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Learning from my mistakes : General Questions & Discussions • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

Learning from my mistakes

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Oldtimer
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Learning from my mistakes

Postby Oldtimer » Fri Oct 25, 2013 5:52 am

I have emerged, crushed and bruised, from the 2013 Writers Digest Self-Published Awards competition, but determined to do better next year.

I made a lot of mistakes and I thought it would help other would-be self-pubbers if I list the basic ones.

1. The author's name should not be put under the heading of the first chapter.
2. Title page, Acknowledgments, and all chapter front pages start on the right-hand side.
3. I'm quoting this criticism: "Be sure to give each character in a scene their own action. Paragraphs change between characters when the action changes. One example, p.126. Dick stiffened and Bill said ... The proper format would give Dick his own paragraph, even though the action is only two words.
4. Study the proper usage of dashes, em dashes and ellipses.
5. Avoid long, run-on sentences and passive writing.

The judge advised me to "cut ruthlessly to reveal the diamond of the story." Is he/she saying that there is a diamond of a story in there? I'm not sure how to react to that advice. The only crumb of comfort I found in the whole commentary was "This author writes very nice descriptive imagery. The reader can visualize the scene."

Other comments leave me bewildered. For example: "The story is there, between the covers ..."" Duh!

And the final comment, which is: "It'll be fun to see this author develop." Fun? I'd be happy with 'interesting', or better still, something along the lines of "this author shows promise".

I can't escape the fact that I still have a lot to learn.
Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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Elibet1
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Re: Learning from my mistakes

Postby Elibet1 » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:13 am

(((hugs))) I've read your work Dorothy and you can write. You do have an awesome imagination and the skills to bring fantastic worlds and characters to life. I'm sure Stephen King and many other successful writers have had similar responses to their work before they struck gold. Don't feel down, you got into the fray, and gave it your best shot. I say, well done you!

Lessons learned through life experience are lessons not soon forgotten. Thank you for sharing some of your's here. I know I've learned some valuable tips from them.

(((Love and hugs))) Elizabeth :D

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updog
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Re: Learning from my mistakes

Postby updog » Fri Oct 25, 2013 7:33 am

I agree with Elibet, Oldtimer. You've got tons of talent and a wonderful imagination. Sometimes it's just a matter of taste and what's popular right now. But don't let the comments get you down. We all have room for improvement. Even the people who write the bestsellers have trouble pleasing everyone. Don't believe me? Find your favorite books on Amazon, and read the one and two star reviews. ;)
"Is it weird in here, or is it just me?" ~ Steven Wright



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AibreanShowers
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Re: Learning from my mistakes

Postby AibreanShowers » Fri Oct 25, 2013 9:23 am

I think you are courageous for trying, even more so for sharing your mistakes. I'm sure many will appreciate the advice given through them. I hope you never put down your pen, and turn critique into success.

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Re: Learning from my mistakes

Postby Oldtimer » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:06 am

Thank you, Elibet, updog and Aibrean. I really appreciate your encouragement. Welcome to the forum, Aibrean.

Only three more days' holiday left, then I'll be flying home to SC and my laptop. This notebook has been worth its weight in gold, but I do miss the big screen at home. And the old folks. See you soon. :D
Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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AibreanShowers
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Re: Learning from my mistakes

Postby AibreanShowers » Fri Oct 25, 2013 11:42 am

Thanks for the welcome, Oldtimer (Dorothy)

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stray dog
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Re: Learning from my mistakes

Postby stray dog » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:12 pm

Some comments are only about technical mistakes... so it should be easy to follow the advice next time...
Good luck!

iks-91
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Re: Learning from my mistakes

Postby iks-91 » Mon Nov 10, 2014 8:02 am

Hi! Thank you for sharing your experience! I think I should rather consider your tips, guys ;)

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Re: Learning from my mistakes

Postby Oldtimer » Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:09 pm

The judge's comments for this year were much more favorable. I submitted Brotherly Love. You would be proud of me, pls, for (out of a scale of 1 - meaning needs improvement - and 5 - which is outstanding) I gained a 5 for spelling, punctuation and grammar. I was given a 4 for voice and writing style. Everything else was a 3.

The first part of the Commentary cheered me up immensely. Here it is, and I cite "Judge, 22nd Annual Writer's Digest Self-published Book Awards":

"The writing is rich with this author’s passion for understanding the ways of the heart and with her compassion, especially in the area of obsession and love. The author paints a vivid portrait of Crystal as a protagonist, and the adventure is an exciting one with her compelling search. There is a cinematic feel to the writing and this is meant to be highly complimentary; this is a novel that would make a fine commercial movie with wide appeal. The plot’s resolution inspires with Crystal’s courage and personal growth. The cast of characters encountered, individually and collectively, especially Chris, is certainly strong enough to carry the narrative, which prompts the reader’s interest in wanting to know what will happen next."

The rest of the Commentary gives me useful advice on additional character and peripheral description during dialogue which I shall take to heart when submitting another story next year.
Read samples of my Martian series (by Dorothy Piper) and two romances (by Joni Havel) on Smashwords.
Hard copies of all are on Amazon.

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pls
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Re: Learning from my mistakes

Postby pls » Mon Nov 10, 2014 6:19 pm

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