My daughter just made a big jump in skill level, from doing jigsaw puzzles with less than ten pieces to ones with25 pieces. She needs help the first couple times she does a new-to-her puzzle, but after that she’s good to go on her own. In fact, she’s done this one sports-themed puzzle so many times, I’m heartily bored watching her do it. I pulled out a few more puzzles this morning, hee.
Watching my daughter make a big leap in her puzzle-solving skills reminds me of a couple of “jumps” in my own writing ability. The first one (which was helped along by helpful critiques in the Online Writing Workshop) was when I stopped writing vignettes and started writing real stories. You know, ones that had a protagonist with a problem, pitted against an antagonist, some interesting twists, and a real resolution, instead of the character studies masquerading as stories that I has been writing up until then.
The second jump I made was when my my writing got tighter, my premises more intriguing and my characters more complex, leading to some darker stories. This yielded me Out of Shape, Second Sight, The Most Beautiful Woman in the World and Lily in Winter. Two of these sold, and the other two have had many near-misses of the “good, but not quite there, send more” variety.
That was also over a year ago, and I’m ready for my next big leap. Preferably one which would give me the Super Power of Fast and Effective Revision so that I can salvage Season of Rains and poor broken Quartz.
What leaps in skill have you made in your writing (or any other endeavor)?
And, as a related aside, I think my daughter will be very happy with the 25-piece puzzle that’s waiting under the tree for her!