When What You’ve Written… is CRAP!

Which was should I go here? Relax. Dan has the answer.
Which was should I go here?
Relax. Dan has the answer.

Recently we talked about writing better stories (HERE)

https://savvystories.wordpress.com/2015/06/07/writing-better-stories-part-1/?preview_id=784

But sometimes you just write crap! You read it, and it’s terrible. You’re one of those people now. “Yesterday, I wrote the same paragraph over and over until it was perfect. Today I looked at it and it was shit.”

What then?

I actually had that happen yesterday!

Friends of mine know I usually think everything I write is just awesome, even if it has typos. Which is often.

All week, I’ve been knocking out chapters of my story. Three, I think; maybe four if you go back to last Sunday. Maybe 10,000 words. And another 3200 last night. I was KILLING IT. I’m not bragging, I’m saying I was on a roll. The story was flowing, I had nothing but fun scenes ahead to write. It was funny (it’s a comedy), it was sexy (it’s a romantic comedy) and…

and…

and it SUCKED.

I read stuff from those chapters and I was like whaaaaat? This looks like an amateur wrote it.

A good amateur, but an amateur.

Oh, the pain.

A visual representation of my soul at that time.
A visual representation of my soul at that time.

Then I realized something. Some of my writer friends have made comments like “Your writing has really improved” on chapters I wrote not that long ago. They were referring to this story as compared to prior stories of mine they’d read. That I also thought were awesome. (See above, where I said I think everything I write is awesome.)

Know what that means?

It means that I had improved as a writer but also I had improved in my ability as a reader of my writing, too – so I could the problems I couldn’t see before. (Listen for applause from critique partners)

See me learn to write better dialog HERE

https://savvystories.wordpress.com/2015/05/05/how-to-write-good-dialog/

WOO HOO!!!
WOO HOO!!!

While I was unhappy about having the errors, I was happy I could SEE them – and potentially fix them. Or enlist help to fix them.

We discussed the benefits of a critique group HERE

https://savvystories.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/why-you-should-join-a-critique-group-you-arrogant-sob/

That’s huge! That put the spurs to the horse, and I banged out a few thousand more words.

Because I can edit words on a page; I can’t edit a blank page. I can go back and add jokes (which I love doing), tighten phrasings (that just feels good, like scratching an itch), work in beats and take out repetitious words. Cos I wrote them

That was such a happy realization, that my stuff was crap!

I’m improving as a writer. That’s never a bad thing.

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He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he?
He looks like he knows something, carrying that computer around, doesn’t he?

Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi” – yeah, we know. We’re trying to convince him to change that title – check out his other works here http://www.amazon.com/Dan-Alatorre/e/B00EUX7HEU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1425128559&sr=1-1 and check back often for interesting stuff.

7 thoughts on “When What You’ve Written… is CRAP!

  1. I know exactly what you mean… I write into the night. When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do is read over what I wrote the night before. Most times I decide it’s a good start or getting better, but sometimes I’m amazed at how awful it is! What was I thinking? Either way, I’m happy I at least have something I can work with.

    I started reading your work last fall, and I’ve noticed a huge improvement in your awesome writing over that time. It’s a lot tighter and smoother…and has fewer typos. (**Insert round of applause from crit partners who are happy to see their constant nagging, I mean helpful suggestions, were appreciated and taken to heart.)

    “Learning to read your writing better” is one of the great benefits of being in a critique group. After a while you start to hear your partners’ voices, pointing out the mistakes they normally see, as you read over your own work. I’ve learned so much from mine, and they’ve helped me to become a better writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “After a while you start to hear your partners’ voices,”

    It’s true. I wish I heard more of them. One is always ALWAYS pointing out where I used passive voice. ALWAYS. Me, I’m like, I don’t see it. Yet. Hopefully one day.

    Nine months ago I could’t see where beats should go or how to break up info dumps – or even that I needed to.

    Ten months ago I didn’t know what the hell beats were. (And, yes, I asked. And then I said point them out. And THEN I said give me an example so I know what the hell to change! They did. Cos my crit partners are awesome.)

    Each critique partner brings their own eyes and skill sets. While they can all spot a typo or a missing end quote, one is more sciencey, one is more romancey, one is more plot-technical, and one is just a regular guy. Another over-hyphenates in her stories and over-points-out-passive-voice in mine. SOMETIMES IT’S OKAY TO USE PASSIVE VOICE! But that one has a great sense of humor and is sharp as a tack, a great writer and a smart set of eyes to have looking at my stuff.

    They are each brilliant in their own way. Most could probably be editors if they wanted to, they’re that good.

    They warn me when things go too far, or don’t go far enough; they reel me in when I wander – which I tend to do. They each have their own unique thoughts as to how things play out, so it’s fun to see some get surprised and other say they saw it coming.

    I’m lucky to have such smart people helping me! They make me look good!

    Liked by 1 person

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