Beginning to write your Second Novel Ever.
This is, I think, the most difficult lesson I'm learning in my writing journey. It's why I haven't been on Twitter much lately, or blogging as frequently. I haven't actually worked as much as I'd like on Shiny New Idea, now titled Night Run, or the plots for the rest of the Origin series. Because most of my friends are writers, I didn't want to admit I was taking an overly long break from something I should have been excited about.
After learning so much about the writing craft and my own process, I'm overwhelmed.
Archive for ‘December 2009’
Beginning to write your Second Novel Ever.
I'm so sorry I haven't blogged for the last two weeks! Normally I'm very good about it, but with the holiday season and all the hoopla, just haven't had the time or energy. But I'm back!
This Christmas brought to me a bevy of thoughts, both on my Real Life and my Writing Process. Really, I was attacked by them all. It made it hard to concentrate on my work, but I knew I had to address some of them before getting back to Life. If I didn't, things would only get worse, and I didn't want to risk getting too incapacitated to write at all.
My husband and I have decided to sell our 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 1,400 square feet home and move to an apartment near the end of spring. This house is just too big for the two of us, and old enough to have problems. Unforeseen repairs depleted our Christmas Savings, and I'm just too damn lazy to keep a house this big clean. I'm still a teen at heart, why do you think I write for Young Adults?
Recently, I started revising my YA epic fantasy, Origins. Some beta readers graciously pointed out the stark differences of the first and second half, and I knew the first part was backstory to incorporate elsewhere. I'd noticed this in the middle of rewriting Origins, and had waited until I finished the whole thing. I found the right place for the story to start, and then tore out 32 pages from the beginning.
But I didn't relish it, and I normally do.
I'm sadistic, I love revisions. Completely restructuring the text, tossing scenes, mercilessly yanking words and sentences from their overwrought perches... it's an art form, a flow of ideas somehow more satisfying to me than writing the first draft. It's my favorite part of working on an essay or term paper, and with the extra material of full length novels, I should be deep into revisions by now. Still, my heart isn't into it, despite how I insist to myself this is what I want, what I'd waited for.
I'm not ready to revise Origins.
As you may already know, I had a bit of a crisis yesterday. On Twitter I noticed a few people say they hated writing and reading in 3rd person Point Of View. An agent said most of the submissions they got were in 3rd, and I know 1st person is very prevalent in Young Adult. I write YA, and the current WIP is in 3rd, which made me needlessly nervous.
My current WIP is a YA Epic Fantasy, but with a Paranormal twist. Epics lend themselves far better to 3rd person POV, but with the Paranormal twist, I could really see 1st person POV working. So I told my #amwriting family on Twitter (I don't know what I'd do without them), and they gave me some great advice. I wrote some random snippets in 1st person, but it just didn't feel right, and so I stepped away for a bit. I was lucky enough that a special, helpful Twitter friend came to my further rescue on what POV to use. I admire him greatly, and can't thank him enough for pointing out what I was messing up.
He told me many aspiring writers start out using 1st person, because it's how most people tell a story. I've written mostly in 3rd, but could see the reasoning, though it feels awkward to me. I thought maybe I should change the POV, but he added 1st had its problems and could be hard to master, or for readers to enjoy. He said there was a better POV to use, and then he showed me.
First, I want to thank all the lovely peeps who gave me words of encouragement and advice, both in the comments of On To Revisions and on Twitter. You're all so kind and super helpful when a fledgling writer is lost, I can't thank you all enough.
SO. On to business. From all the advice, I gleaned a tidbit of information I was wondering about.
There is no special trick when it comes to revisions.
Sounds kind of "Duh," right? Well, when you look at it from the eyes of a writer just starting out, who's never had to edit or revise a 90K novel before, then it's a whole different view. With all the ways to outline, organize, and write the first draft, I'd begun to think there were specific methods to go about revising as well. Of course there are some different techniques - stickie notes, charts, reading aloud. But somehow, the revision process seems more like just a big mess of words only the writer can find rhyme or reason in. And, well, that's exactly what it is. With revisions, there's no real formula anyone can learn and follow. It has to be even more organic than writing the initial first draft.
Hence, no secret. So, what now?
I finally finish the first draft of my novel! Now on to revisions, and feedback from Beta Readers.
