Editing Tips, Writing Tips

Finding a First Chapter

It’s the second chapter that creeps in when you least expect it. Trying to get to first place. Yes, that’s how it starts. When you realise you jumped straight into the action without a lead in. Who does that? Well… The first attempt is not about being perfect, it’s about getting into the flow. For some reason that means skipping the beginning. If you have ever had this issue there can also be that awkward moment of realising it’s happened again. It can be a hidden blessing because it means you get to rediscover the start. Only this time it’s different. This time it can change.

Knowing Your Flaws

More often than not I find the story began too far in. Oops! The idea rushes around inside for so long. That by the time it’s written the scene has already begun. Like starting a conversation without the crucial detail. If you have ever done this it can be rather difficult to backtrack and explain the missing piece. The good part about knowing your flaws is that it means you can look out for them. A personalised check list can help if you know it’s going to happen.

Make One Change

After the ending is written it can be easier to back and write a whole new chapter. The fun part is laying the ground work and revealing the potential of what is to come. Adding a fresh start is a fantastic way to get reacquainted with the characters. If you are a pantser it can provide an opportunity to include foreshadowing or the odd bit of intrigue. However you start the first draft it can be easier when you already know the end. If you have a story or a favourite book, go back and change one thing. What would it be?

Setting Writing Goals, Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Deleting Words

The last couple of weeks I have been setting up a new laptop much to the cat’s amusement. It’s a cheap, easy to use replacement for the old secondhand one. That gave a warning before it was about to die. It didn’t take long for the cat to work out that the keyboard is low and comfortable to walk on. The cat’s favourite button is the ‘backspace’. It cannot understand why I have an issue with that. Needless to say it knows I have a habit of deleting the last two words I wrote.

Habits

Two words, and the writing session kicks in. Not what I was expecting to find, apparently I need an unfinished sentence… Hmm, I will have to think about that. Well what do you know, it works. Everyone has their own quirks and it’s taken a while to find mine. There are so many times when the process has had to stop and start. It makes finding the little nuances critical. It’s like finding that all important first step that leads to another, then another.

Keeping Track

There is nothing quite like keeping track and stickers are not for me. I have a highlighter pen, a calender, and jot down how many words I wrote. Gaps are part of the schedule, but it’s easier to acknowledge them than try and do too much. The cat has claimed half my desk and insists on glaring at me. While purring at the same time when I type away on the keyboard. The look says ‘you should be writing’. I continue because I really don’t want any more words deleted. Thank you cat for being so supportive and taking an interest in my keyboard.

Writer Thoughts, Writing Tips

Know Your Genre

Imagine you are making a mad dash because you are running late. You see an old friend who has heard you wrote a novel and wants to know more. You don’t have long and blurt out. ‘It’s a young adult fantasy series with dragons, wizards, and sorcery.’ Then wave goodbye. This is exactly how I describe my book to people when I am unsure if they like the genre. Guess what? Your first goal as a writer is to find out who is not your audience. When you know your genre you can whittle it down to the key bits of information. It is a starting point, like a secret code that is easily understood by your real audience. Key words in a genre can mean so much. It can help find your audience in a short space of time by relying on familiarity.

What Does a Genre Achieve?

So you have spent ages writing and are unsure about the genre of your story. The real issue with this is that you, the writer are your story’s biggest advocate. If you are unsure this can magnify the confusion many times over. A genre helps find an audience by using themes and styles that already exist. Every story may be a little different. The key is finding the familiar threads so you can explain it in a clear manner. It acts as a guide to let your audience know what to expect. More importantly it lets them know what not to expect.

Each Genre has a Style

I was wandering through a shop and saw a book with a cover that said ‘fantasy’. I checked the blurb to make sure and it suggested fantasy. You can imagine what happened next… It was paranormal romance. My point is, you don’t have to get the exact details right just the basics. When you choose a genre your choice is there to help your audience find your story. Your tagline, blurb and book cover all become an important message to your reader. Knowing your genre can add an extra layer of information to help your audience.