Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Best Laid Plans

by Cheri Chesley

A few years ago, I wrote a story for my niece as a birthday present. I've always been happy with it, in memory, and loved the concept of the story. How fun would it be, I thought, with Halloween approaching, to release this story as an ebook since it's a fun little ghost story/mystery. So I emailed the girl who'd been working on the cover for me, and set a release date for tomorrow--October 14, 2011.

Then I realized I need to authenticate the story, set in Scotland, by doing some research into the area and culture. Not all facts will make it into the story, I reasoned, but I needed to have a clear picture in my mind in order to project a clear image on paper.

At last, I sat down to edit the story and get it ready to publish.

And realized it's terrible.

Don't get me wrong, the plot is solid. It's actually a really cool mystery set over 500 years. But the writing, what I remembered as being so good at the time, is really awful.

First of all, there's almost no showing. It's all tell, all the time. Secondly it's incredibly trite. The way the characters talk to one another is forced and unnatural. I'm embarrassed to think there was a time when I thought it was good.

I know I'm not the only person this has happened to, and I'm sure you all have stories to share. While I'm trying to figure out if this one is worth salvaging, I'd like to hear from you. I definitely could use a little boost. :)


Jolene Perry said...

I have one book I finished, and when I read it now I can't believe I ever thought it was good.

I'm resurrecting an idea that I love, and again, the writing is just terrible, so I'm loosely outlining the original story, but not using any of the original writing.

The good part?

At least I know my writing is better than it used to be :D

Roseanne's Spot said...

When I pulled TANGLED HEARTS out of the file it had been sitting in for 20 years, I had to re-write the entire book. The plot was there, and a couple of scenes remained, but I hated the man who had been my mc's love interest. He was a jerk. Twenty years later, my ideal love interest would never be a jerk, so I re-wrote the book and am very happy with the results.