|My first two novels|
What actually decided me to mention that in today’s blog was the prayer of our delightful grandson last night. His Dad, our own precious son, had just left very early in the morning to catch a flight on the first leg of a long trip overseas. Our grandson is now just over ten years old. He thrilled Ray and I with his maturity and faith as he asked God to keep the traveller safe and watch over himself and the rest of the family. As he prayed, I have to confess having to remind myself he is still only ten years old!
I was dwelling on this again today and my thoughts went back many, many years ago to another ten year old. I suddenly remembered how I used to pray too to the Lord I knew without a doubt loved me. Certainly since then I have been learning more and more about that same Lord, more about how He wants us to pray in intimate fellowship with Himself. Even when the answers are not always what I want, I am even more sure He is listening, is always faithful to His word, and yet have I forgotten just how much I have had to learn over the years about God and His ways?
My first novel I started writing over twenty years ago. There had been a fairly brief course about writing fiction, including setting, plotting, characters and other basic elements of a novel. Even though I did buy “How to Write” books as well over the years, learning the theory and then trying to put it into practice are often two different things. Now I look back and realise just how much I gradually learnt – and not only with that very first attempt. Fortunately for that first novel I had one editor who pointed out what we now call “head-hopping” or my bad use of Point of View. For many years I did not even know the technical term for that problem. I won’t even attempt to mention the grammar I had to learn and still get wrong sometimes!
Today I am very aware that even after having written seventeen stories I am still learning how to improve my writing to try and give my readers an enjoyable “Emotional Experience”.
One problem I have noticed writers need help with I am presenting in a workshop at The Word Writers Getaway in October – “The Structure of the Novel”. It is still not too late to register so do check out the session topics available. There just might be one to help you or a writer friend you know.
There is danger in taking for granted beginners know things we have had to learn ourselves over years and now are very familiar with – even if we still fail sometimes to put them into practice properly. Now I am trying to pass on writing techniques to others, it is important to never forget just what I had to learn – and too many times the hard way from editor requests for revisions.
I would love to have comments about specific things you remember you had to learn about while writing your manuscripts.
Perhaps there are mistakes (besides typos) you see in published books you wish the writer had known about?