What Was Your Biggest Misconception?

10957898._SY540_As a new writer, you probably have many misconceptions. I’ve been at this for a while now and can only laugh at myself when I think about how naïve I was. One of my favorite sayings is you don’t know what you don’t know.

I think my biggest misconception was anybody can write a novel. It’s easy. You get a great story line and put pen to paper, or fingers to keys, whichever you prefer. Well as my more experienced readers know, that’s a laugh.

Writing a novel has been one of the hardest journey’s I have ever taken. And I’m saying journey, because you’re going to be at this for a while. Like years, if you follow the traditional route.

One of the first things you’ll learn, after you receive a mailbox full of rejections for your first draft, is you don’t know how to write a novel. Unless you’ve had training, you don’t know anything about POV, dialogue, scenes, narrative voice, pacing….. Hopefully you can put sentences together that are grammatically and structurally correct (I missed out on that one too).

My second biggest misconception was that it didn’t have to be perfect. There are editors that work for publishing companies. Their job is to go through my mess and clean it up. So what if I mixed they’re and there? They’ll catch it. I have a great story, that’s what counts-right?

Don’t give up! Learn your craft. Your dreams of becoming an author are achievable, but you will have to work. Perseverance is the key.

What was your biggest misconception?

-Jan R


What Was Your Biggest Misconception?

7 thoughts on “What Was Your Biggest Misconception?

  1. Excellent post and a crucial subject.
    For me, it was thinking that programs like “Microsoft Word” or other built-in word processors, are adequate for helping with editing and revising. Super duper not good enough. I ponied up and got a proper program to help and what an amazing difference! The other was thinking that paying an editor to help was a waste of money. Now I’m researching “publishing” packages to get my first 50, synopsis and query letter polished. I used to think that perfection wasn’t necessary… I was wrong, and I was told so more than once…rejection after rejection.


  2. I used to believe that anyone could learn how to write fiction just through reading fiction. After all, that’s how I learned it. A lot of people can learn how to write that way, but not everyone. (I’m still trying to figure out what the difference is.)

    “Unless you’ve had training, you don’t know anything about POV, dialogue, scenes, narrative voice, pacing…”

    The good news is that the “training” needn’t be formal education or even attending workshops and seminars, especially these days, with so much information on the internet.

    “There are editors that work for publishing companies. Their job is to go through my mess and clean it up.”

    Not really. Not anymore. Publishers have for the most part decided that structural and copy editing are “unnecessary expenses,” meaning they expect the authors to be responsible for all of it. There still have acquisitions editors at publishing companies, of course, the ones who decide which books will be published and which won’t be, but acquisitions editors don’t deal with grammatical errors and plot holes beyond rejecting manuscripts for having ’em.

    A manuscript doesn’t have to be literally perfect, and if a publisher rejects it for having a single misplaced hyphen or something, they were going to reject it anyway, and the punctuation error is just an excuse, but it’s a good idea to at least get the error rate below one per page before submitting, and to make sure there are no blatant plot holes, factual errors, or inconsistencies in the story.

    Liked by 3 people

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