Posted by: oneyearbook | June 24, 2009

Seven lessons to learn from my failure, Part III

We’re supposed to learn lessons from our failures. I mean, that’s what people always say when they want someone to feel better about something going wrong – ‘you’ll know for next time,’ that sort of thing. So I’ve been thinking it over. I talked about some of the reasons my first manuscript wasn’t working when I made the decision to shuck it off like a bad skin, but this week, every day, I’ll share one of seven lessons I think I can take away from the experience.

LESSON 3.

Today, a more practical consideration than the last two lessons: writing in order.

I’m sure there are authors who have managed to write a book all out of order. Perhaps there are some books that might even benefit from such a thing. But, at least for now, I am not one of them. Big mistake. I wouldn’t do this again.

Why? Well, I lost the opportunity for character to build naturally, for plot to grow organically, for sections to cleanly transition.

Also, I had no sense of the overall arc of the manuscript until afterwards, when I found out that it didn’t, in fact, have an overall arc. Oops. Might have been nice to know that at the time.

Writing in order. I’m sure there are authors who have managed to write a book all out of order. But, at least for now, I am not one of them. Big mistake. I wouldn’t do this again. I totally lost the opportunity for the character to build naturally, for the plot to grow organically, for the sense of transition between sections to come together. Plus, I had no sense of the overall arc of the thing until I put it together afterwards, only to then find out that it in fact didn’t have an overall arc. Oops.

Lesson learned: Do not be seduced by what comes later in the work; start it at the beginning, and see it through to the end.

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