What If You’re New to Writing and Don’t Know How to Fix Things? – by Tiffany Yates Martin…

on Jane Friedman site:


I’m a beginning writer. I’ve been focusing on it for two years, though I’ve always dreamed of being a writer. In some ways, I feel like I’ve grown, but mostly I get overwhelmed by all I have yet to learn.

I read blog posts and craft books, thinking the advice sounds great and I can’t wait to try it. When I get to my writing, I freeze because I don’t know how to execute it. Two things I’ve been hoping to improve this year are characters and developmental editing.

This is where I’ve been stuck. I read about what needs to be looked at developmentally, but I don’t know how to recognize what needs fixing in my first draft or how to fix it.

I read my writing and know it is not up to par. It feels flat and dull, but I don’t know why or how. I’ll try to start revising and become overwhelmed with fatigue. It’s easier to say the story is too flawed, not working, and set it aside than to fix it. It’s not getting me anywhere.

I think my ideas are simple and lack complexity. They often lack in motivation and stakes. I’m a literal thinker, so it’s hard for me to be wildly creative. A few times, I’ve been told my writing sounds young. It makes me wonder if I’d be better at YA, but I love lighthearted women’s fiction and rom-com/chick lit. It’s been brought to my attention my writing lacks character emotion and voice.

After a few poor attempts at novels and then novellas, I’ve been working on short stories and flash fiction. When revising, it’s easier for me to see the whole picture and it feels less overwhelming.

I took to heart Ray Bradbury’s quote about writing 52 short stories because you can’t write 52 bad stories in a row. I changed it a little in that I’m doing short stories and flash fiction. I have drafted 26 short stories and 26 flash fictions (and have edited some of them).

Now, I have to figure out what to do next. More of the same (maybe 52 of each)? Or something a little longer, like a novelette or novella?

Do you have any advice on how I can learn to see and fix my story-level problems? Is it something that improves with time, and maybe I’m expecting too much of myself?


Continue reading at:

Dear Beginning


7 thoughts on “What If You’re New to Writing and Don’t Know How to Fix Things? – by Tiffany Yates Martin…

  1. Hi Tiffany, everyone that starts writing makes mistakes, errors, and finds it difficult to get it “just right”. I certainly struggled at first and every writer I know has also faced similar problems. My first published short story was rewritten completely several times and then edited to within an inch of its life and even then, was not great. Many things help you to improve, good advice, changing perspectives, sometimes even starting the story at the end, and working back to the beginning. But most of all it takes practice. The more you practice the better you get.
    I once ran a science fiction and fantasy Magazine, and a young author submitted a short story for every edition, but he was not very good, and we kept turning them down. But the submissions kept turning up. Three to five years later we published one of his short tales, so for one success he must have submitted upwards of fifty stories. It is now twenty years on but if you look on any book sales website (including Amazon) His name appears on every science fiction list close to the top. Now a lauded Sci-fi and Fantasy author with many awards to his name.

    Liked by 1 person


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