Posting a Story on Wattpad

I am beginning a new blog series discussing my experience on Wattpad. If any of you are using the social writing and reading site, I would love to dialogue about it.

If you are new to Wattpad, it is a website where thousands upon thousands of writers post stories or novels, typically serially, for free for readers around the world to read. The majority of readers are teens and young adults, largely female, and the content includes high-quality novels that have gone on to be published as well as many lower quality fan fiction stories, etc. The most popular genres are fantasy, science fiction, romance, and fan fiction, though there are markets for most genres.

I approached the site warily at first, throwing up a few sample chapters of an old story about a year ago, to gauge reader reactions, with no fanfare. Meanwhile, other complete stories were garnering millions of reads.

The more I read up on the site, the more I realized I was approaching the site wrong. It is a social network focused on writing and reading. Some writers find great success, and go on to commercial or self publication with much success.

My experience with other writing sites hasn’t been the best. I’ve found most of the time they are designed for other writers, who are reading your work hoping for you to give them feedback. This can be helpful for critique. But if you are a YA writer like me, you wonder how real teens will like your story, versus writers trading critique-reads.

If building readership and engaging with real readers is what you want, then Wattpad may be the site for you.

As I worked on a new project, I decided to test the waters, and really give the site a go. I have begun posting chapters serially for my new fantasy THE SHADOW WATCH.

I am only a couple weeks in, and I have quickly found some amazing readers who have left lovely comments and cannot wait for the next chapter. Every day, that number increases. I have experienced nothing like it yet as an unpublished author. You get in-line feedback and reactions from real readers, reading your story because it sounded interesting to them.

Here are a few tips I’ve discovered so far, in order to stand out on the site and build readership:

  1. Your cover — you need to have a good, professional looking cover. There are so many stories with bad covers that you will immediately stand out.
  2. Follow readers in your genre — Wattpad lists users who have works written or lists of books they are reading. I follow readers who have followed other fantasy writers. Many of them have added my book to their lists and enjoyed it. I try not to follow writers unless I am reading their work and want their updates.
  3. Post polished work — Wattpad is not like other writer sites, where you post for critiques. You may get some, but readers are looking for professional-looking stories.
  4. Interact with your readers — Wattpad is a social network. Consider it more like Twitter. If someone takes the time to follow you or add your work to their lists, thank them. If they comment, write back.
  5. Give your readers a schedule — I post every Monday and Friday. Readers know as soon as they finish the latest chapter when they can read the next one. It also gives you a deadline and readers who will be letdown if you don’t meet it.
  6. Read the works of other writers — Check out what some of the most successful writers are doing on the site. How long are their chapters? Do they give readers a call to action? Do they dialogue with readers? You will learn what works, and you will also read some quality stories. Like I said, many top-rated stories find great success beyond Wattpad.

All right, that is all for now. I will be sharing more tips and sharing more experiences soon.

If you are on Wattpad, what have you found works for you? How do you use the site?

 

If you are interested in reading my fantasy, THE SHADOW WATCH, check it out here:

 

Looking at Your Writing from a New Perspective (Breaking Writer’s Block)

It has been a while since I’ve written. For a number of reasons, but largely because I have been busy and I have been stuck.

I know, I know. The age-old excuses.

But they plague us all, don’t they?

I work full time and I am a full time graduate student. So time is tight. But everyone’s time is tight. As Stephen King advises, sometimes you just have to sit your @$$ in the chair and just do the work, but sometimes it is a whole lot easier to make yourself get in the chair, let alone accomplish anything in said chair. To be honest, I can usually make time for my writing when I am pumped about a project.

In comes excuse number two, being stuck. For the first time in months I am writing daily and loving it. I wrote a novel a while back and tried to publish it. I got some offers, but nothing I was crazy about. Considered self-publishing, and realized I wasn’t happy enough with the book to put it out there. (Funny how if you think about doing all that editing and marketing on your own, you realize the story might need work,)

So I’ve been in the quagmire of serious re-writing. But I kept getting bogged down with the old story, and as a result, I was never quite happy with any of the new stuff.

I played around with a couple other projects but was bored for the most part. Nothing was really taking off, and I couldn’t quite let go of the last novel.

Finally, I set my butt in the chair again and started brainstorming a totally new novel. It incorporated some ideas from my old novel and some of the ideas from the re-writes, but it was an entirely new story, a new world. I came at the writing from a truly new perspective.

