BI/POLAR

I truly believe that to have any sucess as a writer [I'm talking about the integrity of a story here, not monetary compensation] you have to be able to properly split your perspective. The first go-around, the rough draft, has to be just that—rough. It's probable that 99.9% of writers don't get it exactly right on the first draft, so why hold yourself to an unattainable standard? Writing a novel is a lot of work. Don't believe me? Sit down and write a page. Then check your word count. For YA fiction your goal is 40k-60k words, and 100k for general fiction. Your first page might be somewhere around 300+ words [double-spaced, depending on font]. Do the math, and you'll realize it's going to be a while before you're finished. Don't obsess over getting every sentence perfect. And if you find yourself stuck on the story, stop to consider the world you've placed your characters in. Even fantasy worlds have rules. Give your characters reasons to defy their boundaries and grow in the process.

Once the first draft is complete [good job!], now you have to change, to morph into a spell-checking, grammar-sniffing critic. You have to be ultra-aware of your mistakes. Are there words you repeat often and maybe use too much? Is there a hole in your plot somewhere? Are your characters really making the best decisions considering the world you've created around them? Spend some time editing your own stuff, and the phrase "your own worst critic" really starts to make sense. Yeah, if you get published you'll more than likely have a proof-reader. But there's a difference between someone telling you that you used the wrong form of "there" and someone telling you there's a giant, gaping hole in your plot. It'd be a hell of a lot better to figure that out yourself. There are 2 ways to prevent the latter: 1.) Find a friend, someone you really trust, to review your work and give you an honest opinion [piece of advice—your mom's going to love it; go to someone else]; and 2.) Write more. A lot more. All the F-ing time. Read books. Watch dramatic shows. Girl meets boy, girl falls in love, girl gets her heart broken, repeat. If you want to be a good writer, you have to write. Finishing a novel is a huge accomplishment, I'm not denying that, but are you thinking about the next one? The more you write, the better you'll get at it, and I'm sure writers much more profound than myself would agree...