I received the worst feedback a writer can receive this morning: a short story I’ve written is PREDICTABLE. I can deal with criticisms on grammar, or suggestions to restructure or rewrite part of a story, but being told something I’ve written is basically boring hurt.
When I receive critiques, I try and leave it a day minimum before returning to that story and addressing the comments. You can read my post on ‘The Stages of Receiving Feedback’ here.
Today I’ve instead turned my efforts towards writing a diary style blog post. I haven’t written a “Diary of an Aspiring Author” style post for a while. For me, they can feel a little self-indulgent. But in the spirit of producing at least one of these per year, here we go.
If you’re interested, here are some of my previous diary pieces:
2020 has been a strange year for many reasons. From an aspiring author side of things, I started the year feeling optimistic. I hoped to push forward with my novel again. Then coronavirus hit, and I struggled to do anything creative at all (see my post, “Is it OK to not be writing?”). This was followed by a flurry of short stories and some success, with one story being published and read on BBC Radio.
For a long time now, I’ve been dwelling over whether I should call it a day on my first novel, Lost in Galderwood. Despite some early interest from an agent, I’ve never managed to achieve what I hoped for it. Maybe it is time to give up and try something new.
However, there’s something keeping me holding on: I still really believe in the overarching plot. I know it has potential. Yet I wrote the novel back in 2017, and my writing has come a long way since then. And not just my writing abilities, my general knowledge of plot and experience of the writing world has improved too (lets ignore the short story with the predictable plot for now).
That’s why I’ve decided to give it one final try. I now realise when I attempted to rewrite Lost in Galderwood before in 2019, I was trying to hold onto too much of the original plot and writing. Stepping away and focusing on short stories this year has allowed me to understand that what I really need to do is start over with a blank page.
I’m going to keep the overarching plot, but change sub-plots, some characters, and some locations, and focus much more on character’s motives. I’ve hoping I’ll be able to make a good start on this before the end of the year.
I’ve still got the short stories I wrote during lockdown and will continue to submit these with the hope they can find good homes. And I will finish that final short story once I’ve figured out a way to make it less predictable! But I may be tucking myself into the slightly secluded world of novel writing for the next six months. It’s a scary but exciting place to be!