And the story has taken off, I am excited to say. I am waking early to sit my butt in that chair and write. I am staying up late after the homework is done to write.

Sometimes you have to look at things from a new perspective. Try another genre or writing style or whatever it is.

Mix things up.

If what you are writing is not exciting you, perhaps there is a reason, and you’ve got to embrace that reason rather than try to hide from it. If you are having anxiety attacks over sitting your butt in the chair, maybe it’s time for a new project.

Now, everyday is not going to be fun, of course. But if your excitement and joy are gone for weeks or months, maybe it’s time to try something new and different.

This is true for writing, and maybe for life in general.

Sometimes we need a new perspective. Sometimes we need to try something a little different. It might just reignite our passion.

It did for me, anyway.

Finding a Writer’s Voice

My earliest memories of writing are from grade school, tracing the forms of letters on perforated outlines before graduating to attempt them freehand; then, on to short sentences — See Dick Run sorts of things. At the time, penmanship was still a virtue, and we students had uncomfortable little rubber insets on our pencils to produce better writing posture in our fingers. I don’t remember a particular emotion, positive or negative, toward writing in those formative years. It was a task, like most things school-related. Writing exercises were like memorizing sums in their mundane repetitiousness. But they were expected, so my feelings remained rather neutral on the matter.

Sentences grew into paragraphs. Eventually we had to start assembling the monstrous things on our own. Transcribing transformed into regurgitating information: the short answer response to a prompt, such as why such-and-such happened a certain way. It was based on what one remembered from the assigned text, and was required, so I regurgitated.

It was not until middle school, somewhere between diagramming subjects and predicates, identifying gerunds and –ly words, that I was assigned a creation all my own. This had no prompt, involved no recollection of information. It was pure and sweet inspiration: creative writing.

I was assigned a short story, five to ten pages, with the presumption that no one would come close to the end of that limit. I remember feeling a little daunted, but I had recently thought of an idea and decided to try it out. The story was about a sleepwalking serial killer. A calm, quiet citizen and a good father, he had no idea of his heinous capacities upon entering slumber. He was caught, of course, and put on trial, and there was a moral question of whether a man could be rightfully convicted for crimes originating in a dream world. In the end the man was put to death by lethal injection. To be honest, it was a terrible story. The elements of potential were there, but I had no capacity to accomplish what I wanted. Ten pages were nowhere near enough, and I hurried the ending to meet the requirements of the assignment. I finished feeling it was okay at best. But my mother, who also happened to be my teacher, upon reading it, compared it to a thriller she’d been reading. She said she could not put my story down.

I wrote little outside school essays after that. I don’t recall another creative fiction assignment. I got great grades on papers and assumed I was a decent writer, but it was just a credit to my ability to complete tasks. I had ideas for a couple stories, and once wrote an opening chapter, only to realize I was in over my head.

But my freshman year of college, things changed. My Composition professor was a creative writer, a master of essays as well as fiction. I wrote several narrative essays, about baseball, summers working on a ranch, a horse dying in my arms. And he loved them. He would read them to the class and note the power of my personal insights. I was simply making sense of my high school years and how they formed me, but my professor was subtly telling me I had something worth saying. I was not recalling another’s ideas; they were all my own, my thoughts, and they were valuable. They were worth jotting down.

I have been compelled to write ever since. I focused on writing and journalism as a result of that Composition course, and a year or so later, I dared to jump off the high dive, and tackle one of the many fictional stories running circles through my brain. I took creative writing classes to keep me at it. It took me several years to figure out how to finish the beast known as the novel, but I managed it. I write almost daily in some form or another, though never as much as I would like. Be it the narrative essay or fiction, for me there is something beautiful about taking an idea from my head and seeing it come alive on the page, to see sense made out of the recollection of an experience from childhood. I write now because I love it, because it helps me make sense of the world and of myself. And I write because I must.

It is likely, without the praise of key individuals I might not have grown to love writing. It might have remained a task, neither good nor bad, just expected. First I had to write something. Then, someone had to tell me I had something worth writing about. Then, I had to keep at it.

The voice burns from within first. But I think it is always fueled by the breath of others. But once a voice is unveiled, it is a power unlike any other.

