In a word, yes. My writing has undergone a significant change since I joined twitter, and I’d like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all the men and women out there who take the time to post writing tips and generously give back to the writing community. I love Writer Wednesday. I may not always have a chance to connect with everyone I follow – something I would like to change – but I follow an absolutely amazing group of people, and am grateful to them every day. They have helped me grow.
In the mid 90’s I wrote my first book. It was a whopping 360 pages pounded out on a word processer. I smiled, I laughed, I cried, and poured my heart and soul into my novel, convinced I had written a spectacular book.
I wanted to get it in the hands of agents as soon as possible. By the time the book was finished, I had a computer (it took me almost two years to write). I couldn’t wait to query. I scoured the internet in search of agents accepting mysteries or romantic suspense. Once compiled my list, I dashed off my query letter, and started e-mailing.
In retrospect, I guess my query wasn’t all that horrible – although I did manage to pack in every single no- no that I’ve come to learn SHOULD NOT be in a query. Still, I did get requests for chapters. Only one agent responded with a personalized note. She said she loved the concept, but the writing wasn’t all that good.
I was stunned. My writing, not all that good? But, I’m a writer! How could it not be good? I raced to my novel, pouring over the pages, wondering where I’d gone wrong.
Um…where do I start?
In my defense, I wrote my book during a difficult time in my life. My parents had both just come home from the hospital and needed care. So did both my grandmothers. And then there were everyone’s pets. Balancing all that along with a full time job was pretty rough. I burned the midnight oil to write while in a state of pure exhaustion.
The book was unreadable. Even I couldn’t get through it.
I did everything wrong. My first sentence described my main character being awakened from a sound sleep. Predictably, someone was dead.
I can see you all nodding along with me. Yes, that was mistake number one. It went downhill from there. My MS was loaded with adverbs and adjectives, hey, the more the better right? I was painting a picture after all.
Don’t even get me started on descriptions. I had pages, and pages of them, enough to blur anyone’s eyes and send them into a snooze. I’m yawning at the memory.
Detail? Forget about it. If my character was making a phone call, I thought I had to describe every single action, picking up the receiver, punching in the number, uncoiling the phone cord, walking away from the phone. You get the idea.
My book should have been titled Every Step She Takes.
So how did Twitter make me a better writer?
Check back for my next post. It’s amazing what you can learn in 140 characters.