Re: Your first novel and other stuff
Posted: August 24th, 2012, 11:39 pm
Finding your voice is one of the hardest things for a writer to do. Many of us who are on our fourth or fifth novels are still looking for it. And many people write in several different genres. The key is to find something that is real and works for the novel you're writing right now and run with it. Your voice may change from story to story, but if that's what works for those stories then that's okay.breathe wrote:I think the thing that frightens me most is that I still don't know my true voice or real writing style or genre. So I have all these characters and ideas and I just want to go from project to project to keep getting them all out and then discover what is really me. But then I keep thinking "there's no time. so many ideas and i just want to leap from project to project" and theres so much to learn and so much other crap in life to deal with. I need to chill out
There is a lot to learn, but don't try to rush it. If you try to learn everything right this moment, you'll end up not really learning anything at all. Take your time, realize this is a process that takes years, and enjoy every step. (Or at least endure through every step, it goes in phases like that.)
True critique partners? No. My parents and my husband read my first novel. They're great at giving hard critiques (not everything is fantastic and wonderful just because I wrote it - they've told me on more than one occasion that this or that stink), but still, they're family and they love me. The only novel I've had critiqued by another writer is my latest. It was my third and still, he had a lot of advice that's making me plan rewrites. It happens.breathe wrote:Did you ever have your very first novel critiqued? Or did you move along to a new improved project? The thing that worries me is potentially revising a first novel and showing it to CP's and it being really really bad. It seems that most people look back at their first novel and cringe. So I'm wondering would I make myself look like a fool to potential CP's that I seek out? (and that's a whole other basket there , trying to find CP's that I trust and that would want to be my CP, I'm not on social media, but I do follow a lot of people I totally would like to engage more with).
Would you make yourself look like a fool? Probably not. It all depends. If you're confident that your first novel really is worth it, then go for it. Otherwise, put it aside and move on. I do think that this is something you shouldn't worry about until you're at that stage, though. Worrying about critique partners when you're still working on your first draft is getting a little ahead of yourself. Just focus on your writing right now and make the book the best you can make it - understand it probably won't be as good as you want it to be, since you're just starting out - and jump over the critique partner bridge when it's time for that. You'll know when you get there if you're ready to show it to someone else.
I have a critique circle of three other writers, and we exchange 1,000 words every week. I have one true critique partner with whom I exchange full novels and short stories (on his part, I obviously talk way too much to write short stories ). All of these folks I met through the Bransforums here and they're all fantastic, awesome writers and great people. Whatever kind of setups you get with other writers depends on how you write and what kind of feedback you're looking for. My circle is about seeing how projects are coming together and getting advice for rough WIPs. Matt, my critique partner, and I exchange novels that have been extensively edited and are in mid to late stages toward submission or publication. These are much more intensive, nitpicky, and getting down to details to get everything as perfect as can be. These all serve different purposes but they're both invaluable to me. Others feel differently, but again, that all depends on the kind of writer you are.breathe wrote:Have your CP's changed over time? How many CP's do you have per project? Show them just the first chapter (for example , your first novel) or the whole thing?
Mainly, what I want to say is don't worry so much about critiques and submissions and all that stuff right now. You have to prove to yourself that you can write a novel first, and make it a good enough one to move on to the next step. Everyone has to reach that hurdle first. It's great to plan ahead, but make sure you keep your true focus on what's most important - getting that book finished in the first place.