My 3 biggest mistakes so far

Posted by Paul Samael on Saturday, July 23, 2011 Under: Writing fiction

 If you’ve read my previous post, you’ll know that I’m not wildly optimistic about the prospects of my novel being a big success.  So you may be wondering why I’m bothering with this blog at all.  Well, in my more rational moments (that is, the small proportion of each day during which I am not labouring under the delusion that my novel will out-sell all of JK Rowling’s works put together), I’d like to think that this blog might help other people avoid the same mistakes that I made.  So what mistakes have I made so far?  The big 3 are as follows:

1. Starting to write the novel without really having any sort of plan.  As time went on, it gradually acquired more structure, but I ended up jettisoning huge amounts of material along the way – and it all felt like an extremely wasteful process.  If you were to draw a map of my “journey”, it would look something like this (click here for larger image):

2. Falling under the influence of other writers, which is not always terribly productive, although they do provide an excellent excuse for pretentious name-dropping, so here goes.  For example, my confused meanderings in the forests of magical realism (see diagram) took place under the influence of Mikhail Bulgakov, Louis de Bernieres, Italo Calvino and Haruki Murakami – but most of that material ended up on the cutting room floor.  And when I was kidnapped by aliens and forced to write learned academic treatises on Dan Brown novels (see above), my only companions were Philip K Dick, Arthur C Clarke and Stanislaw Lem (which wasn’t that productive either – Lem and Clarke spent the whole time arguing, while Dick sat in the corner alternating between making jokes and muttering darkly about how we were all out to get him). 

3. Writing the whole novel without really considering who it was aimed at and how I was going to get it in front of readers (I’m still unsure about the answer to either of these questions). I wish that I had tried out various bits of it on peer review sites such as or – some feedback would have helped me get a better sense of whether I was on the right track.  More on peer review sites will follow in future blog postings. 

In : Writing fiction 

Tags: structure  influences  "peer review sites" 
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About Me

Paul Samael Welcome to my blog, "Publishing Waste" which will either (a) chronicle my heroic efforts to self-publish my own fiction; or (b) demonstrate beyond a scintilla of doubt the utter futility of (a). And along the way, I will also be doing some reviews of other people's books and occasionally blogging about other stuff.
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