February 1, 2017

Ten Reasons you Should Never Write a Book

Lately, my head has been spinning with all things concerning "the writing life". Ever since the beginning of January I've been trying to buckle down on editing the first draft of my retelling of The Princess and the Pea. And...

Ohhh, the accuracy!

Today I'm here to share ten warnings tips on editing your first draft.

1) Your writing is horrible.
Remember those beautiful words you put down to paper about 2 years ago when you first started writing this novel? Remember how right it felt? How inspired, how talented you thought yourself?
Well, forget that feeling. That feeling does not belong in the editing process.
Instead, be prepared for feelings of shock and disgust and utter hopelessness as you groan,"I wrote that? What is wrong with me?" Then bang your head on the keyboard* and hopefully you'll accidentally delete your entire novel by accident.**

*I'm kidding, banging your head is NOT recommended. I don't want your family to sue me for the concussion you may get from such an act. :P (And I imagine it would hurt.)
**And I'm totally kidding about deleting your novel. Do NOT delete your entire novel. Do you know that writing an entire novel is a huge accomplishment? Never throw away something you worked so hard on.

2) Plot holes haunt your mind.
Be prepared that when you discover a problem within your plot and try to think of a fix, this problem will haunt your thoughts till you resolve it. You won't be able to properly focus on anything else, and you may or may not talk to yourself in the shower about the problem.
It's a very frustrating process. 

3) You'll forget what trees look like.
During the editing process, especially in the wintertime, it inevitably feels easier to stay inside in your room all day, and never step a foot out of doors.
Don't do this.  Get outside, get some fresh air, and take a walk. It doesn't have to be long, just circle your house and then come back inside. But do it. It's a Necessity.

4) Dynamite doesn't work here.
As your plot holes continue to taunt you with their complexity and seemingly unfixable-ness (what?), you will find yourself feeling as if you are chipping away at a concrete wall with a spoon.

Carry on. This is a normal and completely expected feeling.

5) Characters sometimes fall in love when you're not looking.
If you're not extremely careful, you may wake up one day and open the word document containing your novel to find that one character has feelings for another character that THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO HAVE. But then, the agony begins. You sit there, looking at these two characters, previously supposed to have been "just friends" and then you begin to think,
"Well, they would be pretty cute together."
"Look how protective he is of her! It's adorable."
"I thought she saw him only as an older brother, but now..."

This rare phenomenon may or may not put your writing on hold for about a week. Thinking you resolved the problem, you will sit back down and find it still there. You forge ahead, give up, and then pick it up again a week later.
Repeat this process until you figure out who belongs with whom. I really have no advice for this.
(Hint: But if you want your heroine to fall in love again with the hero she was originally supposed to have feelings for, just go write out some really cute scenes with them together. It should fix the problem.)

6) Villains are bad, end of story.
When writing a backstory for your villain, be aware that you'll probably start pitying him Very Much because of his tragic past, and then start to wish he could repent and become a Hero.
Don't do it. Don't give in to such sentimentality, because it will then ruin the story that you're writing this backstory for. VILLAINS ARE BAD. LEAVE THEM THAT WAY. (Even if it breaks your heart, because he was such a wonderful child. *sob*

If you need to feel brutal when crafting your villains, just go rip some wood apart. That may help. I don't speak from experience, though.

7) Editing a book is not safe.
You've probably felt like a pretty careful person person your entire life, right? You aren't a troublemaker, and you certainly don't want to be one.
Well. Guess what. If you're a writer, you're a troublemaker. Sorry.
apparently I do because I'm writing a book

8) 40's dialogue is easier than medieval conversations.
When you take a break editing your current novel and turn your attentions to your still-unfinished NaNoWriMo novel set in the 1940's...

It's a fun way to relax. 1940's characters talk very differently from their medieval counterparts, did you know that? Sir Arthur can say, "Verily, m'lady." But if you have Isaac speak like that, your story is doomed. Better make him say something like "Yeah, that'd be swell."

(I really love my 1940's story. :) Maybe I should share some more snippets or do a character interview sometime...?)

9) Not everyone needs a backstory 
While ruminating on the plot of your villain's backstory, you'll suddenly begin wondering what made HIS father such an awful character. Why was he so cruel to his son? What made him how he was? For one split second you'll consider writing him a backstory.

Don't do it. Just don't.