Writing Entertainingly (Edgar Rice Burroughs on telling interesting stories)

Time for another writerly quote. I wrote a post recently on Literary fiction versus Pop Fiction, and the issue I have with “literary” folks who put down widely read works, so this quote struck home with some things I’ve been thinking about lately:

I have been successful probably because I have always realized that I knew nothing about writing and have merely tried to tell an interesting story entertainingly. – Edgar Rice Burroughs

Burroughs’s Tarzan and John Carter stories are still some of the most beloved stories ever written. And I love how he puts this. Not only does he admit he knew nothing (Yeah right, Edgar!), he attributes his success to accepting this fact and instead focusing on telling a good story.

Because that is the point, isn’t it? To tell a good story.

I am not saying it is not helpful to try to learn about writing and prose and using good grammar. But you can have profound knowledge about how language works, and you can even write gorgeous prose, but it still not be about anything at all.

You can write well, and still be a crappy storyteller.

Burroughs may not have been the most profound writer, but he could write a gosh-darn entertaining story!

The writing helps, but in my mind, the story is what matters. Learn what makes a really good story good. What makes it gripping or interesting? In other words, why should people care enough to read it?

Come up with something interesting. And write it entertainingly.

I can’t speak for everyone, and the reasons why they read books. But I read to be entertained, largely. I read to be wrapped up in a story, to feel like I am experiencing the story as the main characters, to be left wondering what will happen and how, to care so much about the characters that I must reach the end. That is entertainment, and it is the effect I would much rather master, over gushing prose. Maybe I’ll learn a little of that someday, but for now, I am going to work on becoming a better storyteller.

Beginning with the End of the Story in Mind

E. L. Doctorow compared writing to driving. You know where your destination is, but you can only see as far as your headlights. At first I thought this promoted flying-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writing. But I don’t really think it is. I think it is true we can’t always see how things are going to come together as we are writing, entirely. However, there should be (has to be) a destination. Perhaps, you will find a shortcut, or you will take the scenic route. Perhaps you will near the destination and realize that you ought to stop somewhere else.

But you’ve got to know where you are headed. Effective businesses have a mission statement, a primary goal. Effective people have goals for their lives. A good book has to have a goal too.

Knowing where you are headed is key before you set out to tackle anything you write. Perhaps you’ve got to write a little to figure it out, or do some writing exercises or brainstorming. Sometimes you’ve just got to sit back and think about it. In fact, I would argue that one of the most important parts of the writing process is simply thinking about the story, sorting things out in your head a bit before you set out on the journey.

You could just start writing, just like I could just start driving down the road and seeing where I end up. But most likely I would waste a lot of miles and gas. What a shame to write half a book and realize you’ve got to go back and totally re-start the story, because the direction has changed! Believe me, I have been there. It is tough to throw something out you’ve worked hard on. I could have saved hours upon hours if I had thought things through more before writing.

Don’t neglect the planning time. Spend some time with it, have fun with it, embrace it. Think about what your characters are like and what the story-world is like. Jot down a chapter if you need to. But figure out what the real story is, and figure out what the goal, the endpoint, of the story is. You will discover all kinds of things along the way, but if there is no destination, it will be wandering and rambling.

Begin with the end and then move forward. Every scene you write will be more effective the first time around, and you will assuredly reach the destination faster.

Creating a Story with Inherent Conflict and Memorable Settings (Worldbuilding — Part 3)

In my last worldbuilding post, I used the example of a gallows in the town square, and talked about how pointed details can accomplish much more in establishing the setting of your story than pages of gratuitous details.

Not only does that gallows set a tone quickly, but it is a function in the story world itself that screams conflict. Too many stories ramble on, and we are not sure what the characters want, and the conflict is not all that clear or gripping. Your story world itself ought to be reeking with conflict.

This does not mean we all have to write dystopias with gallows in the town square. It doesn’t mean we use weather either: it was a dark and stormy night, etc. It could be any setting element.

Think the Fault in Our Stars. In the opening, we have a bunch of kids meeting for cancer-patient awareness. That is a situational setting that immediately gives us conflict. A girl meets a cute, charming boy at such a meeting, and we already know something bad will happen. Cancer means conflict.

