Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Back to the Beginning

Lately I've been thinking about my writing, particularly its growth or lack of. I pulled out a couple of my early manuscripts...oh, my. It's funny how when I started writing I thought I was really good. NOT! I can't believe all of the 'writing crimes' I committed.

I started with picture books. I wrotes stories that really were only interesting to adults. They had an adult voice. And the worst was that they went on and on and on. The word counts were rediculous. It didn't take too long before I realized that picture books were not my forte.

Then I wrote a chapter book. It was better than the PB but not by much. I had animal characters that talked like wooden statues and the storyline left something to be desired. So I moved on to Middle Grade.

I had greater success there. By now I was actually reading books on writing and read through some MG. The storyline was age appropriate and could possibly interest my target group. But...and there really is a but, the execution was horrendous. Then I made a wonderful move, I joined a critique group.

I can't tell you the improvement in my work, though it didn't happen overnight. What I learned was that I have a decent voice for MG, but when I tried my had at Young Adult, I found myself.

Here are the things that I learned I am pretty good at and still perfecting. My voice for YA works. My imagination is perfect for science fiction. No surprise there since that's what I love to read. The surprise was that I found that I'm really good at writing action sequences!

I shouldn't have been surprised about that since I love books and movies that are fairly fast-paced. I prefer a lifestyle with exciting things happening in it. And I married a man who plays football and is a firefighter by profession. That right there should have told me something.

Then I discovered conferences and workshops. What a find! There is so much to learn and it's all right there waiting for me. I even found the courage to submit to the critiques. The feedback is invaluable! I've even had a few of the top editors enjoy my writing.

Now I'm closer than ever to reaching my goal. And what is that? My goal is beyond publication. What I am striving for is to become such a good writer that when one of my readers sets my book down, they are  shocked at being some place other than the scene they just read. That is my goal and I plan to get there!

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