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These four nasty little traps would still be weaknesses if they appeared in the novels of more experienced professional writers. But for the most part, those writers don’t commit these mistakes. Which defines the window of opportunity for newer writers – to understand what they’re doing and how they do it.
And how that differs from where your story is, at any given moment. Especially when you believe you are done.
It is important to remember that when you read a novel from a proven professional, you’re reading a polished, pounded upon, tested and fortified final draft. The story may have been riddled with problems in the early stages, draft after draft, so don’t assume these pitfalls are unique to the newer writer.
Established authors have agents and editors for this purpose, newer writers don’t. And they bring their 10,000 hours of apprenticeship to the task, which probably exceeds your resume by orders of magnitude.
A few workshops won’t get you there. Those 10,000 hours, along with the criteria-driven, modeled craft held up as the target, just might.
If I wanted to read fully realized, polished stories all day long, I’d be a book reviewer instead.
I do read a lot of work from folks who are terrific writers… if the composition of sentences and paragraphs is the benchmark for that description.
But the thing is, it isn’t.
Where writing novels is concerned, a terrific writer is judged by the story more than the prose. And because they are two different skill sets, one doesn’t necessarily beget the other.
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