Category Archives: Editing

Magical Moments: why it’s important to share a first draft

I’ve spent ten years writing. First as a hobby and now as a second job. I have a dream of someday hitting it big and being able to replace my corporate paycheck with a writing career. (A girl can dream!) In all that time, I have come to know one universal truth about writing: the first draft always sucks!

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I also have an editor and a writing group who has seen me at my very lowest of roughness. The draft where there were those two words “The End” written but, plot holes and inconsistencies aside, was still the biggest pile of unpolished dirt that ever existed. If there were diamonds in there somewhere it was a hopeless endeavor to find them.

I’ve published two short stories. These are fantastic accomplishments, but they are still not a novel with only my name on the cover. Something that, if I dwell on it, makes me a little discouraged given how long I’ve been working at it. I quickly remind myself that I’ve written three novels, and re-wrote two of them. It’s still something I struggle with.

Part of the purpose of my chapter of The League of Utah Writers is to inspire and educate fellow authors. There’s always someone who has more experience  – even when you’re a published author. Last month I took the first chapter of my current work in progress (WIP) for critique. If the fearless leader isn’t comfortable sharing work, who else will? My editor happened to end up in my critique group that night. I was so nervous knowing I hadn’t done a single thing to polish this piece of work. PEOPLE WERE GOING TO SEE HOW MUCH IT SUCKS! When I got great feedback from everyone, with only a few things that didn’t work, I wondered if I was on candid camera – or Punk’d.

On the way home, my editor (who also is one of my closest friends) went on and on about how strong my writing has become that I can write that well in a first draft. There might have been some reprimanding about how rarely I share my work at the early stages but we’ll skip that part. She reminded me of how rough I used to write and how many times I’d have to revise to get as many layers as what I instinctively can put down the first draft now.

While I still felt like I was being lied to, since positive feedback is often hard to believe when I’ve only got myself to listen to, I realized what a gift it is that I have others who see where my writing came from and where it has evolved to. Without having put myself out there and shared my work – as terrifying and nerve-wracking  as it was and still is – I wouldn’t be able to have this kind of feedback.

This feedback will keep me writing and by continuing to write, I will continue to improve. That’s another universal truth about writing. If you are a writer and aren’t sharing your work with other writers as part of your process, you’re doing yourself a disservice.


Writing Series: Major Revisions

This article was written for Operation Awesome and appears originally HERE.

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One of my favorite sayings when the horror of writing the first draft starts to settle in is this:

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It’s enough to keep me blazing through until the end, even when my inner fears whisper this is the worst thing ever written in the history of the world. Every writer knows those dark moments, smiling and nodding as they read this, for it is those shared fears during our darkest times which bind us all as comrades and brothers in arms.

The truth is, getting to “The End” is only the first step. It is then that the hardest work – that of revision and editing – begins. What if you realize you’ve taken a wrong turn along the way, despite your best efforts?

This happened to me with both my first and second novel-length projects. I decided to put away the first novel, chalk it up to the one I spent years learning with, and write something else. But once I was done with the second novel, I realized it, too, was lacking something.

I spent a few weeks thinking I wasn’t good enough to be an author. Wrote and published a few short stories instead, trying to forget about the project I’d finished but hadn’t.

Eventually I pulled myself together, reminded myself that I had already written two novels so clearly I am good enough, and decided to fix it. Which meant an entire re-write.

The antagonist had changed halfway through the first draft, leaving the ending mismatched from the beginning – curse those characters who take on a mind of their own. At a minimum, that needed to be fixed. I also decided to add a supernatural element to make the story more compelling. I’d set out to write mainstream fiction believing it would be easier to write (and sell) than paranormal but if you’re a genre writer like me, that isn’t always true.

With the help of my editor and writing group, I spent several months taking stock of what worked and what didn’t and came up with a plan to incorporate a supernatural subplot – the key to most of what was lacking. Along the way, some of the characters morphed, changed their motivations or got cut out completely, and some of the existing plot points had to bend to work with all the new changes. From there, I built a rough outline. One that looked very different than the original one which I’d already written.

I wrote sixty thousand words in that first draft and hoped not everything had to go. However, enough had changed that even the scenes I could still use had a different feel and a different flow in the re-write. I found it nearly impossible to salvage original writing while doing such a major overhaul. Instead of cutting and pasting, I opened the original document so I could reference it and I started from scratch.

