Nobody likes to make mistakes. For one thing, it’s pretty damned embarrassing, especially when it takes someone else to correct your mistake. But I tell you now that there’s nothing that’ll open your eyes quicker than a humiliating mistake — if you’re willing to learn from it.
It’s like the joke that Jeff Foxworthy tells: When he was a kid and stuck his finger in a light socket, his dad said, “Hurt like hell, didn’t it? Won’t do that again!”
Making writing mistakes hurts like hell too. And yeah, I won’t be making this mistake again.
So what’d I do?
Because of my lack of rules, boundaries, and limitations (see yesterday’s post), I didn’t make good choices from the beginning with the Maya story. Remember all my posts about Revision Xibalba? All that work? Wasted. Because I didn’t know what my genre was, and I didn’t stay within the lines.
To correct my mistake, I had to:
- delete two subplots that convoluted and detracted from the main romance line. Painful, because I loved these two stories. Clue: I loved them enough, I should have given them their OWN book!
- axe 25K
- kill over a dozen characters. Can you say too many characters?
- rewrite the ending
Was all that work worth a little jaunt on the wildside? In the end, I have to say yes, because it opened my eyes to the path I’d chosen. I had to make a choice about whether to keep going and ignore the mistake, or correct it. I chose to correct it, and I learned a lot from it too. I can’t tell you how much better this ms is now, but I’m much happier with it.
And the real sign that I’ve made the right choice? Before, I was blocked about what the next book would be in that series. I jotted a few ideas, but I really had nothing beyond a general “I need to do this” sort of feeling. As soon as I committed to the changes above, I immediately started getting excited about more things I could do — now that I had opened up the stable door and stepped inside.
So I guess I’m glad I made the mistake, but geez, I wish my head was a little less thick.
4 thoughts on “Making Mistakes”
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Yeah, but…the stuff you come up with when your head is thick is the stuff the rest of us WISH we could come up with at our regular level of skull density. *grin*
You’re just that cool, Sis.
I think having a thick head/skull comes with the submission process. Sadly, it does tend to carry over into the other aspects of writing life, too…
Come on, now, Sis, you know you’ve got some wicked cool ideas in that “normal” skull of yours too!
You’re right, Nicole. Sometimes it’s too late to figure out the mistake until after the submission, but hopefully the next one will be better!