I thought this would be a fun post! I’m going to list (I dare you to not like lists) some of the worst, most amateur mistakes that I made in writing the first draft of the first novel I wrote when I was eleven years of age. I’m also going to include some excerpts, because apparently I like to embarrass myself. Let’s just remember I was eleven/twelve when I wrote them, yes?
1. I thought prologues were so professional. So I had to have one.
Note: There are some cases where prologues can be used well. But . . . did my story need one? Nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope.
I am still trying to understand the mysteries of the world we live in, and I seemed to be the only one who saw things for what they really were. This is something more, something different. Something that cannot even be described using human words. This is my story.
Whut. As I’m writing this, I’m cringing a little. Not only is it awfully cliché (“This is my story”? REALLY, KARA?) At the time of writing it, it seemed like a brilliant paragraph, but looking back at it now? LOL.
2. I had no idea how to punctuate my dialogue.
‘Do they actually do anything?’ I said, rather dubiously.
‘Gods are Gods.’ She said. As if that actually explained anything.
‘How do you get there.’ I asked curiously.
‘You would have to go through the forest.’ She stated.
I have to admit . . . It took me a couple of manuscripts to figure out how to punctuate my dialogue. It was just confusing and it was only when I saw a forum on the NaNoWriMo website a few years ago explaining it that I really got it. (ALSO, ADVERBS. URHG.)
3. LOVE TRIANGLE.
Oh, don’t get me wrong! Sometimes love triangles can be great. Like, for example, I thought the love triangle in Throne of Glass was enjoyable… but really, what was I thinking?! It was just all so horribly clichéd, and just… horrible. And no, there is no excerpt here. I can’t bring myself to post some of the eye-rolling romance — cough, instalove, cough — I used to write.
4. Describing the main character . . . in a mirror.
I sighed and looked at my reflection in the lopsided, dirty mirror. As much as I looked my father, I could easily see parts of my mother, as well. We had the same long, straight hair that fell down my back like a waterfall, dark slanted eyebrows, the same small smattering of freckles over our nose and cheeks and the same slender body frame.
Oh whyyyyyyyy Kara, whhhyyy?!
5. The first chapter starts off with a dream. OH, AND AN ALARM CLOCK.
A thick blanket of darkness was pushing upon me, threatening to crush me with its frightening power and strength. I could feel myself falling, falling into empty dark grey clouds of mist. It was a never ending tunnel of pain, whirling around me like a vortex of clouds.
I couldn’t breathe; the air around me seemed to be devoid of any oxygen at all. My lungs were empty and I struggled to remain my consciousness in my own dream. The pressure built up and suddenly, I felt like I as flying, like I was being sped through time. There was also an unpleasant tugging sensation that pulled me from the inside. Like something was trying to get out of me.
I tried to pull away from the force pulling me forward and my chest ached, so I stopped and gave in, falling back into black nothingness.
I woke up sharply from my dream, a thin layer of cold sweat forming on my brow, my heart pumping in my chest as my fear slowly turned into relief that it was over. I groaned and rolled over, fumbling blindly for the alarm clock and switching it off.
I’m pretty sure that an alarm clock and/or a dream is the worst, worst, worst possible way of starting a novel. I do not know what I was thinking when I was writing this novel — but I am pleased to say that I have definitely improved as a writer since then.
Hopefully by a lot.