Monday, July 20, 2015

My Epic Writing Fail and What Came of It

by Alycia W. Morales
@AlyciaMorales

For the past two years, I worked on a novel. I loved the process, my characters, the storyline - all of it. And several others said they enjoyed it too. Including the editor that I hired. And my agent's reader. You know, not just my family members and friends. No, I had good readers.

So when it wasn't selling to a publishing house, I asked a fellow writer, mentor, and friend (all wrapped up into one) to read it.

And she liked some things about it.

And hated some things.

She's the first person who gave me honest feedback and said it sucked for a couple of reasons:

1. I dropped the ball. I promised my reader a suspense story and then neglected to fulfill that promise.

2. Although several of my characters were loveable and their stories were great, one fell completely flat (which I kind of already knew - she just eluded me - I couldn't pin her down) and another wasn't as believable as he could have been.

 She wanted to throw the book across the room a couple of times (though she couldn't, because it was a file on her Mac).

For a year, I worked on fixing the errors. And for a year, I came up against wall after wall after wall.

After realizing what a headache I was causing myself and how much time I was wasting, I decided to shelf that novel.

And here's what happened:

God showed me a clear vision of what my writing should be. Who my audience should be. And why I want to write for Him.

I started two more novels, but I recognized that I was uncomfortable writing for one audience and the themes were too mature for the second audience. On the third try, I think I hit gold. The story is flowing naturally, with no discomfort at that age level.

I ... am a YA writer. My audience is teens (and hopefully their mothers). The purpose of my writing is to reveal the lies and schemes of our enemy and to provide some hope that we can overcome him, no matter what our age. I want to reveal God's glory without shouting, "Hey! This is a Christian novel!" I want to provide teens with entertaining reading material that speaks to their generation and the issues they are facing.

And all it took was struggling to write something I wasn't meant to write (and learning more about the writing craft and the process at the same time) and heeding that still small voice of God when He said it was time to put it down.

PS - My seventeen-year-old niece recently previewed my first six-and-a-half chapters. And then asked where the rest was...

What is your writing goal? Is what you're working on right now moving you toward that goal, or should you maybe lay that down and discover what God has called you to?

Tweetables:

My Epic Writing Fail and What Came of It via @AlyciaMorales {Click to Tweet}

Even editors are prone to struggling with their writing. via @AlyciaMorales {Click to Tweet}

Are you writing what you should be writing? {Click to Tweet}

12 comments:

  1. I've been there! My first novel is languishing in a file on my computer right now. It was a great experience and I still love the story, but it also showed me who I WASN'T as a writer. Great thoughts!

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    1. Thank you, Edie! You make another great point: it's okay to still love your first stories, even if they aren't publishing worthy. Just be sure to love the lessons learned even greater. They're what help you grow as a writer.

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  2. Writing is such a learning process, isn't it? Thanks for the insight into your journey to YA.

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    1. Yes, it certainly is, Sandy! I'm so thankful God has given me a love of learning. It makes the process so much more enjoyable.

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  3. Yes, as I'm finally starting on this book-of-my-heart, I admit that I keep second guessing myself. Can I really do this? Am I wasting my time? But I know that doing what I'm called to do--write it down and make it as well-written as possible--is my responsibility...whether it's ever published or not. Thanks for the reminder, Alycia!

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    1. I think books of our heart are some of the most important books God will ever have us write, Vonda. Whether they're meant for publishing or not. They're usually the ones that bring us (and possibly others) deep healing. I would encourage you to keep writing until God says it's finished.

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  4. Thank the Lord for the people who tell you the truth.

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  5. That may be the trouble I'm having now. I'm praying for clarity, not knowing if this is my struggle or if it's just my health challenge. Thank you for listening to the Lord, and passing it on.

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    1. Lord, I ask that You would bring clarity to Bruce's writing and health to his body. Amen.

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  6. I wanted to be a writer of ghost stories....God told me to write contemporary women's fiction...what're you gonna do?

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    1. LOL. That's quite a difference in genre. ;)

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