My Biggest Writing Mistake

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I was excited.

Malak, Honor, Alia

Malak, Honor, Alia

I had a character in mind and I could see her face.  She was a tall big-boned brown-skinned girl with attitude and an anger management problem.  Raised by a kindly old woman who kept stray children like someone else would keep stray cats, Honor was raised in a home with other orphan children like herself.  Despite this, Honor always felt alone and adrift without a family to call her own.

Honor In SInistral

Honor In Sinistral

Honor knew she had a twin brother named Truth somewhere out there.  If she could find him, he would be the family she didn’t have.  If she could find him, she might learn why they had been seperated and why she couldn’t remember her past.  Along with her brother, Honor hoped to learn the truth of her past, the meaning of her visions, and the reason she had supernatural powers.

Truth and Segher Satellite

Truth and Segher Satellite

This story, like so many that I dreamed of before, also serves as my own personal PSA, as it addresses in its way my fears about the environment, and cultural, racial and religious bigotry.  For me, writing is often an act of catharsis.

When I think about it, that story sounds pretty good, if I say so myself.

Honor, Malak, Alia at The Hole

Honor, Malak, Alia at The Hole

I designed a pretty slick looking blog (I thought) and I posted a chapter every two weeks with accompanying art.  I enjoyed hacking out this tale.  Hacking.  Yes.  Hacking is exactly what I was doing.  I was hacking this idea to bits.  I was slowly and systematically losing the best bits of this tale through forgetfulness and neglect and replacing those bits with…nothing.

Honor&Truth has so many plot holes I couldn’t fill them with five tons of asphalt.

Here is why:

While H&T started with a phenomenal idea, I never completed even a cursory outline.  As a result H&T was directionless.  As a result the characters were too many and not well developed.  I wrote whatever came to mind.  This is fine, for a rough draft, but not for something that I intend to post online for the world to see.  In short H&T wasn’t ready for primetime and neither was I.

Alif

Alif

What do I think of H&T today?  I still love the concept of this story at its most basic level.  I am still intrigued by the central characters and their personal dilemmas.  I’m not so sure about the direction they’re traveling in though.

I’ve decided, after long lamentations and fear, and well, let me be honest, guilt, that this blog will have to go the way of the dinosaur.  I’m going to leave those old bones alone and build another stockier animal; one with staying power; one built to live in this day and age, in this climate and atmospere.  I won’t let that baby out again until she is dressed in her finest and ready to showboat.

H&T is not a mistake but starting serial blog was my biggest writing mistake ever.  EVER.  I’ve learned a lesson and I’m proud to say so.  This has been terrific!

  • I’m currently running a sci-fi story on my blog, which I update several times a month. I started with only one character and let the rest flow. However, I already had a completely built world and I wrote an ending (which actually turned out to be episode 23 and I’m past 29 now) . I wrote another ending, which might or might not be the real ending, but helps greatly to move in the right direction, because I have no outline for the story. At least I never wrote any and keep the basic idea in my head. I’m past 20k words and it goes on perfectly. I don’t know what I did right — small dynamic chapters, the idea where I see my character in the end, or apriori worldbuilding — but the experiment is a success for now. 🙂

    • khaalidah

      That is awesome Jelena.
      I’ll need to stop by and take a peek at what you have!
      I wish I could have been as successful.  I think my story got away from me.  I have a lot of respect though for those who can make it happen.  Kudos to you.

  • khaalidah

    Hi Jennifer. Thanks for stopping in to comment.
    Fortunately, I love these characters and care deeply for them. Their experiences are close to me, speak to me, and come from some place deep in me. I think that the H&T tale actually is part of something grander. It has inadvertently become part of another story that has been ruminating in my brain for more than four years. I didn’t know that in the beginning. This has taught me tons about the process of writing though, that it is an EXTREMELY cerebral event and that it takes as long as it takes…which can sometimes be a good long while. This has also taught me about patience.  I need to get some! and let my stories marinate until they are done.

  • Jennifer

    I had a related experience a couple of years ago. I had two primary characters. A story line, some plot twists and a setting.  What I didn’t have was an ending. So I decided to outline it and see where it went. And it went…nowhere. I had a beginning and a middle and that was it. Worse, once I saw my story on paper, I found myself going, “um, why do I care about these people again?” Eventually, I gave it up as a bad job.