Monday, 30 June 2008
I haven't done an awful lot of writing over the weekend (shame on me), but I will finish Chapter 12 this week if it is the last thing I ever do.
I spent some time over the weekend doing my first critiques on Critique Groups.
My first critiques were quite a learning experience. I am awaiting my own work to be critiqued, just the first chapter though,
I've also been reading about Motivation Reaction Units on Advanced Fiction Writing. Wow, there is so much to learn about writing, and although this is something I've read before, I had completely forgotten about it.
I'll be going through what I've written so far and analysing it, re-analysing it, and then, when I've finished Chapter 12, I'll start rewriting.
The idea is that, after that much rewriting, I'll write MRUs without even thinking about it.
Here's hoping anyway!
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Randy Ingermanson, over on Advanced Fiction Writing, has been discussing the use of subtext in dialogue. Dialogue is quite tricky to master anyway, so head over there, and check the short series of posts here, here and here.
As reported on Nathan's blog there's a new e-reader in town, looks quite nice, but there's very little other than press releases on the Web for it at the moment.
The Rejecter has an excellent post on the decline of book tours and the new trend of blog tours.
Just added: Onyxhawke Agency LJ to the Publishing Blogs on the sidebar.
That's it for this week folks. See you Monday.
Saturday, 28 June 2008
And, I didn't get much done on Thursday, but on Friday I managed to get about a third of the way through Chapter 12. The cool thing is, I've introduced a new main character (well he'll be popping up quite regularly, and he is now going to be the main baddy). This should result in at least a few new scenes, and it should make some of the existing scenes more substantial too.
I've also been thinking about my ending. The antagonist's revelation is a cliché (big time) and I've tried (and failed) to get the antagonist into the story earlier, and still tell the story I want to tell. So, another baddy, a bit of cat and mouse, and a possible alteration to the ending should hopefully resolve these problems.
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
I believe that when writing fiction that characters and plot should be treated as one and the same.
Because, one character should react differently to an event in the plot than another character. Their reaction is based on that character's abilities and beliefs. It's how they react that make the characters interesting.
As a writer, if you create a character that is quirky but nothing happens to them, then your character has nothing to be quirky about, but give them something big to react to, and you have a whole lot of quirkiness all over your page. That makes for interesting reading.
Our characters live in the plot – the plot is their world.
No need to panic! I will be in work the weekend so there will be some weekend updates.
Fridayitis will return.
How wrong was I?
Well it was sort of finished. The only problem was when I wrote the next scene, which kicked off Chapter 12, and realised it didn’t fit Chapter 12.
It's an exciting scene, involving more shooting, but I unintentionally turned it into a cliff-hanger. Which is good, but it's a better cliff-hanger than the one that ended the preceding chapter.
So, I’ve moved the scene, and used it to round off Chapter 11. Now instead of a chapter that ends with the suggestion of impending doom, it ends with apparent doom.
Of course the protagonist and his sidekick are not dead otherwise the book would be very much on the short side.
Anyway, it also means I have to add a few bits and bobs into the run-up to the scene, just to make it fit perfectly. It’s like jigsaw piece that hasn't been pressed in firmly. A couple of lines here and there will sort it, and then it's onto Chapter 12 (again).
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color
schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your
You can find Wordle here.
Why do you want wordle? It makes pretty things. It might like nice on your own blog/website.
It could be helpful for identifying hidden themes and plots- well maybe not, but it is pretty!
I'd post a pretty pic now, but it doesn't work in work.
Monday, 23 June 2008
Nice to get it out of the way so I can move onto er-- um -- Chapter 12!
The last half was a bit more of struggle than I thought it would be. You know when you have a particular aim for the end of a chapter, and you know how you are going to get there, but you're not quite sure how to kick it all off? It was that sort of a thing. It's done now though. My protagonist and sidekick are where they should be and the baddies are closing in.
Friday, 20 June 2008
Not much work done on my novel last night/this morning – too much to do in the real world . . . But, hey it's Friday and that means Fridayitis, which has definitely set in for me, after the excitement about my first comment - I'll shut up about it now.Bookseller has news regarding Borders UK and their new stock system. The new systems should increase title availability by allowing stores to replenish stock the next day rather than the several day lead, which is currently required.
