Just telling another AWer that a trusted editor friend recently reviewed the first 15 chapters of my WIP, all of which I considered finished except for a final edit, and she pointed out several things I needed to look at, not the least of which is that I employed a bit of continuous business that another well-known writer had employed in one of his works. I had not read the book, but most likely read about it somewhere, absorbed it and thought it was a clever original idea (it was a long time ago, btw), and was convinced it was mine—and it may have been, who knows? It would be the only thing this best-selling writer and I have in common. But it was ill-received and widely disliked. His readers hated it and critics weren't too thrilled, either.

This experience taught me that even though I thought I was being terribly clever, I wasn't. At the very least, anyone who read it would have thought I was ripping off a famous writer. At the worst, everyone who read it considered it a terrible concept, so no one would have liked it. OUTSIDE EYES ARE IMPORTANT. Other readers see things, know things you don't. Do not fail to run your work through others. And pick readers, not people who just say they'll do it and then don't. Or people who pretend to read it, then don't. (One beta a long time ago read an early novel attempt I wrote and sent me this critique: "It has a lot of words." Yup, that was helpful. But I have to concede it was a terrible, terrible book, so maybe trying to be charitable?)

Quality and honesty are vital in this business. Take the time to do things right. I thought I had. Share Your Work can be helpful, so can the right beta readers.

I thought I was sooooo smart. I wasn't.

Learn through my unfortunate experience. You don't know what you don't know.