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Weekly Quote #23

“A first-time encounter with your own work is not dissimilar to watching yourself on TV or hearing your recorded voice for the first time – Do I really sound like that? Oh no, I never knew I looked like that. You might well be embarrassed or disappointed. Don’t stop. This is a rite of passage.” (from ‘The Creative Writing Coursebook’ by Julia Bell and Andrew Motion)

When I started editing my first draft I cut the entire prologue and the entire first chapter. While the prologue wasn’t that bad it didn’t really fit, but the first chapter really was that bad. The writing was awful, the first sentence (or whole paragraph, really) couldn’t have been more boring and the end of the first chapter didn’t even make me want to continue, and I wrote the thing! If I’m bored by my own writing, how can I expect you guys to enjoy it?

Fortunately, this is normal. I wrote the beginning a while ago and my writing has improved since then –  it only makes sense for me to spot all those little things which are wrong with it now, when they seemed like great ideas at the time.

And don’t even get me started on my first unpublished, burnt-to-ashes ‘novel’ (I’m emberrassed to even call it that). The whole thing was awful, and remembering that I once sent this piece of crap to agents I want to write to them again, just to apologise for my ignorance. Honestly, those guys have better things to do.

But, as I said – and as The Creative Writing Coursebook states – this is normal. If this describes you perfectly chin up, you’re not the only one!

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2 Comments

  1. I haven’t started editing but I’m eager to get to this point with my own.

  2. Yes, I’ve been through exactly what you’re going through. Writing is a learning process. If I showed you the first draft of my novel and then showed you the (currently) ninth revision of it, you’d think they were written by two different people. Fortunately, the person who wrote the ninth revision knows a bit more about what the heck he’s doing. I’m sure it’s the same with you.

    Also, the nice thing about going through this learning process now is that later, when you’re writing your next novel, it’ll be much more of a smooth ride. My second novel, in just its first draft, is so much better than I previously would’ve thought.

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