Anyone who steps into my apartment will know that I am a dedicated book buyer, I recently welcomed my fifth bookcase into my house and am making plans for the sixth. However my latest purchases were a little different.
Taking a recommendation from Youtube, as I often do, I’ve bought a number of books about the craft of writing and spent last night making my way through the first with a highlighter.
This isn’t something that should have come as a surprise, I am after all a writer and professional novelist is the career I am working towards, however for the longest time I’ve avoided studying the art of writing.
During a quick flashback, you can see me at high school, struggling with spelling and grammar but an avid reader and writer with dreams of being a novelist. From age fourteen to sixteen I wrote my first book; book might be an overly generous term for the rough first draft but I was unreservedly proud of it. I was convinced that I had what it took to be a writer and that since editors existed it wasn’t necessary for me to try and hone my technical skills; this evolved into dismissing creative writing classes and English classes as something that could teach me nothing,
This is not the only time I’ve wanted to smack my past self across the mouth.
Through practice and a fascination with analysis videos on Youtube my understanding of narrative, character, plot and setting has developed (including brushing my technical skills up to a point where I’m no longer confused for someone who doesn’t actually speak English). However I still have a long way to go.
2014 marked a change in my outlook, I realised that becoming a professional writer wasn’t something that was just going to happen by wishing it (yes, present me can occasionally be just as deserving as a smack) but it was something I really needed to work towards.
I grew serious about self-publishing my first manuscript, which came with the horrible realisation that writing a first draft is in fact the bare minimum to being a writer. Re-writing is the key to being a real author. Sticking with a novel, cutting it and shaping it and occasionally grinding the work completely into dust and then letting it form again will turn it into the novel it could be.
As I’ve approached this process I’ve found myself constantly second guessing if the changes I’m making are for the better; is this making the story stronger or am I trying to ape what other authors have done without care for my own writing style?
So it’s time to put myself back into school, so to speak.
First off I’m reading the material and setting myself some homework, a blog post a week and 500 words creative each night. It’s a small amount but manageable with everything else I have going on. I’ll also get extra credit for reading analysis, thinking more in depth about the fiction I’m reading for pleasure.
Should I have any revelations about the editing or re-writing process I’ll be sure to share them with you, if nothing else, this should help keep me on track as I prepare for my final exam.
Turning my draft into a novel.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.