I had dabbled in writing since maintaining a food blog for over six years. Tackling a novel is a whole new ballgame. Wait, let me backtrack a little. I’ve always been a dreamer. I remembered my early childhood when my father always scolded me for being absent-minded. Even then I would think up scenarios in my head and appear to be lost in my own world. In high school, I even started on a science fiction novel which I, unfortunately, abandoned. I grew up learning and speaking three languages. You can just imagine how confusing that can be when it came to writing. Fortunately, I only had to do composition in two of them.
I did well in my English courses in high school, but when I headed off to college and took up an Engineering degree, I got rusty in composition. When I started writing a food blog, I realized that I had a habit of shifting subject-pronoun agreement, and mixing up verb tenses. I was able to get a writing coach to help me be more mindful of this. When I switched to fiction writing, I told my friend who was a beta-reader to excuse my dangling modifiers and verb tenses. I knew I had a problem. You know what she told me?
“Don’t worry, that’s the job of the editor.”
And you know what? She was right. Especially for those of us who have a story to tell but had not had the opportunity to be a literature or English major, there’s the editor that can help without losing your own voice. I also realized that it’s a good thing to just roll with the punches. When the words and ideas are flowing out—forget about the adverb placement, forget about your verb tenses—you can always go back and fix them later.
I’ve finished proofreading my first novel and I couldn’t wait to share what I have learned during the editing process. As I prepare my novel for publication, maybe other first-time writers may also benefit from the experience.
Upcoming post: misused words, books to read