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09 August 2012 @ 03:49 pm
rookie mistake  

For the past six weeks I’ve been working on starting a new book. Now, it often only *takes* me six weeks to write a book, and although there have been some distractions, taking six weeks to get started is really a bad sign. Usually when I don’t want to work on a new project, it means I’ve done something wrong. I *know* that, so I kept looking at it, trying to figure out what I’d done wrong. I reached 75 pages on the manuscript twice, and the first time, I threw out half of them.

This, the second time, I have realized that the book’s structure is fundamentally broken. I’ve been trying desperately to insert conflict into the story, and it just has not been working. I finally realized it’s because I’ve made things too easy for my main character, right from page one.

From where I’m sitting, that’s a rookie mistake. I haven’t done that since about my fourth published novel, and this is something like the 28th one I’ve written. So yeah, rookie mistake. A really, really aggravating one, too, because it means absolutely everything I’ve written is useless, including my synopsis. I have to throw it *all* out, and start all over again.

And this, my friends, is part of what it is to be a professional writer: looking a complete failure in the eye, tossing it, and starting anew. *mutter*

(x-posted from the essential kit)

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Wolf Lahti: antimonywolflahti on August 9th, 2012 04:13 pm (UTC)

I've become increasingly convinced over the years that professionalism is simply another word for persistence.


"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'Press On' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race."

—Calvin Coolidge