Friday, September 5, 2008

Everyone makes mistakes....


Well, today was the dramatic ending to National Payroll Week 2008.

Ok, it wasn't very dramatic, except for the crazy payroll issue that presented itself and took me two days to fix.

Well, I wouldn't call it fixed. The payroll world have this GREAT saying that goes, "A mistake is only bad if it isn't fixable."

We had an unfixable mistake yesterday. Oh, I could slap it up good with duck tape to keep it from falling apart, but yeah. It was pretty crappy. When people’s pay is involved, the stakes are up a notch too. You can mess with a lot of things, but not people’s $$.

Part of my problem is that I hate unfixable mistakes. I hate mistakes of any kind really. I love things to be right the first time, I'm a very black and white person. So when a mistake happens, I have to remind myself that it is ok, it's fixable. And most times it is.

This time it wasn't.

*sigh*

So I am sitting here thinking of some way to apply my stressful two days so I can learn something and come out better. Obviously, I've taken huge notes about what not to do next time to help prevent this particular mistake.

But beyond that, how many times do we feel unfixable? I know for me, some days I look at my WIP and despair that it will ever be perfect. I want to make everything right NOW. It is either good or bad, right?

WRONG.

And I guess that is where I struggle. I'm still fairly new, and I'm being bombarded by do's and don’ts, but then also the 'well that's ok sometimes..." and "it depends on your story..." and "Only experts can do that..."

Now that last one kills me. Seriously? Aren't we trying to BE like the experts?? If the experts do it well, shouldn't we be learning to do it well instead of avoiding it?

This is how I see it:

There are hard fast rules. Grammar. Spelling (but even that can sometimes be fudged in very rare circumstances)

But the rest is a free for all. We are supposed to show and not tell, but sometimes you need to just tell something.

They say prologues should be left for the experts because newbie writers use them too often.

Instead of telling us to wait until we know more, how about we learn what makes a GOOD prologue, and when it’s appropriate to use it?

Flashbacks are tagged as no-no's, but plenty of writers use them.

Don't use the word “had” too much.

Use -ly words sparingly.

Be careful with your use of adverbs and adjectives. Use strong nouns and verbs.

All of these are GOOD tips. but that is what they are. Tips. They aren't rules. They aren't regulations. They are suggestions. And they don't always work.

You will need an adverb now and again. A flashback used well can be awesome. -ly words are needed at times.

I've heard so many new writers, myself included, say... "But they say not to use _____"

It's all subjective. A whole lot of OPINIONS. It's our job as writers to look at all the opinions and fine what suits us best. More over, what suites our editors best. And even more than that, what suits our audience best.

Not everyone will like my book. I've resigned myself to that fact. Everyone's preferences and tastes are completely different and if I try to please ALL readers I would end up pleasing NO readers. My first book is about a guy and a girl who meet online. Obviously there will be some people who don't like this story line, and probably even some who think I'm a horrible Christian for writing about a chat-room. I have some chat scenes in there where people will use BRB LOL etc. There will be those who can't stand reading the chat scenes.

Then my book won't be for them.

So, I have to find my niche. I have to find my audience. I have to learn my craft and learn when I can make the faux pas and get away with it.

**side note** I have seen many newbie authors use the above as an excuse for bad writing, again, myself included. “This is just how I write…”, “My writing is unique because of that…” Don’t use creative license as an excuse for bad writing. The rules above ARE good suggestions and need to be listened to. We need to always grow in our writing and get better.

It is so different than my day job. I am using to having things be either right or wrong. There is a wrong way and a right way. Sometimes there is an in between, but rarely.

So I’m making an adjustment. I have to learn to take a breath and do my best. I have to realize that I can’t fix everything. My writing will never be PERFECT because there is no such thing. And as much as I put my heart and elbow grease into making sure all 4000 employees get paid perfectly, well, I’m human. The people giving me the info are human. By golly we are going to make mistakes!

We don’t have to like it. But it’s a fact. And we do our best to fix it and move on.

We’ll get a rejection from editors/agents. We’ll have someone critique our book that makes us feel like crap. We’ll get reviews and letters from readers that make us want to throw up our hands and quit.

But its ok.

We’ll move on and get better.

And… we’ll be perfect in Heaven right?

2 comments:

sheriboeyink said...

Oh yes. Everyone DOES make mistakes.
This was a great post, Krista. So often we think everyone should be spot on, perfect, etc.

There was only ONE perfect being. Jesus.

We can't please everyone with our writing or our actions. We just always need to remember that we write for our audience of ONE. It's for Him and through Him we have this talent to put words down on paper the way we do.

Thanks for this post. It was great.

Krista Phillips said...

Sheri, its funny. I was sitting in church yesterday and got this awesome idea for a book, and it deals very much with this subject! I am so excited to finish my current ideas so I can write it!!!