I've gotten my first feedback from my editor. First and foremost, the story is good and I'm incredibly encouraged by the feedback. There's nothing that can't be fixed and, in fact, the solutions are rather elegant and are going to take the story up a notch. Now that we have that out of the way:
Holy plot holes, Batman!
There's work to be done, things I'd never considered, or places where my logic was flawed. I've written a fairly complex story with a lot of twists and turns, the problem with that is tripping over yourself.
Mark's lessons learned:
1. Write the thing. Anything can be fixed, but only if it's finished. Butt in chair. Save the editing. The first draft always sucks. There's always time to flesh out ideas, add, remove and edit later.
2. Make sure your characters have clear motivations and objectives. All the major players need something to do and it isn't always good that they're on the same page as the protagonist. Conflict is drama, conflict leads to growth. Characters shouldn't be the same people they were at the beginning of the story.
3. My stories always start when my protagonist's life is about to change. Backstory is good, but backstory can bog everything down. Make it part of the dialog, uncover nuggets as the characters move through the world. It's a whole lot more fun for the reader to discover rather than be told.
4. Show don't tell.
5. There are flaws. I was lucky to find someone who can objectively look at the story and ask questions, explore motives, dig in the dark places. Actually, I was lucky twice. One friend and editor gave me really good in process shakedown that helped propel me forward and my current editor went down the rabbit hole with me and tore it apart. Now, I'm ready to get going and finish the final draft. Writing groups can be extremely helpful, but find the right one that focuses on give and take. There should be equal time spent on everyone's writing.
6. Every mistake is an opportunity to learn.
7. Don't be afraid of the dark. Everyone has a dark side and those place can be pretty interesting. Sometimes exploring the dark part of one's soul can help exercise the demons that everyone picks up along the way in life. Life is messy and head space often is too.
8. Flaws are delicious.
9. Using the word delicious is creepy.
10. Read, read and read. Definitely read in the genre, but also read outside the genre. Biographies are treasure, history and science are incredibly helpful. Romance, because who doesn't like a little romance in a story? Read classics, they're classics for a reason.
11. Waiting really sucks, so don't. Start the next thing.
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