Advice, Blog Stuff, Craft, Fiction, Novel, Tips, Writing

Premature Publication

This post is a follow-up to my last post because that one was published unfinished. I’m laying the blame on SUE for that mistake (and before you smack me for not taking personal responsibility—SUE stands for stupid user error.)

For those of you unfortunate people who don’t have a WordPress blog, I’ll explain that WP takes precautions to make it hard for such an error to occur: the Preview and Save Draft buttons are well above the Publish button and are simple black text on white buttons, while the Publish button is set off in a colored bar and is brightly colored itself. So, yeah, it takes SUE to click the Publish button instead of the Save Draft button.

I had already published a post 12 hours earlier and had intended to post my rant today, Monday. I wasn’t even aware I had prematurely published that rant until I received notice that someone had commented on it. And that reader (I thought) had misunderstood my intent, so I quickly unapproved her comment and sent her an email explaining the problem. Then I re-read and made a couple edits to the original post before too many people read it … of course, those of you who subscribe by reader or email saw the unedited original. (I later added the disclaimer at the top of it.)

Besides my premature original post not making it clear that I like Elizabeth Strout’s opening paragraph, I also intended to make clear that I understand that for some genres, a paragraph like hers would be the kiss of death. If your story is action-driven, do not write an opening paragraph like Strout’s.

Another mistake I’ve made is in reading too many agent blogs and how-to manuals directed at other genres. Very confusing!

The intent of my post was a slap to my own face for mistakenly trying to apply rules for those other genres to my writing. This misunderstanding resulted in my opening undergoing several revisions, until I felt it no longer represented the tone of the novel.

Anyway, my last post was a cautionary tale: Know thy genre and be steadfast and true to it.

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Advice, Critique, Editing, Fiction, Revision, Tips, Words, Writing

Is there egg on my face?


The problem with having a blog is that it’s public. If you blog about your writing, you risk revealing your mistakes. I could, of course, have skipped this confession, and concealed my mistake, but that would be dishonest. Surely, some other writer out there has, or will, do the same thing, and I’d hate for them to stand alone, in all their gooey eggness.

Years ago, when I had four little boys and no dishwasher, a friend observed that in my impatience to be done, I always let the dishwater drain too soon and then, invariable, discovered one cup, or spoon, or pan that I’d forgotten to wash. Unfortunately, I’m still impatient, only this time it was my novel I ended too soon. And I don’t mean it just needed a little more editing and another polish.

I was forced to admit my prematurity, thanks to some excellent beta-readers (and to the relief of my inner critic Ms. Perfect who had tried to tell me the same thing.) So I went back to work and now I’ve added almost eight thousand (8,000) words, which takes my word count to a more acceptable level of 76,000. And I still have one scene to finish. Then, the new scenes will go out for feedback to any critique partners who volunteer (and three who have no choice) and the count will change again, I’m sure.

Some of my critique partners read this blog, and they may disagree with what I saw as the main problem to address, but one reader pointed out that I had failed to take her fully through the thought process of my two female characters in two crucial scenes. I agreed. Although their thoughts and feelings were complete in my head, I hadn’t put enough of them down on paper to satisfy the reader. So, I expanded a couple of Meredith’s scenes and have taken Renee through a bit more soul-searching and made her and Jalal test the waters a bit more before the ending. I haven’t changed much of their big climactic scene, but I’m experimenting with a short added scene of denouement. I feel good about these changes. And Ms. Perfect is quiet—smug—but quiet.

So, what can I say? I pulled the plug too soon, but I’ve refilled the sink and I’m scrubbing off that egg.

Next up: party at my place! 

Photo credit: TheGiantVermin