- Readers--my talented agent and beta readers had caught plot holes and character inconsistencies. They'd questioned the time line and reminded me when an issue became repetitive. Sending our manuscripts to other readers is terrifying (or is that just me?), but it's a must.
- Lessons learned--with each pass, I recognized things I hadn't known about before. We're constantly improving as writers, and as we read and learn and read and learn, we're able to spot nasty little problems and apply those new lessons.
- "Once upon a time" to "The End"--after the revision, I read the story from beginning to end and became excited again. The disjointed parts were in context, and it flowed well. It was no longer TWTEW, it was actually pretty darn...dare I say it...good.
We've all learned that our original drafts are bad, but probably not as bad as we thought. And as we revise and revise and revise, our manuscripts are no longer The Worst Things Ever Written.
Do you ever feel like you've written TWTEW? (you haven't!) How do you remind yourself that it's not?
I always feel that whatever I'm working on is the worst thing ever. I remind myself that I feel that way every time, and that helps a little.ReplyDelete
Oh yes. This rings a familiar bell. I really thought the draft I sent of my now published memoir was much better than it turned out to be! When I got the first feedback, I felt like it was The Worst Thing Ever Written. But you keep revising and revising, as you say, and it DOES get better.ReplyDelete
Ann Best, Author of In the Mirror & Other Memoirs
I've never felt it was the worst thing ever - I just worry will it be better than the previous one?ReplyDelete
After my third draft I thought it sucked and had lost my enthusiasm, but in getting the feedback from it from Betas it's helped me get re-excited.... :)ReplyDelete
There are times when I've thought I taught the worst yoga class ever taught, and students come up to me afterward and tell me how great it was! I never think my work is TWTEW, but I often think that it may possibly suck. I've learned it always improves with the next whack at it, so I don't worry so much about it sucking when it spits out the first time.ReplyDelete
I love when we realize that our manuscripts are not TWTEW. It makes you feel that it's all worth it. I'm thrilled for you!ReplyDelete
All I can say is I agree...as we revise, revise, revise, our manuscripts are no longer TWTEW.
Ok, so maybe "worst thing ever written" is a bit dramatic. But it sure does feel that way sometimes! Thanks guys!ReplyDelete
I have written things that were too bad to revise! They'd just have to be re-written from scratch. One of them I hope to start rewriting by the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013.ReplyDelete
I *usually* go through my books an awful lot before I make my cp's read them. But the other week I sent out a first draft-- and not just any first draft, but a Nano first draft. I was pretty sure, when my friend sent her feedback, that I'd written the worst thing ever. I'm working on another project right now and letting that one simmer in its awfulness ... but I'm slowly getting excited to jump back into it and make it better. I love the characters, so even though the whole plot needs a revamp, I don't feel hopeless about it. :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for another great post, Julie. One of my manuscripts was a labor of love, but received some mixed reviews. I moved on to another WIP. Recently, I read it again and realized it may only need a bit of revising to live another day. Time away from a manuscript seems to work wonders on our perspective.ReplyDelete
ALL of this!!! And it is nerve-wracking sending out a story to beta readers, but it's wonderful. Having my hubby and friends read what I've written and help me smooth out plot holes and inconsistencies is the best thing ever. Coming back with fresh eyes after a little time away from the manuscript is a good thing, too.ReplyDelete
So true! I was just chatting with a friend about how low down on that learning ladder we feel, but at lest we're a couple of rungs up from where we were! :)ReplyDelete
well, yes...but I like justifying it with a quote from Maya Angelou~when we know better, we do better! and aren't we all just trying to do better?ReplyDelete
Yes! And all my stories would be the worst ever if it wasn't for my incredible beta readers and crit partners!ReplyDelete
Great post!! And I completely agree with how important it is to get others (preferably not family or best friends. haha) to read your work & offer up honest critique!ReplyDelete
I did write the worst thing ever written, once, but it was part of a blogfest where you had to rewrite an excerpt from your prose to be as purple as you possibly could. It was fun :)
No really, I'm pretty sure I did do that. I figure I can save it and use it to blind someone if they break in my house. :P Julie, your stuff is awesome to start with, and only gets better!!!ReplyDelete
At some point along the way, I think everything I write is TWTEW. But somehow (with plenty of revision and beta's as you stated), I manage to pull it from the dung heap and get it smelling pretty sweet. Some days it seems easy, other days it's a miracle anything happens. But I keep trying.ReplyDelete
I'll have days when I hate everything I've ever written. Those are the days I keep my hands off until I get the wrench and adjust my "tude."ReplyDelete
Sometimes I feel like this, yeah. I try and remind myself though that it's a first draft and it hasn't gone through the necessary revisions to make it all that it will be. Great blog, Julie!!ReplyDelete
Feeling my work was TWTEW was what used to make me stop writing. Now, I push through, get words on paper, go back and read, and realize that there are good bits to work off of. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who gets down about my work. Thanks, Julie!ReplyDelete
I've definitely felt like that. Thank goodness for our betas and critique partners! It can be tough to judge our own work when we've read it dozens and dozens of times.ReplyDelete
Gawd yes I've gone through this!ReplyDelete
And I have learned to trust my instincts, and to go though my manuscript multiple times, even before I send it to my beta reader(s)--I usually have two early readers--to make sure it's how I want it. Then, after the readers read, I go through it multiple times again, and in different formats: on my computer, print out on paper, and uploaded to my kindle.
If I am never sick of reading it (well, at least until the last couple of times a little *laugh*) then I know I've engaged. If I am bored, then I know I best start working on it again!
I think the scariest part is when it's not your first draft that has issues. Sometimes I spend so much time with a manuscript without giving myself a break from it, that after reading it a half dozen times and working out kinks, I think it's solid, a reader or two will tell me it's solid, and then I'll send it to someone else and realize it still has a ton of issues that need working out. Yes, in the end, it all turns out for the better, but there's always that part that says "if you've already done x,y, and z to this and it's STILL not where you want it to be, what's to say you won't feel the same way after doing a, b, and c to it now?"ReplyDelete
Thanks for the boost. :-)
<3 Gina Blechman
I almost gave up on a manuscript over the summer, but my beta readers and critique group pointed out the good qualities of the novel and the areas that needed to be fixed. I stuck to it and turned this manuscript around. It just needed more time to stew.ReplyDelete
Have a great week.
I constantly think this. I find that leaving it alone for a while and then reading it through again helps. Then, only bits of it are the worst thing ever :-)ReplyDelete
I always feel like I wrote TWTEW. Hence the importance of beta readers and kind editors. I tend to be self-destructive with my stuff.ReplyDelete
Hahaha, yes I often feel like I wrote TWTEW. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels this way! And there's a ray of hope that perhaps I haven't actually written the worst thing ever. Fingers crossed! :)ReplyDelete
Oh, I've definitely written TWTEW, but it's been revised so much, it's no longer TWTEW!ReplyDelete
Absolutely! Sometimes I have to wait for a new day and fresh perspective--I just make it a rule not to trust myself when I judge something truly terrible. It's usually not the case.ReplyDelete
oh, Julie! Aren't those first round of revisions the hardest? But I could never believe you'd write TWTEW. No way. ;pReplyDelete
As nervewracking it can be to send work to my critique partners, I love when I do. Sometimes I'll think that a scene or chapter I've written is the Worst Thing Ever, and they'll either help me fix it, or most times, tell me it isn't too bad after all!ReplyDelete
Banned complain !! Complaining only causes life and mind become more severe. Enjoy the rhythm of the problems faced. No matter ga life, not a problem not learn, so enjoy it :)ReplyDelete
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