It also means core stock availability of around 30,000 titles, which will lower the amount of returns to publishers
Mid-list authors will have to wait and see how this affects their sales. Why is this important? Take a look here.
You can read the Bookseller news item here in full.
Jessica, over at Bookends LLC has posted An Interesting Thought on "Rules" or rather the lack of them, and Nathan Bransford has an excellent post on the importance of plot.
That's it for this week!
Have a great weekend.
My first comment. I though it was definitely worth a post on it's own.
It's very exciting for me so please excuse me while I excitedly tell everyone in work about it.
OK phew. I'm starting to calm down a bit now.
Anyway. OK I'm back to being normal now - well sort of.
Thanks to Genevieve, and thanks to anyone else who may be lurking.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
In his blog, amongst other things, he lists new agents. New agents can be quite advantageous to new writers, because they are keen to acquire new clients, and as a result are more lenient with queries.
Good luck and happy submitting!
I've also added it to the blogs sidebar.
My original goal was a chapter a week. that weren't well until Chapter 7 (ish). That was in part due to time constraints and part due to the complexity of the chapters. This one though should be done before Monday, and I'll have another stab at outlining more scenes. I won't go the full hog and attempt 20 though. I'll aim for 5 and see how it goes.
I'm in the mood to do a poll, but I don't have any readers (sob)! Shame really because they look like a lot of fun. Oh well, "If you build it, he will come." Nope, never seen it but I think I'll put that right this weekend too.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
Most writers will experience this at some point in their writing lives, and a lot of new writers will experience it frequently.
It can happen for a number of reasons, and it is a completely natural way to feel. The most important thing to do is to conquer it, and move on.
I woke up this morning, thinking about what I wanted to sit down and write about in my Novel. A little doubt popped into my head, and it actually inspired me to write this little piece for the blog. But, it is now late afternoon, I'm in work, and I'll be damned if I can remember what it was that inspired me. It's a shame really as I wanted to use it as an example.
Instead I am going to write some examples of why self doubt may crop up, and then I am going to make suggestions on how to conquer it. Sound good? Well it does to me right now. So, we'll have to see how it turns out when we get to the end.
Trouble with a particular passage, description, dialogue, characterisation etc.
- Read! Go and read a book that you've enjoyed, one that you know is good. The sort of book you want to write. Learn how it is done by reading. You'll come back to work inspired and full of ideas.
- Google it. Others will have come across this problem before. They will have joined forums, and asked the questions for you, so you don't have to. Be cautious here though, make sure you check out a wide variety of sources before deciding on the best way to achieve things. Styles vary, and like fashion, things can go in and out of style very quickly.
- So what do we do here, do we revise it or leave it alone? Well, if it makes you fell better once you've tidied it up a little, revise it, but don't linger on it. You're job as writer is write something, sell it, and then write something else.
- If you want to leave it alone then leave it alone, but bear in mind the advice above.
- Excellent advice on revising here on Holly Lisle's site.
You read something like this.
This is tough. It may not hit you now as you read it, but it will come back and haunt you. I've described what I want to achieve to my family as being akin to becoming a pop star or a famous actor. It is a tough business. The only advice I can give here is to stick at it, and follow your dreams.
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
Getting it to look right, changing what's in there. You know the kinda stuff.
I'll get it right soon I'm sure, but it's all so much fun to play with!
And, it only took me about 20 minutes to finish it off this morning.
I am still not overly pleased with how the chapter ends but I think for the type of chapter it is, I think it is doing what it was meant to do.
I gave the 2nd scene a quick reshuffle too. All of my chapters so far, except one, have scenes that have followed directly from the previous scene. There are times when this is just not that interesting for the reader. The exception, by the way, was one scene where there had been a fairly long passage of time, in this instance, only a few days, but as nothing at all exciting happened I wrote it by intertwining the telling with the showing of that particular scene.
I've made a mental note to go back through, my previous chapters, and do the odd reshuffle here and there just to keep it fresh and interesting.
And I've made some good progress on Chapter 11 too.
Ooh and I nearly forgot! This means I am approximately a third of the way through my manuscript, which is a milestone for me.
For instance, in my WIP, I had the sudden realisation this morning that I needed to clean up my protagonist. He's just had a nasty beating, followed by a firefight, and has spent the night travelling to another location. He needs a line or two somewhere to indicate he's at least had a wash and perhaps a change of clothes (The dirty blighter).
