On the undoing of even the most promising stories

January 24, 2010 at 19:43 (General)

Hello again,

This time I have decided to face the skeletons in my closet. Ok, maybe just one skeleton and he does not really occupy the closet. He lies comfortably in one of my drawers.
This skeleton is my first finished book.

It is a fantasy book.
A canon fantasy book.
Elves, dwarves, demons and dragons, they are all there.
My friend wrote in her post on her blog that every fantasy writer’s ambition is to introduce a new race to the canon.
Yes, your honor, I have invented the Tiamerens. I am guilty as charged. I have ambitions too.
And yet I must accept the fact that my book has all the elements that a reader expects while reaching for a book labelled as fantasy.
It is my worst fear, for people who will read my book to say:
Oh, great, another one. I have read like thousands such books before.
That book itself is my dirty little secret. No one has ever read it. And I will make an exception for you my dear readers, and I will actually quote pieces of it in my upcoming posts, to illustrate my various claims.
For now I will just list some errors I made while writing it,errors which are those undoings of books and how the damage can be avoided (hopefully).

1. No outline.
I have mentioned in my post on basic plot building that for me an outline is a must. I’ve learned that the hard way. I got lost in the story. While I was writing different visions were fighting inside my head. It has been an epic battle, which resulted in an illogical plot.
The outline does not need to be specific. But every new idea or change in the story must be fitted into the outline first. If it fits, or needs only slight change of what was previously written the idea stays. If it destroys the original vision the idea is politely asked to pack its bags and leave.

2. No proofreading while writing.
I admit that it was mostly due to my laziness. I did not feel like reading my previous chapters since I will read the thing once it is done anyway.
Big mistake.
Reading what you wrote helps making sure you are still on the right track.
If only I knew then what I know now.

3. Language!
I will use every excuse I can. I shall claim that I have been nothing but a child when I wrote that book, therefore the language is a little unsophisticated.
I have read a lot since then, I have worked on my language. I hope I have improved.
The only thing that can help here is the constant building of the vocabulary and language skills.
And reading, reading, writing and some more reading.

4. Predictable plot.
Here is the problem:
Eikin looked around the dark room. This temple was the one where the key has been hidden. He could not be wrong.(I will not tell you why – that’s a long story – but it would be awfuly obvious to anyone reading it that this is the right temple. Even before Eikin entered it. I do not know why I even bothered to write about the other temples visited by other characters).
And the worse part is yet to come. There was a secret passage in the temple. And (covers her face in shame) it was activated by pulling the right candle holder.
No, that was not the worst part yet.
The worst part was that on the top of the right candle there was a skull. A skull. So that everyone looking for the SECRET passage knew where to look.
I know.
That was BAD.

I wanted too much, too early.
Now, I remember the lesson learned.
I plan. I create outlines, drafts, and maps.
I constantly work on my style and language.

As they say it is better to learn on someone else’s mistakes.
Learn on mine.
And with a bit of luck you will not have such traumatic experiences like discovering that the book you have been writing for so long is up to no good.

The above was more like a summary of thing to come.
I am working on the length of my posts, for they always get longer than I planned.

Again I am asking for feedback.
Thank you for reading.



  1. alikiya said,

    I love writing, though I think my work sucks…. mostly because of the above. However, I find that when I plan it, it messes me up more. I figure out a few chapters ahead, but never the full story. It keeps me on track, but not in a box. Also, figuring out the ending helps too~
    Yay for reading! Teaches me a ton about language and writing styles ;P
    =) Have fun writing~

    • aishikami said,

      I agree with you, that planning too much might prove to be a greater evil than having no plan at all.
      It might also take out the fun part out of writing.
      Enjoy writing and be creative :).
      Thank you for your comment.

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