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.