Writing is a journey.
When I was a new author, I knew a hell of a lot more than I do now. Back then I was probably egotistical enough to believe I was even a good writer. Beginning in 2011, my first couple publications and assorted dead end novels showed me exactly how little I knew.
My experience with The Wild Rose Press was hugely educational. I learned so much about good writing and also the editorial process. I can’t ever quantify it in a single blog post. Likewise, I met Michelle Devon about that time and she taught me an enormous amount about both writing and publishing. (And also something about amazing people.)
In 2014, I suffered a rather devastating setback with the first draft of Battle Cry. I went into a developmental edit thinking it was pretty good and just needed polishing.
I got my ass handed to me on a platter by Jennifer L. Carson.
(Thank you!!!! One of the best things that’s ever happened to me.)
Of Battle Cry’s original 60,000 words, 20k got cut and tossed, 20k got reworked. Another 40k got added. Somehow, it came out to 96k, and–in my opinion–it’s my best book to date.
Determined to learn from the lesson, I submerged myself in the study of story structure. I’ve read just about everything I can lay my hands on. Break downs of the three-act structure. Save the Cat. Writing from the Middle. It started to pay off when Blood Brothers’s plot finally came together and my vision for Viking Love Slave coalesced. I’m even going to edge out on a limb and even venture to say that I’ve grown as a writer.
Earlier this week, a friend said to me, “You pay a lot of attention to characterization and story structure but you miss opportunities to exploit emotional conflict. You’re not digging deep. Tension isn’t built up to its fullest.”
And I heard myself replying in a fairly desperate way, “Yes, but the underlying story structure was sound. Wasn’t it?”
I’m off now to find resources on techniques for cultivating conflict. Recs are welcome.
(Originally posted on Facebook. I’m copying/pasting it here because the thoughts are ones I’d like to preserve.)