Happy Tuesday, folks, Doris here, and I know what you’re thinking. Who is she calling clueless? Well, me, for starters….
Gather close, my dears, let me explain. Once upon a time behind a keyboard not too far from here, there sat a very enthusiastic, not so young writer, who had this fantastic story idea!!!!!!
She did LOTS of THESE in her writing!!!!!!!!!!!!!
LOTS and even LOTS and even more of ‘these’.
Let’s not forget, arms, hands, legs, heads that went off a tangent, acted independently from the body they attached to, and the heads that LITERALLY exploded.
*sniggers some more*
One of my editors kindly pointed out that exploding heads are very messy, and it would be physically impossible to pick one’s eyes off the floor.
Oh yes, all classic newbie mistakes.
So, what got me on this today, I hear you ask? Well, it was yesterday’s excellent post from Ravenna on POV.
It made me think back to that clueless writer, who wrote her first chapter in a day and send it off to a writing competition, quite convinced she had the next bestseller on her hands.
Yeah, don’t do that. Seriously, don’t. Especially when that first chapter was riddled with POV hops, and exclamation marks and comma vomit. I still have an issue with the dreaded comma but I learned a few things over the last six years of bashing out words on the keyboard. A first draft is just that, a draft, never to see the light of day, until you have extensively edited it yourself, had your beta reader/s check it over, and then edited it again.
Only then should you send that ms off for submission.
I digress, however, as per usual.
When I read Ravenna’s post it made me smile, because one of the first feedback I received was from the lovely Sally Quilford on my POV. She was very encouraging, said my first chapter showed lots of promise, but I needed to work on that POV.
I literally sat there and scratched my head a lot, because I had no clue what she was going on about and I didn’t want to ask and show exactly how clueless I was.
A girl’s got some pride, right?
Well, yes and no. Pride comes before a fall and all that. I should have just asked and saved myself a headache trying to figure it out.
I did, of course, eventually figure it out, together with such strange things as dangling modifiers, independently acting body parts, propositions, wrong verbs, comma splices, showing vs telling, to name but a few mysteries of writing, as it were.
Now, I could blame my clueless state on the fact that I’m German, and English is actually my third language if you like, though I’m not sure that the Latin we were forced to learn on entering higher school in Germany can strictly be called a language.
I also learned French, and Italian for a bit, but it’s really only the English that stuck with me.
Also, by the time I started writing stories, I’d lived in the Uk for 24 years, and could hardly speak my mother tongue anymore, so that excuse doesn’t really wash.
No, the simple truth is that I was and to a large extent still am clueless.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I do know my grammar. I have an English and German ‘A’Level and passed my ‘Abitur’ with flying colours back in Germany, just don’t ask me to name that grammar.
Verbs, propositions, etc, it’s all double dutch to me. I’ve never been good at the theoretical side of things. I can swat up and learn for an exam, that’s easy. You simply memorize and repeat parrot fashion, but I do not retain that information.
Nope, I learn, retain, and act on actually doing things.
Be that writing, cooking, learning how to drive… you get the idea.
I’m sure I mentioned before that I’ve never read a how to write book in my life. There is, for me, at least, no point. It would go in one ear and out of the other, with clueless me going, huh(?) a lot!
Write a story, see my beta reader comments, and eventually the editor’s suggestion, and all becomes clear, however.
Duh, that’s what they mean, you numpty.
So, while I find my fellow quillers who can name the various parts that make up a sentence very informative, and I can see what they are saying, I couldn’t actually put that into practice.
Likewise with things like story arches, black moments, resolutions etc.
I do all those things, I know I do, but name them….
So, like I stated above this is really just a post for all the other clueless folks out there. Don’t get bogged down by the details. It’s okay to learn as you type, as long as you do learn.
Nothing annoys me faster than a seasoned writer, who’s ms you look over and you see the same damn mistakes time and time again.
Not on, folks. Being clueless is not an excuse not to learn and better yourself.
That’s all from me today, you’ll be pleased to hear.
Do stay naughty, folks.