What is the biggest mistake a beginning writer can do?

Thinking they made a mistake.

I was thinking about it today, when going to meet new acquaintance to talk about contributing for a project. At the moment, it being so new, I think I need to bonder it over a bit, before I can discuss it. However, when our topic suddenly went on interviews and creative writing at some point, that question came back.

I have seen this answered by many famous writers in suggestions on what one can do to better their writing. The answer I came to was that it isn’t so much that you make mistakes, it’s that you think you’ve made one.

I know it sounds hypocrite coming from someone, who is fully supportive of learning the art to understand it better – I still support it, because they are your tools and masters always know how to use their tools of trade.

But when it comes to ideas and developing them, then the biggest mistake I can think of is that you think you’ve made an error somewhere, because someone read your story and  told you “that’s not how a vampire works!”

How would they know what a vampire looks like or how they pray? They’ve read a dozen vampire books based on the worldview Ann Rice has created and now any other derivation on the subject is not correct if the vampire happens to be a sludgy smug dwarf that lives in a cave it carved under the big rock in the forest? I can think of it being rather smitten by you if it graves to touch your shiny hair and will sing you love songs with stamina equal to rabbits in the spring fields.

Believe your writing is real, tell it so it becomes real and it doesn’t matter how many teeth it had or how often it goes around the bush to relieve itself. Yes, it is important that if you decide to draw inspiration from the reality, it would be good to express it so others can make the connection too if you want it to be so. But it doesn’t mean that you have to.

There are tons of researches writers do that never end up in the book. The most weirdest I can recall so far was trying to figure out how long would it take for a mermaid to swim from one coast to the middle of the ocean or when I read about children’s asthma to include it in the story once. It never got in the story besides small mark that the girl had it, but it helped me to make his older brother’s concern for his 8-year-old sister much clearer. Probably not how someone would have thought it should be like, but every person deals with their problems differently.

I’m currently reading about marine biodiversity for the next project. Most of that info is nothing more than background noise, but it helps to understand that world better so when I begin creating that imaginary world, understanding why dolphins have their vascular veins around arteries instead separately in their fins will be useful. Like if your character hurts its tale, you get ideas what you can play out. But nobody, not even me, knows what that marine creature will end up looking like.

That’s the thing. Nobody knows before you write it down and present it for reading. All the mistakes you think you made when creating the world in your mind mean nothing for the end reader, because they will recreate it based on your work in their minds. Mistakes have no weight in the first manuscript. Don’t fear making those mistakes. Write it how you feel it, how you see and know it to be. What will count is the words you use to describe it to make it real and touchable for the mind. Your fantasy doesn’t have to go by the existing worlds created by somebody else. If you want your princess to fight spiders and kiss the sleeping prince, then your princess will fight that spiders and kiss that prince with such might all the stars will fade in comparison!

Believe in yourself and work on your idea. There are no mistakes in the world you create. Your stories have your own limitations, but why confine with the blue sky if you can explore the universe? Vampire does not have to be Dracula to be real. That vampire can be badly dressed dwarf that can fly through puff of morning wind only when heifer decides she’s had enough of someone sucking on her hind leg. Make those mistakes – more the merrier. If you fear to make them, you miss out the possibilities. It’s how you create and present the story that counts.

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