Editing Tips, Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Avoiding Editing

No, I am not editing again. Well yes I am, but it’s one of those things where anything can be a distraction. I have never regretted editing. The finished product is always worth the toil. The cringing, the ‘did I really forget to a word how many times?’ I have a habit of leaving out ‘the’ in the middle of a sentence. It’s like a treasure hunt for to find all the lost words. The other habit is joining two thoughts together mid-sentence. If it takes more than 5 minutes to figure it out the sentence gets deleted. What was I thinking? Umm…

Unravelled Plans

The best part is finding out that the story makes sense. You have no idea how of a relief that is. On top of that I went head long into a large scene with many characters. Did that go according to plan? No… Did it cause panic and chaos? Absolutely! Somehow through all this the underlying story made sense. *Breathes a sigh of relief at the small miracle*

Rebellious Characters

It can be rather complicated trying to keep track of that much action. It was fun, surprising and annoying all at the same time. The dragon just wanted to melt snow. The wrong person died. The person who was supposed to be trouble ended up being nice. Don’t ask me how that happened. I have no idea. The best part of editing os reading the story and finding hidden gems that were all but forgotten.

Writing Tips

Finding a Writing Muse

Writing Muse 3Last winter took its toll and this meant no writing for three months. During this time I discovered podcasts. When I cannot write I read, but this time neither was an option. This is how I found myself searching for podcasts about writing. It did not occur to me to try audiobooks until later. Listening to podcasts was a great way to find authors and writing advice. This made me feel as though I was being productive. Writing is not just about placing words on the page although that plays a big role. It is also about growing as a writer and learning from other people’s experience.

Making up for Lost Time

This led to another issue losing my writing routine. By the time all the colds were gone and I began getting back into the swing of things I was lost. There were several attempts of staring at a computer screen. Then I was prepared to admit defeat. No matter how much I wanted to write it was not about to happen. To make things worse I was stuck in middle of the largest re-write I had done so far. The task was massive. I had rushed the beginning. The build-up near the end of the second act had fallen flat. The third act fizzled into a dark hole and not in a good way. I was staring at disaster. The conflict was supposed to be in the story, and not in the structure.

Motivation

It is easy to become distracted when everything else looks interesting. I had to find some way of keeping focused. While avoiding my novel I discovered a small light that changes colour. Just for fun I plugged it in to the computer while I was writing, and it worked. If you can imagine it went something like this. Type, lose focus, gaze at the pretty light, and back to writing. It sounds silly but it worked so I tried it for a couple of weeks. This was enough for me to get back into the routine. I found motivation in the strangest place.

Writing Tips

Setting the Task of Writing

Task of WritingIf only writing was that simple, and life stood still so you could have all the time in the world. It matters not where you write or if it is fifteen minutes or half an hour. When writing a novel every little bit counts. Every tiny step forward moves closer to the end. When I embark on a novel it reminds me of an epic journey. I wake up not knowing what the day will bring, but if I can find the time to write then I have done my best.

Planning

That terrible necessity that clogs up precious writing time can be a life saver. I was a pantser with my first novel. It took six years to write the first draft and I loved every moment, but alas I have become a plotter. Well, more like a plotter and schemer. I find myself in the middle of a fantasy series where the ending of my third book needed a helping hand. At first I thought the last third would need to be re-written. With some careful scheming some of the original text remains.

Develop Your Theme

Where did I fall short? The ending to my second novel had been fantastic. I rushed to the finally not knowing who would live or die, and the excitement shone through. I had allowed the characters to be who they were. When I neared the end of the third novel I became nervous. With several strong characters competing for the spotlight I faltered. When writing I was unsure of what the theme would be when approaching the end. I set the draft aside and began working on the fourth novel. Part way through it became clear that I needed to go backward to proceed forward. There were some underlying issues that had to be explored.

Scheming

At the beginning I thought the series may continue for up to twelve novels. As I went backward I realised there would only be six novels at the most. The story was moving much faster than I had anticipated. This was partly due to the antagonists, and the action sequences. Apparently dragons don’t stop for anyone, not even writers. This created a sizeable gap because I misinterpreted the flow of the third book. It involved several major scenes that had to be told. Oops! My mistake, but I am pleased to be revisiting the third novel. It may take longer, but with each step it can be so much more.

Plot Outline

My process begins with being a pantser then involves an amateurish attempt at plotting. I find the more my characters grow the more plotting I do, especially for tying up loose ends. Each novel begins life with a couple of sentences. Below is the original outline for the first book:

‘Saranon breaks free, and makes it to Normisia via Alveron. She tries to leave her past behind her. It catches up with her, and she has to come to terms with who she is, the angeon.’

That is it, the only outline I had for writing the first novel.  That could explain why I edited and re-worked the novel more than thirty times.

One-third of the way through the second novel I realised it was complicated. The antagonist was too dynamic.  Each chapter has a paragraph to plot the lead up to the antagonist. The third novel began with a paragraph for each chapter. Then I had to re-write the plot outline for the last third. The characters had developed beyond the original plot. This caused a disparity between the plot and the three main antagonists. The moral of the story is let your antagonists shine. They need as much development as the protagonist and it is well worth the effort.