On maturing as a writer.

Sunday morning I got notes on SHARDS back from one of my CPs. When it popped up in my inbox I looked a lot like this:

Except I didn’t look nearly as attractive as James Van Der Beek.

Basically, the gist of this particular set of notes is that my male characters are dreamy I just need to tweak some things and this thing should be ready.* Obviously, I’m still waiting on feedback from my other CPs, BUT STILL.

If you had told me that four years ago, I would have looked like this:

I promise I don’t spit take this much in real life.

I was barely 20 when I started the first draft of SHARDS. I didn’t even bother finishing it; I got about 35k words in before I realized I wasn’t feeling it and restarted it from scratch. I did complete that draft. It took me three years, but I finally sat myself down and forced myself to finish it.

One thing I noticed when I was reading through it last year was how much my writing changed over the course of the book. It…was not good. Word choice has never been a problem for me, but sentence structure? As I was reading, I could tell at what point in time I took my English classes because that gradually improved. I still love passive voice and dialogue tags pretty hard, but my sentences grew less convoluted – mostly because I finally figured out where I should be putting modifiers. (Side note: I didn’t even know what a modifier was until that post-bac quarter after I graduated. True story.)

But it’s not just the writing; it’s the story, too. There’s more depth to it. At first the whole story was just the reincarnation thing. Which was fine, I guess, but I realized things would fizzle out pretty fast unless I added some layers. So I added the politics. Then I added religious tension. Then I piled in some social and gender conflict, too.

I think that no matter what happens, I’ll always have a special bond with SHARDS. It isn’t the first novel I’ve completed, but it is the first one I’ve bothered to put in the work on, and it’s grown up along with me.

The past four years have been a lot of this:

But it’s been worth it, no matter what, because of all of the things I’ve learned.

*My male characters are really dreamy, though. Not that I’m biased.

4 thoughts on “On maturing as a writer.

  1. Rebecca Barrow says:

    Yay Steph! All that hard work is paying off 🙂 I love looking back and realising how much I’ve grown as a writer. Although I don’t even know what a modifier is. (My poor British state education is showing, haha!)

  2. Jaime Morrow says:

    It’s nice to see that all of the work wasn’t for nothing, isn’t it? The more you work away at it, the better it becomes. That’s awesome that it’s finally to a point where it’s ready to send out. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s