Friday, July 10, 2009

A blast from the past

I really shouldn't post this. But this blog is about my writing journey--the good and the bad.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I tried to write my first book about ten years ago--without a computer--without benefit of any writing books--without all my blogging helpers and critique partners.

I was digging around in my files and found some of the original pages. Horror.

I will share with you just one short paragraph:

"Is that all you ever think about?" Nathan surprised himself for the way he blurted out his question. Amy could see instant disbelief and hurt flood his features and she swallowed hard, regretting immediately how tactless she had been again. Nathan shoved his chair back, and stood none too gently. Placing his napkin on his plate, he picked up the bill and tossed it on her plate. "I hope you remember your promise". With one last contemptuous look cast her way, Nathan stalked out of the restaurant leaving a very dismayed Amy in his wake.

Pretty bad, huh? I know. Made me understand why it was rejected. Too many common writing errors. Change in POV, bad punctuation, poor adjectives and more.

Have you looked back at some of your earlier writing? What do you dislike most about it?


Jessica said...

Oh my. Yes, I've hated my past writing *shudder*

This isn't too bad though, Terri. I didn't see the POV shift, which is actually not such a big deal to many editors. There's a lot of emotion in this paragraph and did you notice how well you showed his anger? Very, very good. The main thing I noticed was some slight wordiness. That's it. :-) Not near as horrible as you think!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, dear, what a great question.

Some of my earlier writing tempts me to dig a hole and crawl in! The run on sentences are the worst. I must have forgotten why the period was invented!

Yours isn't that horrible, dear. And like Jessie, I didn't even notice the change in POV. But it's great that YOU are noticing things that need improvement, because that shows how you've grown. Yay for you!


Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

We won't even talk about the poetry I wrote in h.s. :D
~ Wendy

Galen Kindley--Author said...

Thank goodness the two prior posters commented on the POV thing. It must be pretty subtle. And, not being disingenuous, I too, didn’t think it was so bad. Maybe a couple carriage returns…(That phrase shows my age, huh?) could be stuck in there.

What you’ve got me wondering now is, what was the issue? What was Amy thinking…or, maybe I don’t wanna know. Did they get back together, or makeup? Poor Amy. I’m hooked.

As to my old writing. Heck, I don’t worry about it. My current writing is bad enough.

Best regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Lin said...

well you can always use past writings as a jumping off place to edit and change. I do that with poem sometime-use the original for a stimulus and take off in a new direction. we need to be careful with our self criticism or we'll sabotage ourselves into not trying to improve. although it is fun to see our improvement over the years...

Janna Qualman said...

Cheesy cliched bits are what I find in mine. And telling. Always makes me want to cringe under a rock.

I saw potential in that excerpt, too. I've certainly seen much worse.

Ginger said...

I'm not a writer, and don't know all the techniques, but I think this sounds pretty good!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Terri -

This morning, I noticed some files with the original draft of my book. One of these days, I'll open them. I'm not sure I want to at this point. LOL!

Susan :)

Andrea said...

I always find errors when I go back and read them.

Lauryn Abbott said...

LOL! Yep, I've looked back and it's not pretty! One of the things I love about you, Terri, is that you are so transparent and open with the good and the bad. Thanks for sharing!

Melissa Marsh said...

You're a brave girl! And oh, yes, I have manuscripts that are absolutely awful. Fun to look through them, though, and see how far I've come!

Nancy said...

I feel rather humbled that I don't see much wrong with your paragraph. I know that I also have POV problems. They are indeed tricky. One of my worst story mistakes was making everything a semi-aotobiography. At least now, I just use a part, or disguise it as best I can.

KelliGirl said...

I thought your writing was pretty good!

I only started writing more seriously in the past year and a half. Actually when I look at things I wrote years ago I'm surprised that some of it isn't half bad. It makes me think I should have gotten serious about writing much sooner than I did.

My next challenge is to step outside my writing comfort zone into new genres. Then, I'm sure I'll have some doozies!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I cringe when I look at the writing I did years ago, sometimes even last week. But isn't it awesome to see ourselves improving!!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Oh mortification! When I look back at writing or poetry (gasp) 7-10 yeaers old, it makes me shudder.

Kara said...

*Groan* Yes, sometimes I wonder what I was thinking.

And I agree, I don't think yours is bad. Great show of emotion:)

ginny said...

Ok then, that just shows you how much I know! I thought it was really good!LOL!
Guess I had better take a closer look at the story I just the other day started (just for practice, of course!)

Jill Kemerer said...

Hey--there's some good conflict in that paragraph!

I "accidentally" lost my first manuscript in one of our myriad moves because I was so embarrassed of it!

Thanks for the laugh!

Cindy said...

I was actually kind of interested in that writing sample :) My MC's name in my current WIP is Nathan. I started writing my first book when I was 13--there's no way I'd EVER try to get that published. But there are things I've written as recently as three years ago that still make me cringe. It's amazing how much we can learn in even a few short months. Thanks for sharing that paragraph with us.