It's easy to overlook these things.
Monday, 16 June 2008
Okay, so what did I get done then? Well, I finished The Electric Church by Jeff Somers. Brilliant. A thoroughly enjoyable read, and very highly recommenced. I've started The Digital Plague also by Jeff Somers, and so far it is also very, very good.
As far as writing is concerned? Well, I had lots of real things to do, which meant I didn't sit down to write an awful lot, but I did make progress on Chapter 10 of my novel.
For some reason this has been the most troublesome of all the chapters I've written so far. Quite possibly to do with the mistakes I made when outlining (yes the mistakes I was supposed to be putting right over the weekend).
Although this chapter may end up on the editing room floor, I feel it has it's place simply because this is the first time, after meeting, my two main characters have a chance to talk without bullets flying, and we do find out a little bit more about both of them. So it certainly checks the box for character conflict, but it doesn't really advance the plot very much. Although it does signpost, to the reader, where the story is going.
I am also having an issue with this chapter's ending. My novel so far has followed a cliffhanger structure, but in this chapter I feel the ending is a little weak in comparison to some the others. I think the chatty nature is needed though, because the previous couple of chapters were pretty hectic, and this provides the reader with a little breathing space.
So, at the moment, the chapter stays, and I've made a decision on how this chapter will end. Tonight, after work, I should hopefully get this chapter where I want it going, or if not tonight then certainly tomorrow morning, before work.
Friday, 13 June 2008
The first in a regular series posted every Friday (yes really! Can't you tell by the title?).
OK So what have we got? Well, just a collection of things going on in the Book World and the Blogosphere.
First up we have the conclusion of this week's hot topic over on Nathan Bransford's Blog: Can I Get A Ruling? Will the Coming E-Book Era be a Good Thing? Also, as a run up to this debate: How Will Authors make Money? and More on E-books. And finally on Nathan's Blog, read what started this all off: Paul Krugman on E- books and the publishing industry.
Janet Reid has posted an interesting piece on a very dodgy scam. Read Denny Hatch's story in full here.
And, just to round off, (I actually read this a couple of weeks ago so it's not new) it's a short story by Tony Daniel, and it's called A Dry, Quiet War, and it impressed me hugely. Maybe I'm too easily impressed, I dunno, but it was thoroughly enjoyable nonetheless.
Have a great weekend.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Despite buying some tools to help the process along, it is going slower than I expected, and I'm struggling with the amount of time I can devote to writing.
I bought WriteItNow to assist with the whole keeping everything in one place thing. I bought a portable keyboard for my mobile, so I could write when I'm not at home, and I read everything I could find on fiction writing (particularly the stuff on Holly's site), over and over again.
Despite all this, the last three chapters have crawled along, and what's worse is that my voice is still in it's infancy, so I'm questioning my choice of words and the amount of detail to put in, and the plot direction at the chapter level. Not good.
I have made all the mistakes I can possibly make at this stage of my career, (Career? Well you've got to call it something haven't you?) , although I was chuffed when I completed the outline of the book. But, looking back at it now, I have made the classic mistake of putting too much detail in the outline. That's definitely not a mistake I'll make again.
I also made the error of not correctly identifying the good scenes, from the bad scenes, in my outline. Some of the scenarios my protagonist gets into are simply links, and as a result my novel will be way too short if follow the outline to it's conclusion. So my spare time, this weekend, will (hopefully) be used to come up with a score of new, action packed, meaningful scenes.
In a nutshell, I am a typical novice. Ouch! But, despite all these mistakes, I am glad I made them. (Well no not really, but you know what I mean!)
I'm a firm believer in learning by making mistakes, and I'm pretty sure that, after making these mistakes, I'll be a much better writer for it.
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
The Muse actually seems to be with Holly Lisle. Check out her website. It has stacks of information for new writers, and for more seasoned writers, who may be having problems with writer's block, middles, or anything else writing related.
I've just started reading The Electric Church. Wow! What a great start. Inspiring for me, because I first came across Jeff Somers work on Janet Reid's blog, and noticed it has some elements which matched my current WIP. So, I thought I'd see how a published author has dealt with the subject matter, and found that some of the issues I have struggled with are now much clearer to me. It means some minor tweaking of some of the chapters I've written so far, but it whould make my work a whole lot better.