I'm so out of my depth here. *despairs*
I've come to fully appreciate the harsh fact that anyone can write a story, but making it good is the hard part. Taking it apart and putting the piece back together in the best sequence, catching the discrepancies in character development, worldbuilding, plot holes. Making sure the narrative voice is constant, the actions believable, and the flow of the story is paced well. This is were so many fledgling writers trip up, lose focus or abandon the story, and I don't want to be one of those 'ex-writers'. Revisions take a deeper understanding of the craft.
Again, SO totally out of my range of knowledge here.
I've never had to edit or revise anything more than, say, 10 or so pages, and never before a full length novel I wrote myself. Do you know what? It's HARD. If I thought I was a novice writer, I'm a lowly amoeba when it comes to revising. I've been poking at the manuscript printout for a few days, a little fearful of the length (303 pages at the moment), and a little lost on what to do first. Do I go through and fix wording, rip out all the that's, -ly's, and general over usage? Do I read and make notes on what to fix, change, remove or add? Do I twiddle my thumbs and wait for the Beta Readers to finish and let me know what they think? Huddle in the corner as the monster of revisions looms over me?
I absolutely adore Eisley, and her blog Eisley's Ellipses. She's got some really intriguing ideas about random and not so random things, even things you wouldn't normally think had the potential for deep thoughts.
And now it's my turn (...again...) to nominate five other blogs for the Superior Scribbler Award!
#Mantecado) http://writerhood.blogspot.com/ has some good quotes and thoughts about writing.
#Amigas) http://brodiashton.blogspot.com/ is a quirky, fun loving gal who says the funniest things about life and writing.
#Hugar) http://aisleycrosse.blogspot.com/ has gorgeous quotes on writing, and follows them with her own thoughts.
#Buena) http://lianabrooks.blogspot.com/ is a smart cookie and a driven novel and playwright.
#Concina) http://ebysswriter.blogspot.com/ for stepping up and putting her foot down when times call for it.
OMG someone has honored this blog with the Kreativ Blogger award! I never expected for this blog to gain many readers, let alone receive any sort of award. But it has, and I'm thankful to have been thought of. This is really one for my readers, who have helped shape and direct the flow of thoughts I post.
This award is not meant to be hoarded, however, and so there are rules:
1. Copy and paste the pretty picture which you see on the top left corner onto your own blog.
2. Thank the person who gave you the award and post a link to their blog.
3. Write 7 things about yourself we do not know.
4. Choose 7 other bloggers to award.
5. Link to those 7 other bloggers.
6. Notify your 7 bloggers.
The wonderful Karen Quah over at http://moderndaystoryteller.com/ is the one who passed on this lovely award to me, and I thank her dearly for considering this bog worthy of such a kind gesture. Karen is a journalist, playwright, screenwriter and script editor, and also kept us up to date on her progress with NaNoWriMo. Her blog is full of insights and humor on everything from movies and writing to women's rights and civil disobedience.
Okay, now for 7 things you may not know about me....
If you haven't checked out the Fire Drill blog, or done #wordathon on Twitter, created and headed by the fabulous @jimsissy aka Julie Butcher-Fedynich, then you've been missing out. But no problem! Because Julie has created a festive hashtag for the holidays, and if you wanna get in on it, she's sent a guest post for everyone to have some Twitter Christmas Cheer. Join in, and let the fun begin!
So. The Holidays are here again. I wanted to have a huge bash and fly all of you publishing-types into town for a party. Unfortunately, the lotto people didn't cooperate so I've teamed up with a few of the twitter writers to make our party virtual. Here's what we need to do.
1. Join the party by tweeting to #holidaybash by Monday, December 7, 2009
2. Run around you house and find a white elephant gift that will fit into an envelope, put it in the envelope and get it ready to mail. You can't buy something new. Your gift can be humorous, thoughtful, strange or dramatic. The wilder, the better. (Risque is acceptable but not dirty. PG rated gifts.)
3. On Monday, we'll post who you mail your gift to. It will be your job to follow them on twitter, get their mailing address, and send their gift.
4. Tuesday, December 8, 2009 we get our work done. Agents do agent stuff and clear your inboxes. Writers write and work on revisions. Editors, set a goal. We'll cheer you on! Authors, finish those projects. Let's all work like crazy so we can enjoy the holidays with our families!
5. Don't open your present when it arrives! We'll open them together at the party.
6. Party time is Thursday, December 17th at 9:00 PM Eastern. We'll get a chat room, open the presents, sing songs and drink the beverage of our choice ;D