It can be relational or familial. In Alice Hoffman’s novel The Story Sisters, we open with three sisters in Central Park, in conflict over what to do about a mistreated carriage-horse, to leave it in mistreatment or steal it in order to rescue it. Two of the sisters are divided, and one is caught in between her two elder sisters. The eldest and the youngest do steal the horse, ignoring the warnings of the middle sister. Everything goes wrong. The youngest breaks both her arms. And we have a setting of sisterly conflict that goes on and on throughout the story. If the setting had been their living room, it would have been a lot more trivial conflict. Fighting over what game to play.

This inherent conflict can be accomplished in so many ways. It can be a setting of two warring families like Romeo and Juliet. It can be a small mining town where the government is trying to shut things down to be more eco-friendly. Don’t settle, write conflict right into the setting.

Just think if J.K. Rowling hadn’t implemented the House system at Hogwarts, and Harry just had a rivalry with another rather mean-spirited student. Instead, Harry and Malfoy become part of an age-old rivalry between Gryffindor and Slytherin, and they have many official school activities that help fuel this rivalry: Quidditch and the House Cup. Conflict is written into the system of the school.

What sort of conflict is there built in to the setting of your novel? Not sure?

Start thinking about it.

Your setting is not just the place and time and situation where your story takes place. It can be an endless source of conflict.

Don’t be afraid to set scenes in more memorable settings either. Have a lot of scenes occurring in living rooms and kitchens? Take us somewhere more interesting, where things can happen, and maybe where there can be an emaciated carriage-horse to quarrel over, or even a war.

Have lovers who are going to have a fight on their date? Set it in a restaurant? Typical. Not very interesting. How about on a sailboat caught in a storm instead?

I am not saying you can’t have scenes in living rooms or restaurants. But don’t be afraid to let your creativity flow either. Interesting characters generally don’t sit around; they go places where action can take place, and where there will be conflict.

That’s the whole point, isn’t it? To shake up a character’s world with conflict and get them out of their comfort zone and into the world where there are stories waiting to happen.

A World in the Details — (Worldbuilding Part Two — Making Your Details Matter)

In yesterday’s post, we talked about how one of the biggest writing mistakes is often found in the setting, often most noticeably evident with a lot of info-dumping at the beginning of the novel, describing what the setting is like, how the world works, setting a tone through colorful prose.

These are great and necessary things when done properly. But too much will likely bog down your readers. And that is the last thing you want, especially at the beginning when you ought to be hooking your readers.

The first key is to build your world through action. The second key is to use sharp, pointed descriptions and details to establish your setting.

Small Details That Hold the World

I heard someone say once that the smallest places can contain the world. He was talking about how the smallest setting can say something universal.

I would say that the smallest details can say everything about the world you are creating. Pointed details can build more world than pages of description. Make your descriptions matter.

Every story has a setting and it needs to be detailed. But just because you have details does not mean they are adding anything to the story.

We probably don’t need to know the exact layout of your protagonist’s kitchen, along with all the contents on the counter, or what he is having for breakfast. We don’t need to know how many windows are in the bedroom, unless of course there is an intruder coming through one and the protagonist is escaping out the other. We don’t need to know the names of every street your MC is walking down. You get the idea.

cartoon6142When first trying to discover a setting, writers have a tendency to splurge on random, un-important details. I remember in my first novel I had a character who woke up and then I described everything in her room, and then went into a bunch of boring details about her getting ready for the day. It was just plain awful!

Details do not necessarily build a world. They have got to mean something.

For instance, let us say we are writing a dystopia. A gallows in the downtown sector of a major city tells a lot more about what sort of dystopic setting we (the readers) are entering into, as opposed to a page-long ramble about the government structure and penile system as the MC walks past the police station. A gallows in a modern setting is jarring, and says, Whoa! This is another world.

Leave a body hanging from the gallows, and it says even more.

Let the body belong to a child, and… you get the idea.

The gallows is not all we need to know. And maybe at some point we will need to know more about how the system works. Since every system must have rules, of course. But even then, let action drive it. Show us a character being subjected to the system.

Be intentional about the details you provide. That way when you make a point to describe something, the reader knows it is important. Otherwise, the gallows is just another random item in a long list of forgettable details. Make the details matter.

And not just because they are interesting or horrific, but because they affect your protagonist, or tell us something about your protagonist.

In Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, the protagonist is anorexic. She perceives everything she eats in terms of calories. And so detailing what she eats is very important to her character.

Perhaps your MC is eating TV dinners because he is in the middle of a divorce. The details tells us something important about the character.

The littlest, pointed details can say a whole lot about your character or your world. But if it’s not adding anything, beyond a list, then cut it. Just cut it.