10) There is good in this world, Mr. Frodo.
Lest you think all writing and editing is a kind of living death, I will leave you with some positivity. Writing a story IS fun. It's a wonderful, crazy, amazing adventure and if you have the courage to undertake such a journey, I promise you will be well rewarded.
And whenever you're feeling uninspired for a plot, just remember this piece of advice:

I'll also leave you with some encouraging words from Flynn Rider, because I know he can bring a smile to any girl's face. :) (Assuming this is a girl reading this. To any of my guy followers, I apologize. You are in the minority, sir, but I greatly appreciate your being here.)

Writers, comment below!
What are your writing and editing woes?


  1. Haha This whole post just made me laugh, because 'I feel ya, girl!'
    Everything I read, I was like, 'That's exactly how I feel!' LOL
    And that 1940's lingo... *laughing*
    I'm writing a novel that takes place during then, and I know the feeling. ;)

    1. LaKaysha,
      Thanks so much!! Haha! I'm glad I'm not the only one.
      Ooh, good luck with your 40's novel! I love stories set during that time. :)

  2. I liked this post waaayyy too much like ohmygoodness laughing too hard

    I totally rip wood apart like that all the time yep AND C'MON NOT ALL VILLAINS ARE BAD *folds arms in defiance* XD

    1. Awww, thanks, Sarah Margaret!

      Hee. :D Weeellll, I have yet to meet a "good" villain (I mean actually virtuous, not a just a well-written character) but I'll take your word for it. ;)

  3. Perfect and completely accurate XD Editing is the worst part of writing a novel, but think of how wonderful your novel will be after you're finished - er - slightly better. :P

    ~Lydia~ <3

    1. Thank you, Lydia! I actually enjoy editing quite a bit...except when the troublesome things I talked about happen! :D
      Heehee, true! Thanks! :)

    I love these tips. I have this huge novel I'm working on. It is really coming together, or it would be if I would actually start typing it up. But it's in my head.
    My mom used to be an editor so I have her edit mine. (he, he.) But, I try to edit my own sometimes too and it doesn't work. I just put in more when I was supposed to be taking stuff out. Hmm....
    Great post!!

    1. Thanks, MovieCritic!
      Ohhh, that's fantastic! Working on a novel in your head is quite fun. I have a couple of those, but I write down every idea that I like. I'd forget it all too easily. ;D
      Heehee, that is a problem! Good thing you have your mom to help you; that's really cool. Good luck with your novel!! And thanks for commenting. :)

  5. Hahahaha RELATABLE.

    "Verily m'lady" vs "Yeah, that'd be swell." :-P

  6. Okay there is so much to be said that I'm going to try very hard NOT to say...

    This post is marvelous and so very true!! I felt like you were reading my mind with all of your points. And when you mentioned number 5 I knew you had to have some key to my brain. I've found that happening to me and trying to 'work it out' is so very troublesome!!

    And then there's number 9. Great accompanying gif. Very fitting. What a calamity that can be. Sheesh!!!! :P The temptation to make sure that everyone is completely understood rather than understanding that even in reality, we can't know everything is torturous.

    I'm rather proud of myself for keeping this comment a reasonable length.

    Good luck with your editing!! LOVED this post!!!


    1. Heehee! I know the feeling. :)

      Aww, thank you, Cordy! REALLY? You have the #5 problem, too?!?! Wow. I thought it was just me. Thank you so much for sharing that, I feel very relieved. :D Yes, INDEED. Trying to work it out is painful. Especially when I worry that my readers may end up shipping the "wrong" characters anyways. :( I want them to love my couples, you know? I certainly don't want them closing the book and wishing for a different outcome!

      Ahhh, I'm glad that's not just me, too. :P But yeah. It's hard. I feel that as the author I SHOULD know everything...but if I tried figuring out every detail of each of my character's lives, I'd have no life of my own! Haha. :D

      Good job! :D

      THANK YOU!!!

  7. YESSS! This post was perfection, my dear. In other words, 'twas swell. :D

    It was relatable, it was hilarious (I still can't get over some of these gifs... Bilbo's 'nope' and Sherlock's angry tea drinking just gets me every time... speaking of Sherlock, have you seen it? I can't remember talking to you about it! If so, have you seen season 4?!)

    All the pictures are spot-on, and gahh... just the points, the way you wrote it. Well done, girl, well done. :D Excellent, excellent, capitol, capitol!!

