tip number six is a real crutch for me. And I learned tip number two the hard way.

What tips do you have and would like to share? Feel free to post in the comment section below.

Advice from Slush Readers

What makes a good story? What are people looking to read about? How can I get people to care about my story and characters? And what does it take to get published? These questions have been on my mind recently and I ran across a few great articles I wanted to share and they come in the form of slush reader’s blog posts.

Slush readers, the bottom of the stack in the publishing world. They are often unpaid and work behind the scenes. They put a lot of time and effort into their work and get little recognition or monetary compensation for what they do. So why do it? Because of the incredible learning experience you really can’t get anywhere else. Or so I’ve heard, and it’s one reason why I’ve seriously been considering becoming a slush reader myself.

That’s an entirely different post. Right now I want to share a few blogs I recently visited and the incredible information I found. Some of the information overlaps a bit, but read for yourself and see what you can can glean for your own writing toolbox.

Sarah E. Olsen’s blog post Slush Readers’ Advice for Writers offers general and quite specific advice on what slush readers look for and pet peeves to try and stay away from. This reader works for Apex Magazine and some of her advice is related directly to speculative fiction, but a lot is for all writing in general. She also has some advice for those looking to do slush reading themselves.

Confessions of a Slush Reader: Why I Should Care?  is a post done by Farrett Steinmetz . It’s a humorous, but realistic look at the publishing world. Why should a slush reader care about your story? Give the slush reader a reason to say… yes. The graphics are hilarious in this post, but the advice solid. Why should writers care about what a slush reader has to say? Read this post and find out.