I have been trained as an instructional designer – someone who designs situations in which people can learn. One of the lessons I have learned over the years is that training is often not the most effective means. There is a confusion between learning and information. Most teaching is the transfer of information. The underlying assumption is “if I tell you, you will know it” like learning was an orange that could be passed from one to another.
I don’t believe that’s the case. Learning takes much more time and many more attempts and manipulations. I’m learning a piece of software now. The tutorials are all – do this, now do this.. and now you know how. I find that after I’ve gone through the tutorial I know something can be done, but don’t remember how and certainly can’t apply that to my wants.
So, how does this apply to writing?
Last night I couldn’t sleep. I took a break from working on book 2 Adima Returning, and looked back at a middle grade story I’ve been unsuccessful in selling. Without going into great details, I realized that my craft had improved. I started it before with the main kid screaming, I hate you! and running out the door. I thought it was punchy. What I realized is that if I haven’t said anything about the kid, who cares if he goes running. He sounds like a little jerk. So, I added a page and a half that built to him blurting that out and heading out the door. The reader knows who he is and cares that this kid is miserable. He may not win any awards as best kid of the year, but he’s in a hard place.
It’s only come from years of writing and seeing my writing worked over by an editor that made that possible to happen.
Now… to book 2… I have to keep reminding myself that at this stage, I’m trying to get the thing into a single piece. THEN the rewrites start. I keep getting lost in how well a piece is written or if I should push one idea or another and when. Instead, I find that first time through is toward the goal of getting a coherent book – from beginning to end. Only after that can I or should I start tinkering. If I try that now, I’ll never get this puppy done.
Final excitement – my order of books from the publisher came today. It’s very cool seeing a stack – a big stack of my books. I like it. I also sold my first copy to someone and I know that others have purchased through Amazon and the publisher, Absolute Love Publishing. Cool beans.