Monday, May 7, 2012

Dust it Off Bloghop: What I Learned

Elizabeth and the Fairies was the first novel I ever wrote. Before that I wrote some (really bad) picture books. I learned a lot from writing it. Not the least of which was to always have your work backed up! (I am so computer stupid, my kind brother bought me a flash drive and taught me how to use it.)

But I learned a lot about writing, too. The biggest thing I learned from writing this story was about developing characters. I love my main two fairies in this novel. However, Elizabeth, my MC, is totally boring.

I think part of why this happened is because I felt I had more freedom with the fairies. They aren't real, so I could make them however I wanted. Ten-year-old girls are real, and I wanted Elizabeth to be realistic. Because of this I ended up asking myself "how would a ten-year-old girl react to this?" It was, of course, the wrong question.

I should have been asking, "how would this ten-year-old girl react? What would Elizabeth do, think, etc?"


When I wrote Elizabeth and the Fairies, I didn't know what the problem with it was exactly, or how to fix it. Thankfully, I was able to recognize that there was a problem, even if I didn't know what it was. So I never sent it out anywhere.

I've learned a lot in the last few years. I've been to conferences, read books on writing, read blogs written by people who know a lot more than I do. :)

I still like the story, and some day I hope to go back and find a way to fix it. Heck, if I wait another three years my own Elizabeth will be a ten-year-old girl and I could base it on her. ;) She has loads of personality!

So, thank you again Theresa and Cortney! This was a great blog hop!

23 comments:

  1. Character development is definitely a good thing to learn, and I'm pleased you got something out of your shelved MS! :D

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  2. Rachel-You remind me of myself here, because my brother is my tech support. I know nothing of computers and bumble my way blindly through my blog. I also lost EVERYTHING in my computer a couple of years ago when my house got hit by lightening. (true story)

    I hope one day you take the time to go back and make this story work. :)

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    1. You're kidding! Wow. That's awful. I hope you were able to recover what you lost some how.

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  3. This made me laugh, because it's so similar to what I went through! And I love that you mentioned backing up your work--so true, and so tragic if you don't. Sounds like you learned a lot. I really hope you go back to this story someday! And thank you so much for participating!! It was fun getting to know you better and Elizabeth and the Fairies.

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    1. Thanks! And thanks for hosting this. It really was a great blog hop. It's been amazing hearing about everyone's progress, and learning new things!

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  4. Yup, I learned about character development and GMC after writing my first manuscript, which is the one I chose for this blog hop.
    Glad you're considering reworking on it ;)

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  5. Learning about character development and uniqueness is key in becoming a more mature, professional writer. A lot of my characters, in my early days with them, sounded more like two-dimensional people reciting lines and doing things, instead of emerging as their own unique personalities.

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  6. I totally had the same problem. But they say you learn from your mistakes... oh, and I like your picture too - 'Elizabeth' looks very mischevious :)

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    1. Thanks. :) (That's my daughter, Elizabeth.) :)

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  7. It's good to have a baseline we can grow from. And we can always go back to it. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. The boring MC thing happens to so many people. My rule of thumb now is that if something loses my attention it goes because if I can't hold my own attention how can I expect to hold anyone elses! :)

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  9. Character development is hard too. Sometimes I believe a character to be a certain way, but she/he comes off differently to someone else. That's why betas are so beneficial.

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  10. Oh I like your better question "How would *this* ten year old react?" That's something I'm always having to evaluate, so I think it's a fantastic thing to have learned early.

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  11. My MC can sometimes be boring too. I have to go out of my way to make sure they aren't.

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  12. Thanks everyone. :) It's nice to know I'm not the only one who's had this problem! It's a lesson learned. Now hopefully I'll learn some more. ;)

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  13. Characterization is difficult to pin down even with experienced writers because every character is different. This bloghop has been loads of fun! :)

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  14. The thing with writing is you're always learning - it doesn't stop. Learning when something isn't working is a fantastic lesson to learn early on - knowing how to fix it is the next. Good luck with it.

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  15. Great advice on giving yourself the freedom to explore your MCs personality. I heard that lesson at my local writing studio a few years ago, and it's always stuck with me.

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  16. "It was, of course, the wrong question. I should have been asking, how would this ten-year-old girl react?" This is great advice. Something that took me a few MS's to figure out. If we only knew then what we know now. I still can't believe you lost most of this. I would have cried. Though I now not only backup my work on a flash drive but I also email it to myself and put it in a saved mail folder. A flash drive is so small I'm so scared it may break or I will lose it.

    I fell in love with your pitch and excerpt and hope you give Elizabeth another shot. Thanks for participating.

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  17. Good to hear you worked out what was wrong before you sent it. Now you've a chance to work it all out. I hope you do. Sounds good. ^_^

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  18. It's so great that you were able to figure out there was an issue. That is hard to admit, because we love our stories, but it doesn't mean we failed. We LEARNED something. We will be better writers.

    That's the most important thing.

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  19. I made the same mistake with my MC. I justified it by saying the MC is always boring because they have to be the one that's just like everyone else, so we can relate to them and live through their eyes. Sigh. It worked for a while. Now I'm seriously revising my character. The story will follow. Best of luck!!

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