Not so long ago I took a writing class taught by the amazing Nova Ren Suma. Her agent came to one of our chat sessions (it was an online class) and answered questions about the industry and about writing for one full hour. One thing he said really caught my attention, "It's a journey, not a goal post." I understood what he was getting at, but I didn't really believe it. I felt that if I got an agent (I'd still like an agent), I would be happy, because my writing has improved so much.
My writing has improved. In Dec. of 09, I started writing Redemption. I finished it in Jan of 10, and it sucked. Everything about it sucked. It mimicked Stephenie Meyer's voice (nothing wrong w/ her voice except that it's not mine), there was way too much physical description, and the characters were not well rounded. I knew it sucked. I did not know how to fix it, so I didn't revise. I didn't even write for a while. I just read. A few months later (March or April of 10) I started writing Phantom Fires, which I still refuse to believe sucks. But it has some problems. Primarily, the plot. It does have one. It's just not strong and with all the subplots, it's hard to tell what the main plot is. Determined to improve, I wrote Chance Encounters. It sucked as bad as the Redemption. Back to square one. But the problem was still plot and pacing. With an identified problem, I could find a solution.
I started taking books apart on my blog. All of my favorites, and I tried to stay with well known books, so I could ask people if I had correctly identified the plot points. I found I had a harder time identifying the main plot in a paranormal romance. Interesting, because this was primarily what I wrote. With a new understanding of plotting, I wrote a short story, and a novel for Nova's class. I did improve on plot and pacing--like ten fold. So much so that where my pacing used to be slow, now it's almost rushed. (I can fix this). My plot is strong. (Yay!) But now that I'm rewriting the novel I can see my use of language is weak. Too many overused words. Too many un-needed words (and this word count is already low). New problems. Now, I need to improve my use of language. At this point, I can see I will constantly be trying to take my writing to the "next" level. It's a journey not a goal post.
Any suggestions for improving actual language? Where are you on the journey?