Kay: Learning Experiences

I wrote here a couple weeks ago about my first three novels and how they’ve been languishing on my hard drive—and my recent efforts to finally bring them into the world. I did a few strong passes on the first one, tightened the language, sharpened the conflict (what little of it there is), and cut about twenty-five percent. Now it’s almost ready to launch.

I didn’t realize it at the time, of course, but writing these books was a learning experience. You’d think I’d get the hang of it quicker, but no. Well, you could make the argument that every book presents its own challenges, and I’d be happy to make that argument myself. But I still always feel that I should be finding my characters’ goals, motivations, and conflicts a lot sooner, not to mention figure out what they like for breakfast or where they go on vacation.

One thing I’ll never get good at is thinking up titles for my stories. When I wrote that post a few weeks ago, I was picking your collective brains for a new title. Thank you so much for your ideas! I did a variation of a suggestion from fellow Lady Elizabeth and settled on Ms. Matched. My brilliant cover designer, Patricia Simpson, came up with some delightful covers (so hard to choose!) and I expect that this one will be heading out into the world in a couple of weeks, after formatting is completed. I almost can’t believe that after all this time, it actually will happen.

Now I’m noodling around with the second book, seeing if there’s any possibilities there. I’ll keep you posted.

I’d been thinking that the learning experience of these three books was the actual writing: how to figure out a plot and character arc, how to place a turning point, and all that. How to get words on the page. But now I think part of the learning experience is knowing when something is good enough—and has held up well enough—to give it another shot.

What about you? Have you ever resurrected an old project and felt happy with the result?

5 thoughts on “Kay: Learning Experiences

  1. I know how you feel about what feels like an endless upward learning curve. Sometimes it feels like I just keep getting worse at writing instead of better.

    As far as resurrecting old manuscripts, I’ll have to get back with you on that. I have a drawerful and I’m planning to pull some of them out if I can ever extract myself from these last two demon books.

  2. The passage of time really does help a person see a manuscript more clearly. I’m sure when you get those demon books sorted, you’ll be able to go back and revisit the drawerful and get those ramped up. Also, you are not getting worse at writing instead of better! You are gaining more clarity into the process. 🙂

  3. Glad the title help worked out, Kay. I’m looking forward to reading the book once it is released into the wild. As for old projects, I have a few that I might just unearth and see if they have any hope of rescue. It’s been years since I wrote them; I’d like to think I’ve learned a bit since then.

    • What I enjoyed a lot about dusting off the old projects is that even though I groaned when I saw some things, I also was pleased with what I saw that I’d done well. It’s like, oh, look! Not so bad, after all. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Kay: Writing to a Standstill – Eight Ladies Writing

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