Monday, September 15, 2014

F is for Finish - Tips for Teens!

F is for Finish!

There are two things I'd like to discuss on this topic.

The first is receiving feedback before the manuscript is complete.

I realize everyone is different, but one of the largest barriers to my success is receiving feedback on a manuscript before I've even finished writing it. While some people find early feedback helpful -- it helps guide them in the right direction, lets them know if the story is worth writing, and basically provides them a readers perspective--it tends to be more a harbinger of a doomed manuscript than anything else for me.

Maybe because too much feedback is overwhelming, bordering on discouraging, or simply because all of the opinions and ideas tend to confuse me, but in either case, feedback before I've finished is simply inviting trouble.

There's a difference though in asking for help when you're working on an idea, then when you've written a portion of the story and ask for a critique on it. Brainstorming in the early stages is very helpful and should be sought from trusted writing partners. I would, however, caution you against seeking a critique on an unfinished story. If you're like me, especially if you are frustrated with the story or feeling stuck, the input might be the very thing to throw you over the edge and abandon your WIP.

Stay focused. Finish the story. Then edit and send to beta readers or your critique group. You'll thank me for it later.

The second is on three dirty little words-- Shiny New Idea.

We've all been there. We're plowing through a story, one that we love and are excited about, when PING! Shiny New Idea pops in! We're compelled to put our current WIP to the wayside and devote our time to SNI because...well...because it's exciting! It's new! It's shiny!

I'm here to tell you STOP!

If you abandon your WIP for SNI, before you know it you will have a thumb drive full of partially completed WIPs. Not that I know what that looks like. I'd never leave a story unfinished.  Not me. Nooooo. Never.

Instead, take a moment and write down SNI, as much of it as you can.  Put it in a notebook, a word doc, or a folder in your scrivener software. Then leave it alone. And back away slooowly.

Now resume your WIP. And FINISH it. You'll thank me for it later.


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