Last week I talked about reading work aloud to catch errors, get a feel for the flow, and note awkward dialogue. I promised to fill you in on what I learned creating a YouTube video of “Initiations.”
First, let me share a little background. I wrote this piece in August/September 2015 and when I posted it here on my website in October, I was happy with the piece. Now, I see errors than I wouldn't have believed were in there.
This goes to show how much a person can learn in a short span of time when they devote themselves to studying the craft and reading the work of others. In November 2014, I wrote the first draft of a novel that had been growing in my head for almost 15 years. After completing Nanowrimo that second time, I made a decision to pursue publishing and devote myself to my writing in a new way.
A month or so later, I embarked on a 52 week reading challenge that would stretch my mind beyond my usual reading choices and open up new worlds of interest. About six months after that, I joined an online writing group and connected with other writers of various backgrounds and experience levels. I began learning so much so quickly that I thought I’d found a little bit of heaven on the Internet. Soon, I was entering writing contests, reading books on writing, subscribing to some amazing blogs, and striving to improve on a daily basis.
And I’ve seen the fruits of that labor. I’ve seen improvement in my work from Nano 2014 to the date I joined the writing group. My work improved from there to September, when I completed "Initiations", and to this point where I can see ways to improve on that story still more.
We are constantly growing as artists. I look forward to 2016 and all the new knowledge it holds for me.
Until then, I will share notes that I made for myself as I read, and reread… and re-reread "Initiations" as I was trying to record it at one o’clock in the morning. If you haven’t read/heard it yet, there are spoilers. Here are links for the text and the YouTube video (~15 minutes.)
This is not a comprehensive edit by any means; just the things that stuck out to me the most. Other things I noticed were nitpicky or easily solved; I’d break down a couple of long paragraphs and rework an awkward sentence or two. I’m still proud of this piece. I think it has some nice moments and every time I read it I remember how fun it was to write. I’m sure when I come back to it again six months or a year from now, I’ll find more flaws. But, I had a blast adding photos for the video and reading it aloud. It was an educational new experience and one I can’t wait to repeat with some future story.
Happy New Year, everyone! May you set good goals for 2016 and surpass each one!
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