Newbie Writing Mistake #7

It’s a series on Advice to Newbie Writers. This will last a while. Enjoy.

Newbie Mistake #7 ~ Live and Learn

Over several years—before I started my self-publishing journey—I tinkered with the idea of being a full-time writer. I would play with a story until the writing became difficult then jump to another story. As I continued as a writer, I gradually started  a single novel and stayed with it until finished.
However–and it’s a big HOWEVER–even after I began this “start and go to finish”, I had one novel that I continually played with, writing the whole thing in pieces.

Jigsaw puzzle pieces.

Which also had a major problem called “VERSIONS of the SAME SCENES”. This is not good, people.

Some scenes had over SIX versions. SIX!

Pulling that MS together was a nightmare. I am still happy with the final manuscript, but for weeks I pulled my hair out trying to bring everything together into a cohesive story and trying to meld those different versions of a single together to create a coherent scene.
The FIX :: When I decided to publish another early MS written as bits and pieces of scenes over several years, I did not want to repeat that long summer of writing horror. So, to approach the revision, I didn’t try to pull the scenes together.
I knew what the scene needed then skimmed the old scenes for ideas and … I wrote completely new words and shredded the old as each scene finished.
I finished that book in less than six weeks as opposed to three months.
IN AUGUST, we’ll look at Newbie Mistakes that I didn’t Make, on the 5ths (5 / 15 / 25).
Come on in. The water’s fine.

Newbie Mistake #6

It’s a series on Advice to Newbie Writers. This will last a while. Enjoy.

Newbie Writing Mistake #6

In the past, I set nebulous goals about yearly / monthly / weekly / daily writing. Those nebulous goals sounded like these:
  • I will write on this book.
  • I will write this chapter.
  • This season I will focus on the draft of this book.
  • This month I want to finish the proofreading of a book.
Those aren’t really goals. They are a wish list of things I want to do. GOALS are measurable, practicable, real. They count. They have items that can be touched. This is a goal.
  • I will write 1,500 words on chapter 4 of this book.
The only way I can reach my goal is a specific weekly word count based on daily possibilities. And I need to write every day or impetus is lost.
I still struggle with daily writing, but last year I wrote over 800,000 words–best year ever. I published 5 nonfiction titles, three mysteries, and one fantasy novella.
Specificity is not a word, but it creates success.
So the FIX: I look at the week ahead with its planned distractions and disruptions, then I set a realistic word count. I write daily. When I go over the count, I keep going. When something prevents, I (try to) shrug and work harder the next writing day.
Next Up: Newbie Mistake #7.

Last on Occasional Poetry

Defend the Best in order to Live the Best

Wilfred Owens is British.

What? I thought we were looking at poems by Americans for Americans.

Well, no. Any writer who celebrates freedom and living freely would be appropriate for these July blogs on occasional poetry.

Besides, I used Rupert Brooke’s “The Soldier” (the first poem for the July 5 blog) as one of the first examples of sacrifices reminding us to live our lives, not just drive.

The Wilfred Owens poem selected for this July 25 blog reminds us of the best of life and living that life.

Owens died in 1918, exactly one week before the signing of the Armistice that ended World War I.

His poetry reflects his years in the war: his rage at the senseless cruelty and devastation of war alongside his compassion for his comrades trapped in the mucky trenches and on the bloody battlefields. Three of his best of these are “Dulce et Decorum Est”, “Anthem for Doomed Youth”, and “Strange Meeting.”

Yet he’s more than just a war poet. Other poems revel in nature and life and love.

This poem, a practice in alliteration and  consonance, takes as its title “From My Diary, July 1914”.

Murmuring by myriads in the shimmering trees.
Wakening with wonder in the Pyrenees.
Cheerily chirping in the early day.
Singing of summer, scything through the hay.
Shaking the heavy dews from bloom and frond.
Bursting the surface of the ebony pond.
Of swimmers carving the sparkling cold.
Gleaming with wetness to the morning gold.
A mead
Bordered about with warbling waterbrooks.
A maid
Laughing the love-laugh with me; proud of looks.
The heat
Throbbing between the upland and the peak.
Her heart
Quivering with passion to my pressed cheek.
Of floating flames across the mountain brow.
Of stillness; and a sighing of the bough.
Of leaflets in the gloom; soft petal-showers;
Expanding with the starr-d nocturnal flowers.


July closes our three-month focus on Occasional Poems—Mother’s and Father’s Days, Memorial and Flag Day, and these three July blogs on what we should remember as we celebrate our independence in the mid-summer.

I’m preaching, aren’t I? Sorry. Not.

Should you have a question about copyright, please refer to the July 5 blog.

On August 5 we have the promised Rock Allegory, “Hotel California.” While you’re checking that song out, try a bit of Carmina Burana as well.

Newbie Mistake #5

It’s a series on Advice to Newbie Writers. This will last a while. Enjoy.

Newbie Mistake #5

For several, several years I looked for a good critique group to help me push to the next level. One day, listening to several supposedly “learned” writers pick apart a best-selling published novel for grammar and story structure and character development, I realized that I was in the wrong room.
Since publication is the goal, why was I listening to NON-published writers?
The FIX:: For improving my writing, I needed to find published writing veterans who are STILL publishing–not one or 3 books and done. So I have found my veterans and follow them closely.
Here’s one of them:
~ Remi Black

Newbie Mistake #4

It’s a series on Advice to Newbie Writers. This will last a while. Enjoy.

Newbie Mistake #4 ~ Looking for Other People’s Way

This is not taking advice from other professional writers. This IS learning what works for you rather than trying to bend what works for you into someone else’s mold. Hey! We’re individuals. How could I forget that?
I keep trying to outline when I know–KNOW–that it cages my creativity.
The FIX :: I am still trying to ignore everyone else’s solutions for writing and just doing what should come next for the  story I want to tell. (Remember, I understand story structure, so I understand pacing–which is what story structure is. I do have one structure that stays in mind while writing. That gives good guidance.)
~ Remi Black

Occasional Poetry: Speech as Poem

Abraham Lincoln

Sacrifices are Necessary to Retain Freedom for All

Lincoln. Our 16th President. Writer of the Emancipation Proclamation. Assassinated before the bleeding sides resolved the War of Brother against Brother.

And a poet working in the form of speeches.

The Gettysburg Address is his best work. Here it is, taken out of its prose form and constructed as if Walt Whitman had stuck out a finger and shifted the line lengths. Continue reading “Occasional Poetry: Speech as Poem”

Newbie Mistake #3

It’s a series on Advice to Newbie Writers. This will last a while. Enjoy.

Newbie Mistake #3. Check arrogance at the Writing Room Door.

I understand story structure, so I thought I knew how to hook a reader. The class on Fiction Sales by Dean Wesley Smith pointed out that my books are actually slow starters.
The FIX: consider the best vivid start for each book and don’t bury it three pages in.
#4 will be on the 15th.
By the Way, here’s a link to Dean Wesley Smith’s blog site. Scan through a few blogs and you will quickly find an ongoing list of workshops. I’ve been around teaching a long time. I know what good teaching is. Smith makes it seem simple, but the lessons are truly complex. There’s a lot of learning packed into five minutes, and each week is five or six lessons with an assignment. The learning curve is steep.
~ Remi Black