Dust It Off Bloghop – Learning

May 7, 2012 Blog Hop, WIP 22

Welcome to the Dust It Off Bloghop!

This hop is hosted by Theresa Paolo and Cortney Pearson during three days: May 3rd, 5th and 7th!

The first day, May 3rdPost a 1-2 sentence pitch about the shelved WIP. You can see my post here (and the pics I have in it!).

The second day, May 5th:  Post your favorite excerpt (300-350 words). You can find it here (and the soundtrack!).

Today, the third day, May 7th: Post what you learned from this WIP. You become a stronger, more rounded writer which each manuscript and we want to know what this particular work taught you.


I chose SANDS OF HOPE for this hop. It was the very first novel I wrote when I decided to get serious about writing, and I learnt a lot while and after writing it.

I learned a lot … like I said before, it was my first serious manuscript, but I had no notion of craft.

What did I do wrong?

First, I began with huge amounts of backstory. I told  the girl’s whole life in the first 10 pages LOL Then, I would describe too much and in the wrong moment. Whenever my characters walked into a new room, I would stop and describe everything. EVERYTHING. I was even meticulous about the size of the damn room hihi I also described every time she changed her clothes .. and was meticulous about that too. And I repeated the color of eyes and hair of almost everyone very often.

Gosh, how terrible I was …

I love the story, the twists, the characters and their motivations, but, well, the writing was poor and too long … since I described EVERYTHING  and went into detailed backstory for at least two characters, the first draft of the manuscript ended up at 155,000 words! Seriously!

Oh, and I told the story in multiple POVs (at least I didn’t switched them mid-scene), but the thing is, it’s Egypt, so it was historical and the word choice had to be careful and I wasn’t careful. I wrote as if Sethi and the others lived in our modern world, talking casually. You can check that again on the excerpt posted two days ago. Since I’m still not comfortable writing historical, if I ever re-write this story, I’ll focus on Shannon’s POV only. I guess that will be good for Sethi’s mysteriousness, and, well, we all love a mysterious guy ;)

Well, I’m never repeating those errors again!

My second manuscript was already much, much better, but I knew I still had much to learn. In fact, I guess I’ll never stop learning, even if someday I do get published … I also noticed my English gets better and better from manuscript to manuscript ;)

(sorry, no pics or videos today!)

How about you? What have you learned from your old manuscripts?


On another note, I’m talking about writing and publishing New Adult at the NA Alley blog today. It’s quite interesting, you should check it out!



22 Responses to “Dust It Off Bloghop – Learning”

  1. Suzi

    I have a problem with backstory too, but at least now I know what to avoid.

    Luckily for me, I don’t have a problem with overdoing description of setting. In fact, I go the opposite way and need to add. Dialogue is so easy for me. Description/Setting, not so much.

    • Juliana

      Exactly, now we know what to avoid!
      Nowadays, I have to remember to put in more description, because I trained myself to cut some much, that I cut more than I should …

  2. Cortney Pearson

    Juliana, your post made me laugh because I feel like I made the same mistakes! I took huge chunks of backstory that had nothing to do with the rest of the story! I would describe everything, every single movement. It’s good we can look back and laugh at ourselves, right? :-p Thanks so much for participating! And I love that quote you have: I’ll make better mistakes tomorrow.
    Cortney Pearson recently posted: Dust It Off Bloghop, Day 3My Profile

  3. Carrie-Anne

    I overdid it on descriptions as well in my earlier writing. I was writing what I knew, and all the older books I’d read (more than modern books) always had lots of descriptions and began, many times, with narrative set-up of characters and situations.

    155,000 words is a drop in the bucket for me. All my adult historical sagas are WAY longer than that. I always wonder at historicals that are really short, like not enough went into the world-building and historical detail.
    Carrie-Anne recently posted: The dearth of current historical YA is really getting to meMy Profile

  4. Charity Bradford

    The thing is, I love back story. The trick is to sprinkle in only the important bits. I also wanted to say that even with the mistakes in the excerpt you posted, it was captivating and enough of a hook to draw me in. With all the things you learned, I bet you could rewrite it into an amazing story. ;)
    Charity Bradford recently posted: Dust it Off Blog Hop–Day 3My Profile

    • Juliana

      I do like to write it, but I confess I’m not a huge fan of reading too much backstory. It does get boring lol
      Yeah, I think I’ll rewrite the whole thing ;)

  5. Theresa

    Mistakes are the stepping stones to learning- I love that!

    Like you I also over described in my first WIP to the point I was giving step by step instructions of what my MC was doing in the shower. Awful! I know lol. But like your quote says those MS’s were our stepping stones and with each one we write the further along we get. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever stop learning.

    Thanks for participating in the hop and I hope you do give Sands of Hope another shot. It sounded awesome.
    Theresa recently posted: Day 3 of the Dust It Off BloghopMy Profile

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