Reflections of an Unknown Writer: Lessons Learned

lessons learned

I’ve been writing. Sort of. Mostly I’ve been editing. I am excited in a nervous kind of way to be finally editing draft 3 of Elondria. I’ve decided to make some changes that I think will really make it stronger. The intention, originally, was to start querying agents this year. That didn’t happen. Time and college and then university happened. Also some strange power that seemed to suck the summer away. 

I’m fitting tiny bits of Elondria in when I can, which isn’t often. But I’m getting a longer Christmas break, and I’ll get a longer summer next year, so I’m hoping for some good quality writing/editing time. Which, again I’m hoping, will lead to a manuscript that I feel is ready to query with. It’s still very much my dream, even through all the depression and hopelessness, it’s always been my dream. I think it always will be. 

But back to this week. Or rather the last two weeks. Cos, I’m apparently still bad at posting. 

These last two weeks I’ve been working on two creative pieces for my writing module, both of which are due in next week. I’m terrified. Not gonna lie. I’m terrified that I’ll get a bad mark and my dreams will be crushed. I’m terrified that the thing that I want more than anything in the world will drift so far out of my reach that I’ll have no choice but to give up. 

Lessons Learned

I have learned some good lessons though. And had some interesting questions put to me. I’ve learned that there’s a difference between a series of events and a story. A story needs to connect, it needs the reader to care. Anyone can put a series of events together, it takes something else to create a story. Then there’s a good story…and I’m not even going to go in to that right now. 

I’ve also learned that I have a “writer-brain” and that’s something I can’t easily define. it’s a part of my mind that turns on and I see story, I connect with story. There are images, there are feelings, there’s something I want to say – something important. The first piece of sequential art I wrote, my “writer-brain” wasn’t turned on. I wasn’t thinking deep enough. 

I’ve also learned the value of a critical eye on my work. I’ve had this lesson twice this year. Being published in the Crux Crew Anthology (full post in this coming soon!) gave me my first experience of an outside editor – namely the wonderfully talented Rachael Ritchey. The second time was when my tutor looked at my work, and gave me feedback. Both experiences really highlighted how much I can’t see about my own work. 

I am also learning to think about the function of paragraphs, of words, of sections of my stories. Every single paragraph, especially in a short piece of fiction, every single word even, has to serve a critical function in the story. I’ve not needed to be this critical about my own work before. It’s an interesting challenge. 


Lastly, the questions I’ve been asked, and need to ask myself. What makes me want to write? Not write? What blocks me? How can I be as critical as possible about my own work? Is it possible to  create more distance between me and my work so that I can make it better? How can I become the best I can possibly be?

I don’t have any answers right now. But I’m working on it. 

~ Viki

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