So y'all know my story. Pseudonym was kinda e-published right away. Like, my first finished story ever. Needless to say, my motto became, "Never look back," mostly because it's a tad embarrassing to see all my beginning mistakes out there, floating in the world for everyone to see.
So I never look back.
A bunch of my older short stories are being bundled up together in a couple books, and I have the opportunity to get in a quick edit.
It's been educational. I decided to list all my mistakes. I'm not sure why, LOL. It'll make a good Thursday Thirteen!
1.) I was, it seems, obsessed with the word that in the beginning.
What is up with that? I think I erased two thats per paragraph, at least, sometimes one from every sentence!
2.) If you think I use the word but too much now, you should have seen me back then! But, but, but, but, but ... but insanity!
3.) My narrator voice kept creeping into my character's dialogue. Heck, one character's rhythms kept creeping into the other character's rhythms.
4.) In the beginning I didn't understand or feel the rhythm of paragraphs. Like, I didn't know the power of using one-sentence paragraphs. In the middle, I knew that power too well. (Still do.)
5.) Oh, god, my punctuation in my first few stories was horrible. With all the commas my one editor used to put in, I'm surprised that wasn't fixed. I'm hoping some weird thing happened during the re-format.
6.) And there was one story where it was clear I had just learned the fun and glory of the em dash, LOL.
7.) Precisely 19.2% of my short story heroines are named some variant of Jennifer.
I didn't realize.
Dear, God, how could I not realize???
I don't even like the name all that much! For people, great name, fine. For characters ... too ... too ... something.
8.) Sometimes I would switch between deep third to a narrator third, like, "She felt the stress of the day slip away. She breathed out a sigh, took off her shoes, and settled in front of the fireplace. Jennifer was a work-hard, relax-hard sort of girl."
9.) One of the stories was horrid, just purely unfixable, and editing a bit useless. We're talking numerous soap-operish, "Oh, Jennifer!" and "Oh, Carl!" "But, Jennifer!" "Yes, Carl!" "Jennifer!" "Carl!" "Oh, Jennifer!" "Oh, Carl!" Oh! Oh! Oh!
Oh. My. God.
Hello? There's TWO people in the whole darn story! I think a reader can manage to remember their names. In fact, with two people in the story, a reader doesn't even have to remember their names!
That one was a rough edit. I was cringing the entire time. They must have told each other they loved each other in every other paragraph!
All I could do was delete a lot. If it were mine to throw away, I would!
Hear me, O Universe! I am sorry for writing that piece of crap story!
10.) My paragraphs were too long, often. Later, my paragraphs were too short.
11.) A couple times I asked readers to make too big of a leap, plot-wise.
12.) Oh, the head-hopping. *sigh* (Clearly, my obsession with Oh is not over.)
13.) My biggest mistake was not writing in first person. It is SO clear to me, after re-reading all these stories, that I am a first person writer. My third is so obviously itching to be first.
Despite all the mistakes, I also get this odd fear that I was a better writer then. I pray it can't be true, but it's this weird niggly feeling I get.
There were two surprising things. I noticed my characters are always ... real and fairly vivid.
The other is that I actually write stories. Like, beginning, middle, and end. Even from the beginning. I have no idea how, because I've always felt that was one of my weak points.
It's really a bizarre miracle that occurs each time, pretty much outside myself. I really feel like someone else is writing. Maybe the universal mind or something, who knows.
Getting to the end is still something I find surprising, each and every time. That there's a story between the beginning and end is a bit of a miracle, too.
Mostly, when I get to the end, I think, how the hell did that happen? Who did that?
Ever experience that feeling? Or am I just weird that way?
Gas was $3.759 at the pump today. Remind me why they just don't round up and say it's $3.76? It's equally awful either way. At this point, a tenth of a cent isn't going to make much difference. When you're paying $67 to fill the tank, are you going to quibble of two pennies?