    My writing and editing woes... I never plan enough. I never have enough backstory, plot or character development so that I get halfway through the story and think "I REALLY should have planned this out better!" And then I come around to edit it and it's just like.... "Ugggh, I just want to change EVERYTHING and keep the characters and setting and general idea. Just scratch it and start over, basically." :P My edit of my WW2 story that I'm doing is basically a completely different written form of the same story. The first draft was really quite a painful sight. Honestly, I'm so embarrassed about some of the things I wrote, haha. :P (And I feel as though there is just SO much I should improve, I'm only going backwards!) There we are - my woes at present.

    ~Miss Meg

    1. Awww, thank you, Miss Meg!!

      I haven't seen Sherlock, but I have seen many funny gifs from it...the angry tea drinking one is a favorite of mine. ;D

      I'm so glad you liked it all!

      Haha, same!! I'm getting BETTER at that, but with my first novel, The Princess and the Pea (the one I'm still editing), my plot was utterly horrible. Now I've been struggling with a major rehaul half way through editing and I greatly regret not plotting things out better to begin with. Ah well. You learn as you go, I suppose. :P

      "Characters, setting and general idea". I hear you. :D I actually have an old story like that...I love the characters but the plot...*shivers*.

      Hahaha! Don't be embarrassed. All of us writers have our "skeletons in the closet" aka writings we'll never show to the public. :P Trust me, if you could read some of my past writings....they're horrendous. :P

      *Hugs* Don't give up. I'm SURE you can make your WW2 story into something beautiful. It may take you longer that you first envisioned (like me with my story :P) but I have no doubt you can get there! :)

  8. Oh my goodness. That was perfect. 100% accurate. I loved #8 especially :P

  9. Hehe, great advice! I love the Hemingway quote too, and the Monsters pic! :D

  10. I'm finally getting around to commenting on this post. But goodness me. THERE'S SO MUCH!! I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN!!!

    I'll do my best...

    1) YES, YES! I KNOW! I KNOW! I was reading over some of my old writings just the other day and ugh. How did I ever write such horrible stuff? "...bang your head on the keyboard and hopefully you'll accidentally delete your entire novel by accident." THANK YOU! Now I'll know what to do the next time this happens. Hahaha. ;)

    2) Ahhh! I relate to this SO MUCH!! And you described it perfectly. It's like, "Knock, knock. Are you in there?" "Uh no. I'm stuck in a plot hole. Don't speak to me." Heehee.

    5) Ach no!! They can't do that to you!! That's against all the rules of well-behaved characters. Straighten them out, Natalie! (I do like your hint, though. Writing out some cute scenes with the original couple sounds like a perfect solution!)

    6) Oh goodness. This is sounding way too tragic. "Even if it breaks your heart, because he was such a wonderful child. *sob*" Nooo! You're making me sorry for the villain already and I haven't even read about him yet.

    7) "I don't go looking for trouble." Mwahaha. :D

    8) YEEEES! You most certainly should post more about your 1940s story. And PLEASE do a character interview. Those are so much fun. I want to read it!!

    9) Oh my goodness, Natalie! YOU'RE HILARIOUS! I loved this point. And that gif was perfection!

    10) Courage? After all this how can we even begin to talk about such a thing?! Hahaha. ;)

    This post was so much fun, Natalie. And I can really relate to it even though I've never actually written a story. :) But oh! I do feel bad for you that the editing process is so difficult right now. Hang in there. Your story is still very much alive. Even though at the moment it may feel like it's completely hidden beneath plot holes and badly worded sentences, it's still there and I'm sure you'll find a way to make it come together properly. YOU CAN DO THIS!!

    1. Miss March,
      Heehee! :D Well, I'm so glad you commented, though I'm sorry my post was a little overwhelming!

      1) Oh no! Didn't you read my notes? DON'T delete your novel, Miss March. :D

      5) But it'd harrrrd. :( (I'll probably tell you more about this in that email about AMP.)

      6) Hee! I'll let you read about him someday. ;) (Then your heart can be broken too, hahaha. ;))

      8) YAY. I have a post in progress. :D

      Awww, THANK YOU! I'm SO glad you liked it. :) (You HAVE written a story...you just haven't finished it yet. ;) But that doesn't mean you won't!)
      Thank you EVER so much for the encouragement! *hugs*

    2. Haha. No worries. ;)

      1) Wait. WHAT?! Did you say "notes"? How could I have missed them? And now I've gone and deleted my story and it's all. Too. Late!! *sob* (JUST KIDDING! ABOUT ALL OF THAT!) (I really did not delete my story. And I did not miss your notes. Heehee.)

