Monday, April 11, 2016

Lessons Learned—Open Book Blog Hop

This week we're talking about things we've learned since writing our first book. I've learned a lot, but two things immediately come to mind that I'd like to share.

The one that surprised me the most was the wide range of reactions from the on-line critique group I use. What one person loved, someone else thought needed changed or deleted. The  description I worked so hard to create? Someone would think it needed shortened and another wanted it expanded. The unique turn of phrase that came to me at midnight? There'd be at least one person who didn't understand it. At all.

Which meant I had to learn to trust myself. Did I think the description needed fixed? Then I'd fix it. If I thought it was perfect as it stood, I wouldn't touch it. It was my story and my writing: voice, The old line that says "you can't please everyone?" Writing is like that. No matter how hard you try, someone is going to find a flaw. It takes a certain skill to learn to ignore them.

Of course, the flip side of that is that I had to know when to listen. What seems obvious to me as the writer, is not always obvious to the reader. I've learned that I have to be open to suggestions if I want to improve my writing.

The next lesson I learned was that no matter how many eyes have reviewed a piece, no matter how many programs you've run it through, no matter how many times you've looked it over, you're going to miss something. Maybe a quotation mark at the end of a sentence, or a comma added where you don't need one. Or you forget a "the" in a sentence. Then there's always the dreaded "its" versus "it's." Easy mistakes to make and hard to catch, no matter how good your editor is.

One way I use to help find those missing words or words I've repeated to closely together is to listen to my book. I load the document on one of my devices that will read it to me. It's not like listening to an audio boo, the voice reading it is monotone and expressionless. Which is perfect for catching mistakes that I've missed previously. So while my newer books are still not perfect, but there are fewer errors

I'm eager to see what some of the other authors have learned. You can to, by clicking on the links at the bottom of the page. And if there are any lessons that you've learned and would like to share, please leave a comment!

Just for fun- the first person who finds an error in this post (sentence fragments don't count) and leaves it in the comments will receive a hot-off-the-presses Oak Grove postcard.

April 11, 2016 - Lessons Learned. If you have written a novel, you have done what millions aspire to but few ever accomplish. What have you learned along the way—about writing, about publishing, about marketing—about yourself. Tell us so we don’t have to learn the hard way.
1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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  1. Yes, you definitely can't please all the people all the time. I've found that one out!

  2. You are so right on the "You can't please everyone" phrase. Goodness gracious, isn't that the truth?

  3. Great post P.J. You've shared some great learning experiences. Thanks for sharing.