So first of all, before I forget, I just wanted to let everyone know that I’ve changed the way that the site lets people post comments. Before, you needed to have some sort of login information, or something, and it was blocking most everyone from making it work. This was bad, as you can imagine, so I went into the settings and messed around for a bit. Now, anyone should be able to leave a comment as long as they fill out the recaptcha (fancy word art to stop blog spammers), or whichever version blogger uses. This very well might open me up to a wave of spam bots, but I’ll deal with that when the times comes—until then, comment away.
The daily writing life of me, on the other hand, has been rather dull—just ticking away at Dreamstate II, for the most part. I just got back my copy of From Ash, with comments from an outside pair of eyes. I was going to have a solid look at it as soon as I finish up this post. I had the chance to read over the general gist of what could be changed, but I just haven’t looked over the technical yet. This does, however, lead very nicely into what I wanted to talk about today—other people looking at your work.
I think, in my very first post that I’d mentioned how important it was to share your work with others. I very well might have even brought it up more recently than that, I’m not sure, but the point still stands—if you’re writing, you must have other people that you can trust to give you honest feedback on your work. It was, for instance, pointed out to me that a town in my story had no real purpose for existing. It made sense, in the most abstract sense as far as a mechanism for driving the plot (maybe), but it was never explained why the people were there (next to the hellish radioactive wastes) when there were far safer places to live. When I was writing the book, I had a vague idea of why they were there, and just sort of hoped that it would come out through the words—it didn’t. There were a few more moments like this, and in my defense, I did write it in three days, but that excuse doesn’t really apply to why I didn’t catch it in my first rounds of edits.
Continuing on, when I edit my own work, I’ll catch some of the more technical mistakes, and possibly find some semi-awkward passages that I’ll either wipe out or redo. But, for the most part, I’m going to pass over the big plot holes and issues. There’s really nothing I can do about it, it happens to everyone. I believe, at that point, that I’m just too familiar with my story, and my mind can just fill in the holes automatically. It actually starts to become a problem, because it’s not that I miss the mistakes, it’s just that I don’t see them. Honestly, I took a few months off between writing and editing From Ash, and I missed these things until they were pointed out to me. As soon as they were, I had more than a few ‘Oh… yeah, that really makes no sense,’ or ‘Why would I say that and not follow it up?’ moments. I’ve written a few things now, and I’ve just come to expect this to happen when I show someone else my writing. When I first started, I would try to defend the holes, but really, the other people were just seeing things that I couldn’t; accepting that they’re there, fixing them, and moving on, is really the best policy.
I really hope that the few posts I’ve put up about things like this aren’t coming off as too preachy and ‘I know everything about writing’-y. It’s really just more about my experiences and the things that I’ve encountered over and over while going through the writing process. This is something that I literally hit with every single piece that I write, no matter how small. It’s much better to catch these things before they get out to the general public, because then they’ll demand refunds for the confusing work, and when you refuse, they’ll show up at your house with pitchforks and torches, ready to run you outta town. Stop the chaos before it gets out of hand.
Also, has anyone tried the gelato I mentioned last week? It’s crazy good.