Monday, December 26, 2011

World Building: The Little Details

It's easy to get caught up in the big picture of your novel and forget your character is wearing a watch for no reason. I was so zoned in on figuring out things like power and back story, I didn't realize that although I had gotten rid of most indoor plumbing in my village, a character's house still had a bathroom, again, for no reason.

If I'm not writing my stories, I'm thinking about them. Often, my mulling reveals a detail I overlooked.  The novel I'm working on now has been in progress for years. This is like the umpteenth time I've edited it but I never picked up on these things. It's funny how I'm noticing them now. Remember, the more you write the better you write.

I also need to draw out what my village looked like when it was first created and what the world was like back then. What I have in mind doesn't coincide with the "present day" village. I either need an explanation of the gap or change something. Since history is coming out more in my new draft, I need to pin down how long the village has been there. Because of the back story, my village is turning out to be a lot younger than I thought.

For the most part, my characters live in the middle of the forest so, I need to figure out what their buildings are made of, what they look like and how they are maintained. I've been so focused on the houses of my main characters, the rest of the village was just neglected.

These details may seem insignificant but, more then likely, someone will read my novel and be seriously turned off by my world because these little details weren't fleshed out. If there is even a crack in my story, I need to fill it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Writer's Block?

My mind can sometimes be my enemy. I'm looking at this blank blog post and nothing is coming to mind. This is odd. I always have a story to tell. I'm building scenes while trying to sleep or concentrate on something other than my stories. I grew up but my imagination didn't. Something as simple as a dog dish can inspire an entire story so, why can't I think of anything to write?

This is a sign of my mind getting in the way.

If I'm ever sitting in front of a computer with no idea what to write next, I'm thinking too much.  A great idea or scene will come as long as I write something.  I've said it before, I write whatever comes into my head and worry about whether or not it makes sense later. 

I type a sentence and it turns into a paragraph and then several pages. Even if I sit down with nothing in my head, I type and the scene kind of forms itself.

Writing is a release of trapped ideas, an expression of myself. I crack open my heart and pour it onto the page. To do this, I sometimes have to nudge my mind out of the way. Once the words start flowing, I get so sucked into creating I forget everything around me. *sigh* I love writing. It's always an adventure.

"Many people hear voices when no-one is there. Some of them are called mad and are shut up in rooms where they stare at the walls all day. Others are called writers and they do pretty much the same thing." ― Margaret Chittenden

Thursday, December 15, 2011

IMAO: Discovering Gems while Editing

On an unrelated note, I took my last class yesterday. I'm not officially done with school until I get my grades but, I know I'll pass my classes so, I'm done. (Pause while I hyperventilate, weep, and do back flips.)

Now, back to business. I've been editing my novel. This is the first time I've read it in awhile. Every couple of pages, I come across scenes that are, in my arrogant opinion, amazing. The thing is...I don't remember writing them. Seriously, I'm reading these scenes wondering where in the world they came from! If I didn't know any better, I'd think someone else has been editing my story. But that can't be possible. My stories are under tight lock and key until they're so polished they sparkle.

It's like reading a novel for the first time. Big picture wise, I know what will happen next but, I have no idea what the next scene will be. It's kind of exciting! This fresh pair of eyes is crucial to the editing process. I'm not too attached to any word or scene. If it doesn't need to be there, it gets chucked. I've deleted pages of content without a thought. It's gotta be done.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

It's About That Time

Now is the time for some action. I decided awhile ago to focus on my Masters and leave getting published 'til later. I'm so close now I can smell that degree (still can't believe it). It's time to start working (harder) on getting my first novel published.

I need to first get my story together. Some holes in my world building need to be plugged in. I'm kind of a perfectionist so my manuscript needs to be glistening before I even start querying agents.

I need a plan of attack. Now would be a good time to find potential agents and, at the very least, follow them on Twitter. It's time to do more research!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Writers Don't Be Lazy

I've gotten too comfortable with my writing. Need to do something about that.  In a short story I wrote recently, my characters did a lot of chuckling, eye rolling and frowning. Nothing wrong with this, right? It is when they're used out of pure laziness. I couldn't think of another way to show annoyance or exasperation so, my characters rolled their eyes. That. is. not. good.  

I roll my eyes often enough, but when a character does it, repeatedly, for no good reason then... something's wrong. As writers, we need to know why we put every word into our stories.

My first instinct was to buy a book on body language, I always go to a book, but then I thought of a free (relatively anyway) way to improve my work- people watching. How many times have you heard writers need to be people watchers? Countless right?  I never tried it and this is what happens.

I reread, for the umpteenth time, Anne Bishop's Dreams Made Flesh. Reading this book made me realize how lacking my stories are. I've been studying writing for years but that doesn't mean my stories are perfect. Not even close.