Tomorrow we will talk about building a world with inherent conflict.

Why Do Your Characters Do What They Do? — (Developing Motivations that Thicken the Plot and Deepen Your Characters)

I’d like to continue my ramblings on stakes and characterization. This time focused on your character’s wants, or their motivations for what they are doing.

indexIt can be real easy to just sort of let things happen to your characters, or let them just do stuff. I tend to think of action that occurs before I know why it’s happening. I did this quite a bit in my first novel. Often as I went I would discover why, and would go back and add something in the subsequent draft.

I think this was an okay way to do it. I think there is always an element of discovery to actually writing no matter how much you plot it out, on paper or in your head, before you write the scene. But it also might be less efficient. You don’t want to overthink it too much on the first go, but anytime a character is doing anything, you should be thinking about what motivates them. Period.

That is where a lot of tension comes from. So don’t cheat yourself.

Make-my-writing

For Example:

If you’ve a civilian ex-priest character in a crime thriller, one who is determined to help catch a sex trafficker and rescue one of the girls — so much so that he is involving himself in the police investigation and perhaps even becoming a nuisance — then there has got to be a reason. What got him involved in the first place? What motivates him to care about sex trafficking? Or this particular girl?

Don’t settle for pure moralist motivations either with this sort of thing. It is pretty boring, and not very realistic in this case for why someone would go out of their way like that. You can create a lot more depth by something more detailed. Perhaps your ex-priest was molested, or his sister ran away long ago and was trafficked. Tragic motivations, in a case like this will probably be more compelling and offer more tension.

What would make it even better would be something like this: Perhaps this priest’s sister told him she was going to run away, and out of his conflicted love for his sister, he didn’t tell mom and dad. So sister runs away. She is thrown into the sex trade against her will. Years later her body is found. And the priest has spent his life trying to make up for his mistake the night his sister ran away. Perhaps that is why he became a priest, which he couldn’t even do right. And this girl represents his sister. To save her and catch the bad guy is like rewinding history and stopping his sister from running away…

Those are much more interesting motivations. It makes this priest very complex. Rather than a stock good guy trying to stop the bad guys.

The Wants and What Stands in the Way

All characters want something, and there is something standing in the way of what they want. Often there are deep wants behind the physically evident wants. Our hypothetical priest wants to stop the bad guys and save this prostitute on the outside. On the inside, whether he knows it or not, he is trying to redeem his past mistakes. The harder hitting, the more important, the desire of your character, the more is at stake. The more that stands in the way, the more tension, and the more we care about the outcome.

interstellar-mcconaugheyIn the film, Interstellar, love is the motivating factor for McConaughey’s character, Cooper, to discover a new world and return to Earth and be reunited with his daughter, Murph. But Christopher Nolan didn’t settle with just love. Father and daughter love becomes complex when Murph refuses to talk to him before he leaves. Years of space travel go by and still she will not speak to him. Then the situation is compounded when gravity on another planet speeds up time so that years and years have gone by on Earth in what was mere minutes on that planet. It is not just love, but guilt over their last interaction, and restoration of their once close bond over the course of lifetimes by the end of the film. It is intense.

Not Deep Enough Motivations?… Change Things

The main character of my last novel , Taylor, is on a mission to find her mother. Originally that was the extent of her motivation: her love for her mother. That’s not bad. Love is a great thing. But as I am preparing to write a new draft of the novel, I realized that I wasn’t providing enough tension there. Originally, the event that killed Taylor’s sister and made her mother go missing occurred while she was out with her father. But then I thought: What if she was there when her sister died? What if Taylor got away, and she feels guilty for running, and being the one survivor? So when she discovers her mother might still be alive, her determination to find her bears even more weight.

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So let the reader discover these motivations slowly. But you must know the entire time. If you don’t know, then the book is not done yet. You may figure it out in the first draft, or the fourth like with my last novel.

But don’t settle for the character desires at the surface, find out what motivates them deep within, and if it’s not big enough then change things around. Make things more intense.

This inner turmoil will keep us turning those pages. And it will make for a much better book.

The Writer and the Human Inside (Writing for an Audience and Being True to Yourself)

I have found that I can be a bit of a shapeshifter. Not like a werewolf, but a shifter of personality depending on the people I am around. Like an actor, or a party-goer with many different masks, I can change. Sometimes it is evident in the things I say, or don’t say. Sometimes the things I do. Sometimes the things I write.

