A post about writing.
The first time I saw a pool with people swimming in it, I thought “that looks fun” and jumped into the deep end. My dad had to dive in, fully clothed to rescue me because I didn’t know how to swim. Thanks dad!
Once I learnt how to swim, it became a delight, and one that I love to this day. Even as an adult, I will pretend I’m a mermaid when no one is around to take note of my folly.
When I decided to self-publish under my own name, I took the same approach. Write and I’m sure it’ll be fine. It wasn’t. I now think I perhaps should have taken professional lessons into how to write creatively, just as I did when learning to swim; oh well. Life is about learning.
My editor suggested that I write in the third person close rather than first. That way I could still provide the suspense for the reader whilst giving needed information that the main character wouldn’t have known. Obviously, this annoyed me and as with all criticism, it’s easy to become defensive. Once over my strop, I agreed to try it out; said editor was right. Just like trusting your own buoyancy in water and not panicking, I had to re-tell the story in another tone and trust it wouldn’t die.
Once re-written, I put it out to beta readers. Some had already read the first draft, others hadn’t. They all had different opinions of what they liked and didn’t like, but most agreed that I had areas of repetition in my story telling. A bit more stropping and wine later, I had to look into this common theme. Sadly, they were right.
When you’re teaching someone something, you end up repeating it over and over in different tones whilst you wait for them to understand. Over the years I’d homed in my proposal writing in order to get the products I was selling understood by buyers. In a proposal, the rule of three applies.
- You tell them what it is you’re about to show them in relation to their needs
- You show them the product in relation to their need
- You summarise what they just saw in relation to their needs
This approach is used when it comes to simplifying often complex processes. Processes that deal with data collection, analysis and visualisation, especially when it involves AI or machine learning. You want the buyer to adopt and adapt. They need to understand the benefits in order for the tech to help, but also the mechanisms behind the machine. In creative writing, this technique is superfluous. If you need to repeat something, you’re doing it wrong.
When reading a book, you want to be transported into it. Reading the same thing said in a different voice is dull, especially if it’s not needed. This has been the hard part because it’s new. How do I make this story stand out. I’ll be honest here, the vampire or supernatural genre is set, so what can I possibly add to it? This is what every writer has to face. I think the story I’m writing is amazing. I love the main character and everyone else involved. My writer friends will agree that the characters (they write) want to be brought to life. I’m just learning how I can do them justice.
As it was when I first jumped into the pool before learning to swim, I now have to learn how to bring my characters to life in the best way possible for their survival. This is my way of saying be kind when I do publish 😉