Thursday, December 4, 2014

Online Learning

Now that I've abandoned my online novel, I've gone back and looked into what lessons I learned from the failed attempt.  Although success feels a lot better, I learn a lot more from failure...and believe me, this was a colossal failure.

First, I can't just write on the fly.  I didn't outline this story like I usually do.  Yes, I had a general idea the direction I wanted to go, but I never jotted it down in order to flesh out the details.  That's the biggest way I put meat on the bones of my novel - I outline.  It helps me explore threads before I put them on paper so I can see if they're viable.  Without it, my story wanders aimlessly.

Second, I need to be enthusiastic about what I'm writing about.  I came into this trying only to put something together for the blogging audience, and nothing more.  The books I've completed are all stories I've had some degree of obsession over.  I've played with them for months, if not years, on end, and they've become a part of me.  This novel didn't fit that pattern - I simply came up with an idea in front of the computer and decided that it would be the main idea.  I'd have had just as much luck and enthusiasm by putting ideas on scraps of paper and throwing a dart at them.

I also can't write anything great at one sitting.  Each chapter felt rushed since I usually put it off until the end of the week.  Then, in a mad scramble, I'd type furiously and hope it was something coherent.  It wasn't.

Finally, it reinforced that writing is hard.  Don't get me wrong - I love it.  However, that doesn't mean you can put forth minimal effort and create a grand masterpiece.  Good writing requires time, passion, and effort.  Without those boundaries, I could only poop out something a high school senior could do overnight.

I was and am ashamed of the crap I put out the past few months in this sham of an online novel.  I hope the quality, or lack thereof, didn't scare away too many people.  Still, I learned a lot about both writing and writing habits that will make my next real story even better.

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