Have you ever been around old high school or college friends, and suddenly you realize you are acting and talking like you did then?

Two-men-on-Spacehoppers-001I read a book called Scary Close not long ago about building more intimate relationships with others. It was largely focused on romantic relationships, but it also delved into friendships too. The author, Don Miller, talked about discovering the sort of “writer person” persona he developed out of a desire to be liked. In social settings he would jump at the chance to tell someone what he did for a living, because it would make people find him more interesting. This mentality of people-pleasing also affected his writing, and after writing a successful memoir, he began to write what his audience would generally expect and like. He played it safe basically and didn’t take risks, and also didn’t convey his true thoughts or full thoughts oftentimes.

I find myself doing things like this. Wanting to be the person the people around will like. Keeping silent when I disagree with someone about religion or politics, because I want them to like me. (And also because people who talk about religion or politics generally aren’t looking for open discussion, but are looking for affirmation from people who already agree with them.)Oh-tell-me-34w8e6

I’ve been wondering a bit about how much this affects my daily life, the things I write, my relationships. This people-pleasing thing is really rooted in fear, I think. Fear of what people will think of me if I don’t comply to their opinions or standards.

But you can’t get very close to other people if you simply put on a them-like mask for a bit, or if you please everyone. You might have fewer disagreements or “discussions” but not authentic friendships. Perhaps this is why so many relationships are so superficial.

For those who write, putting on masks can affect the authenticity of the work. We live in a weird conundrum where we create things that will then be read and either appreciated or despised by the audience.

I find myself wondering how different people will react to something I write, whether people I know or potential agents or publishers or readers. Sometimes, I have made changes based on these wonderings, rather than staying entirely true to the story I was telling. I think a lot of writers do, whether it is trying to please a certain audience or hit a publishing trend or wondering how that mega-conservative aunt might react to your LGBT character.
For me, I am trying to be true to the story and true to myself more, in life and in writing. I think authenticity always rings true, and people gravitate towards that. Don’t be afraid to buck the trend or defy the genre or unsettle that aunt. In some ways, I suppose we must consider the audience and the genre. But don’t let it hold you or your writing back. Write the stories you want to write. Be the person you truly are. Whoever doesn’t like it, can just keep walking.

Overthinking the Little Trouble Spots and Writer’s Block

I am a nerd, and I love world-building. I love coming up with all the little details and why the world is the way it is in my stories. But sometimes it can kill my writing.

inception_2I have been stuck on a scene in my latest WIP for a couple weeks now. The story is a sci-fi space adventure set 250 years in the future, and so there are a lot of details I have been considering as I am going along. I got to a point where I was trying to explain why something was a certain way, but I hadn’t figured it out yet. It didn’t fully make sense in the social structure I’d come up with so far.

I have run into trouble like this before, and I’ve found that getting stumped on world-building in the first draft is a little silly. On my own part. I am still figuring a lot of things out in this draft, like most first drafts I think.

I’ve decided to move forward and deal with those details later, once I’ve discovered more about the story and the novel-world through plot movement.

The thing is, we throw out a ton of stuff from the first draft anyway. Often the setting itself completely changes or evolves over time. Things tend to change significantly during subsequent drafts. Characters get dropped or combined, society gets made darker or less, or technology advances more, or a rural setting suddenly makes for sense than urban. Spend a lot of time aching over it, and it will probably get cut or changed.

Maybe not, you’re right.

writers-block-but-for-memes_o_1064153My point is: don’t waste your time and headaches on the first attack. You don’t need to get it all right and figured out just yet. Keep the plot moving (and the writing moving). The quicker you get the story down, the quicker you can figure out what needs dropped and what needs expanded.

Don’t be afraid to leave a plot hole there to deal with in the second draft, so you can just move forward.

I spent waaaay too much time editing and re-editing and pounding out details as I was writing my first novel. I changed nearly all of it in later drafts. Sure, the experience helped me figure out some things that stayed, but a lot of it was a waste of time. Or at least, poorly executed time. I don’t really think any writing time is a waste entirely.

But there is nothing wrong with learning to be more efficient, right?

Don’t sweat it too much the first go round. Just get that story on paper. A complete story will give you a lot better perspective for dealing with the trouble spots.

Happy writing!