Thursday, December 15, 2011

One Little Piggie Got It Right!

A person can learn a lot from the children's story, The Three Little Pigs...especially if you are a new writer like myself.  We all know the story; these three pigs decide to build three different houses to try and protect themselves from the big, bad wolf.  Now, think of those same little piggies as three different beginner writers and this is where the story gets interesting.

Piggie #1 decides to build his house out of straw.  Unfortunately, this does not make for a strong home and the wolf quickly destroys it.  Beginner writers who depend solely on the well-meaning words of friends and family to tell them what a great story they have written, end up building a writing career of straw.  Their own ego is the only thing driving their writing and one blunt critique from an editor or agent will quickly destroy their confidence in their own writing ability. 

Piggie #2 decides to build his house out of sticks.  It's a little bit stronger than his brother's, but the house has a lot of holes in the construction and the wolf can easily see what he has to do to destroy it.  Beginner writers who listen to friends and family but who also read an occasional article about the craft of writing or maybe even show a manuscript or two to a critique group will still not have built a writing career strong enough to stand up to industry critics.  Their lack of research into what makes up a good story and their inability to commit to the hard work involved in the actual learning of how to become a great writer prevents them from standing out in the crowd of other mediocre writers.

Piggie #3 decides to build his house out of bricks.  The foundation is strong, the work put into the building of it is tedious, but in the end this home can withstand any storm that comes its way.  That poor wolf doesn't stand a chance.  Beginner writers who want to become great authors will seek the wisdom of established, published writers who have come before them.   They will look for ways to improve their own writing; whether through special classes, reading specific articles, or receiving input from many critique groups.  Their own writing foundation will be strong and their confidence in their work will be evident.  

What type of beginner writer are you?  For myself,  I'm piggie # 2 and 3/4ths.  I have quickly realized that the kind words of family and friends do not guarantee that my manuscript is polished enough to be published yet.  I believe in myself and my writing, but I have to find ways to be able to commit more time to my work if I want to be a great writer some day.  And I have already created opportunities for me to learn much more about the craft of writing and continue each day to gather the wisdom of other established authors so that I may use their words as reference guides to improve my own writing.  There is always more I can learn, more I can do until I can become Piggie #3, but I'm close.  So watch out you big, bad wolf...pretty soon I won't have to worry should you decide to come knocking...I'll be ready for you!


  1. I'm working on the foundation for my brick house, and starting to build the walls. I quickly got frustrated with the comments of well-meaning friends and family, because what I wanted was clear, true feedback. I'm much more able to see the holes in my stick house, and it isn't a good home for me anymore.

    I've found so many solid bricks for my foundation in the webinars Emma offers through the Children's Book Hub. I really can't recommend the Hub highly enough. I've also read books, and magazines, and I'm trying to hone my craft as well as building up the bricks that will help me deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous wolves.

    Good for you for building your brick house as well!

    Love this analogy.

  2. Hi, Donna. I really love this analogy, too. Very creative! I love how you've integrated the two story lines. I've learned over the last few years that putting the effort into the writing, going out of your way to make connections with other writers, and embracing critiques are so very very helpful in building a brick house. Hope you finish that last 1/4 soon and feel that your house is completely sturdy!

  3. Beth, I have no doubt, that you are creating a strong foundation for your own "soon to be successful" writing career! Thank you for your friendship and continued support of my blog...

  4. Hi Kerry! Thank you for your kind words. Unfortunately my demanding, full time job competes with my writing time. This is what prevents me right now from having quite as much writing time as I would I steal moments when I get home to work on my blog posts and I use time from the weekends to work on my other projects. I'm sure one day it will add up to an entire project polished and ready for then, I keep working on that foundation...

  5. Great analogy, Donna, and it sounds like you've got the construction well under way! That brick house will stand you in good stead, not just at the beginning of your writing career but all the way through it. Even after you're published there will likely be big bad wolves knocking at your door and howling at your windows from time to time, so it's great that you're shoring up the defenses! Writing is always a work in progress. There are always times when things go better and times when you have doubts. So make that house sturdy and furnish it well so it will be a source of both strength and comfort! And one of these days you'll be able to wallpaper one or more of your rooms with the covers of your published books :)

  6. Thanks, Susanna! Right now I'm wallpapering the interior with blog posts from my new writer friends! ;0)

  7. No more kind words for you then. Actually, when I say I like what you've written, I am not trying to be kind. I really do like your STUFF. You know I don't hold back when I don't like it. I AM one of your cheerleaders.

  8. Thank you, Janet, for your support. You knew I always had it in me, but it's about time I let it out, right? ;0)