      5) Oh no! I feel so bad. Characters oughtn't to give an author such a hard time. It just isn't right. :( (Eeek! So I really can expect an email all about AMP? This is marvelous! I'm SO excited now!! Can't wait!)

      6) (Honestly. Your thoughtfulness knows no bounds. Hahaha.)

      8) *happy dance* :D :D

      (Seriously, Natalie, I think you have more faith in my story than I do!!) And oh, I'm glad my comment was encouraging to you. *hugs back*

    3. 1) Heehee, you had better be kidding. ;) I would be Very Displeased if you deleted Billy and Nancy's story!! I want to know what happens next!

      5) Yes, indeed!

      6) I'm such a kind, generous person. :P

      Awww, well if I do, I know your story deserves my faith. I hope you can learn to have more faith your own story, too. :) Your story IS good and your writing is wonderful. God wouldn't give you that talent unless He wanted you to use it to His glory! <3

    4. 1) Awww. You sure know how to put a smile on my face. :) Thanks for caring about my story. Someday hopefully I will know what happens, and then I can tell you all about it. (Actually I do know a few things already. And I'm very much looking forward to sharing them with you sometime. :))

      Oh, Natalie. You're the sweetest! Thank you so much for those last words. And for reminding me of God's hand in my writing. For truly, if I have any talent in this area it is because He has given it to me, and may I always use it for His glory, and His glory alone! Thank you, friend! :D

    5. Aww, not at all. Ooh, I can't wait to hear what you have planned!!

      Yes, indeed!! <3 *hugs*

  11. "Dream cast first. Plot later."


    Actually, for me, I can technically claim dream casting as "research" because I can't write ANYTHING without a firm visual image of each character . . . but yeah ;-)

    1. P.S. I want to read more about your characters from the '40s story :-)

    2. Jessica,
      Hahaha, IKR? I'd say that totally counts as research, then. :)

      And awww, thanks!! I'm really glad you want to hear more. I have a post in the works. ;)

  12. Oh my goodness! This whole post is hilarious!
    love all of the gifs and the Tangled one was too good

  13. Natalie, Natalie, Natalie... can we please be best friends? This. This was absolutely incredible!!!! Just what I needed, thank you! Perfect advice!

    I loved your humor and all those impeccably placed gifs!

    And 1940's dialogue? Oh, I completely understand!!!

    1. Emma,
      Awww, THANK YOU!! I'm super glad you enjoyed it. :D

      Ooh, glad you can relate! 40's dialogue is just plain fun.

  14. If you're in the mood for a tag, I tagged you! http://marchramblings.blogspot.com/2017/02/sunshine-blogger-award.html No pressure, though. :)

    1. Thank you! I'll check it out, soon. :) I might be able to do it. ;)

  15. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, this is just too accurate. I'm staring down the revision process of my western Little Red Riding Hood -- I don't get to do it yet, I just have it hanging over my head while I wait for feedback from friends and an editor I'm working with. And then I'll get to dig into it. And ouch, I know this is all coming, it's coming soon, and I think I'm going to just sit here and watch Alan Ladd movies and munch chocolate chip cookies and pretend I don't have that in my future at all, thanks :-)

    1. Haha! Thanks, Hamlette, I'm so glad you liked it. :) Ooh, you're writing a Western version of LRRH? That sounds really fun. I hope your feedback comes back soon so you can tackle it! Assuming you want to get it over and done with, that is. ;)
      Chocolate chip cookies solve everything!

    2. Yup, I had so much fun writing a western Sleeping Beauty that I decided to do more western fairy tale reimaginings. (And I'm going to try the whole self-publishing thing, eep.) I've got ideas for two more, too. I'm allllmost to the point where I'll be looking forward to digging into some good revisions, but not quite :-) I will find joy doing it once I'm in them, but until then... chocolate chip cookies it is.

    3. That's a great idea! Ooh, yay for self publishing! I'm nowhere near being ready for that, but it's definitely the route I'd like to explore for myself someday. :)
      Heehee! Well, enjoy the cookies! I hope your editing process goes well when the time does come!

    4. Yeah, I'm feeling very um... daunted by the self-publishing thing right now. But I want to try it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, huh?

    5. I understand...even though I'm not ready for that stage yet, I like to read into it a little now and then and every time I do I usually come away feeling very overwhelmed. O_O But good for you! I'm sure you can do it. And yes, exactly. It takes courage to try new, scary things, but I think it's always worth it in the end. :) I really hope it all goes super well for you! Maybe you can give me some tips once you're a successful SP author. ;)


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