Saturday, April 23, 2011

Mistakes, I Made In an Old Book

Happy Easter Everyone,

Can you remember hunting for Easter eggs as a child? I do, and I remember it being sunny, but we're going to have rain. Smile. I hope you have a bright sunny day planned with family and friends whether it's raining or not.

Last week, I told you I would tell about the mistakes I made on a book I wrote eleven years ago set at the old TWA overhaul maintenance base and tell you why it never sold. There were so many things wrong with The Beast Within that I have had to rewrite most of the story so far, and I'm not finished. There are pieces I'm able to save, but not a lot. I'm only a fourth of the way finished with the first revisions.

I'm not going to tell you everything that is wrong with this story because they are far too numerous to mention. Besides, you only need to know the big mistakes I made.

Number one mistake I made was to put in way too much detail about the work being done at the overhaul base. Only people who work at an airline facility would have the faintest inkling of what I was talking about in that story. Most readers would be bored after just a few pages and toss the book in the trash. I'm removing everything that doesn't move the story and characters forward. Only what pertains to the story will remain.

Some of you may wonder why I made such a huge error. I did it because I knew too much about the inner workings of an airline maintenance base and not enough about writing a story. Not many people know about moc tags, planning, scheduling, mods, air directives, dampers and airline parts.

When I removed most of this kind of stuff my story was shortened a bunch. That tells you how much jargon about the maintenance was in there. Most of it was unnecessary. Smile.

Some other things wrong with this story is that my characters weren't very likeable because they didn't show enough emotion. I needed to get deeper into their thoughts so the reader understood the characters and empathized with them. Hopefully, I'll be able to fix these problems.

The transitions weren't smooth and I did some head hopping in points of view. This was something I knew and thought I had fixed before but that wasn't the case.

These are just a few of the problems that I need to fix. The book will need at least three revisions before I can start resubmitting it, and then there are no guarantees the story will go to contract. If it does go to contract, I'll have three more revisions.

Starting on Monday, I'm at the Tiki Hut blog from April 25th through May 1st - http://www.AuthorIslandTikiHut.blogspot.comif you would care to visit. I'm having a contest there and the prize is a $15.00 iTunes gift card.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend. See you next week.



Saranna DeWylde said...

I'm always amazed at myself when I go back and reread something I've written a long time ago. Sometimes I cringe. In fact, most times I cringe. But sometimes, I find myself pleasantly surprised.

Best of luck with your revisions. :)

Sandy said...

Thank you, Saranna. I did cringe over this one. lol The idea for the plot was good though.

Carol Ericson said...

Sandy, that's such a common newbie mistake - trying to show off our knowledge about something nobody else really cares about! Ah well, we learn from our mistakes.

Sandy said...

Thanks, Carol. I really wasn't a newbie by then, though. lol

Linda LaRoque said...

Isn't it amazing how much we've learned over the years. My first book read like a travel log. I loved the area so much I went on and on about the scenery. I'll look forward to this new one, Sandy. Best of luck with those edits.

Paris said...

Good topic, Sandy. I recently went back through an old Regency that I'd written and saw among other things a really long prologue and the first chapter beginning in the wrong POV. I was also trying to include too much information:)

Sandy said...

Thank you, Linda.

lol We do tend to go on and on about what we want everyone else to know regardless of whether they're interested or not.

Thanks, Paris. If it weren't for the people I writing this book for I would just let it go.

Celia Yeary said...

SANDY--isn't it amazing how time and maturity can teach us lessons! All I can say is--I admire you for tackling such a huge project. Me? I'd just write another story. I cannot restructure something already finished. Editing POV, technicalities, grammar, maybe adding more emotion...I can do. But what you're way. Good luck with your project!! Celia

Mike O'Hare said...

Haven't we all made those mistakes and still do. As for getting the reader to empathize with your characters, how about empathizing with the readers? Once you do this, you will always get it right.

Judith Leger said...

Very nice post, Sandy. And informative. Most new writers have wonder notions of what should or shouldn't be in the book. It's not until you test the waters and realize these things need to worked on. Thanks for sharing. Oh, and my first novel is still sitting in the drawer! :D

Sandy said...

Thank you, Celia, for the luck. I need it. It's a major undertaking.

Thank you, Mike. You're right that I should think of the readers.

Thanks, Judith. My first novel was thrown away a couple of years ago. lol