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© Bethbee | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Every writer should know, and if you didn’t already let me be the first to break it to you so you’re prepared for it, that the editing process is often not only more difficult than writing the first draft, it is also the largest part of the overall project. Especially when you have an editor. When the editing process begins with a complete re-write, it is even harder.

For the record, I believe everyone should have an editor who can see their work from the viewpoint of the reader and identify things you, as the author, are too close to the work to see. So if you haven’t incorporated critique partners and editors into your revision process, you should reconsider. You may not always like what they have to say, but they are usually right.

Five months of writing later, I’m almost finished. Again.

No one said writing was easy. For those of us in the trenches, at times it can feel overwhelming. Just remember, each time you write a story – regardless of the length – you get better at it. The same is true of revision and editing.

Don’t lose hope. If you find yourself at “The End” and unsatisfied with the product, there are ways to rewrite and salvage it. Figure out the missing elements and have a plan before going in. Above all, never give up. Never stop writing.


Interview: Callie Stoker, Editor

CallieheadshotAs part of the official launch, I have the privilege of interviewing the talented Callie Stoker, Editor of Secrets & Doors available from Crimson Edge Publishing. Callie is a freelance editor and owner of The Manuscript Doctor.

 

 

 

 

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Open the door and unlock the secrets in eleven short stories from The Secret Door Society, an organization of fantasy and science fiction authors dedicated to charitable work. All proceeds from this anthology benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).

In these pages you’ll discover a modern woman trapped in an old fashioned dreamscape, a futuristic temp worker who fights against her programming, a beautiful vampire’s secret mission disrupted by betrayal, a sorcerer’s epic battle against a water dragon, the source of magical mirrors—and more. There are tales for every science fiction and fantasy taste, including new works from award-winning authors Johnny Worthen, Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Adrienne Monson.

Join us in the fight against T1D as you peek into a world of magical and mysterious doorways—if you dare.

 

In my own history as a reader, I never knew the value of an anthology and rarely picked them up. A collection of short stories gives you a taste of the writing style of many authors and could be the way you find your next favorite, or decide which novels you’re willing to take a chance on. Being one of the authors in this anthology, I know exactly what went into creating my individual piece. The editing process is more of a mystery. I wanted some insights – secrets even – so I sat down with Callie to get all the insider information I could.

Secrets & Doors is an anthology with eleven authors, but your name is the only one on the cover. How does that work?

The decision is ultimately up to the publisher. Some anthologies will include the author’s names on the cover, although that can often result in a busy and confusing image. For this anthology it was decided that a streamlined cover with a beautiful image would sell best, and I think we are all very pleased with the result. The editor is often the driving force behind the creation of an anthology, sending out a call for submissions and choosing from those submissions, and thus usually receives a publishing credit on the cover. The creation process for this anthology was a cohesive and synergistic one. Although my name ended up on the cover, that shouldn’t overshadow the incredible work by the Secret Door Society in writing, polishing, and perfecting their stories. I think we accomplished a lot with this collection and I’m very proud of it.

Tell us about your journey. How did you become an editor?

I started out as a writer! A wonderful group of me and three women expressed an equal desire to write, so we formed a writing group called Once Upon a Keyboard. This was ten years ago and since then, two of the women have been published, I became an editor, and we gained a new member, a copy editor, over a year ago.

My shift from writer to editor is expressed perfectly in my favorite quote by E.B. White, “An editor is a person that knows more about writing than writers do, but has escaped the terrible desire to write.” This fact was a frustration to me early on when my writing buddies would talk about their stories with such passion and I struggled to eke out a plot from a single idea. My passion emerged as I read and critiqued my fellow writers’ work. I was able to see the weakness while praising the strengths. I could clearly define what wasn’t working and put them on the path of how to make it successful.

I’ve spent the last several years intensely educating myself in the craft of writing. I believe that a good editor teaches and instructs while critiquing so that the author is left uplifted and inspired to apply a better understanding of craft to their future work.callielogo

I launched my personal business in 2014 and its success has shown me the current need writers have of an editor that can not only correct punctuation and grammar, but supply individualized instruction based on writing craft.

What goes into editing an anthology?

Anthologies are a collection of short works (stories, essays or poems) tied together by a common theme. It is the editor, often called the curating editor, who sends out a call for stories fitting the theme and reads and selects from the submittals. The curating editor also chooses the order of the stories so that each transition creates the best experience for the reader. Finally, the curating editor takes the lead in the editing process, completing or overseeing the stages of revisal.

What do you like the most about the editing process?

I am unendingly impressed by the creativity of writers. It is often said that there are no more “new ideas,” yet there are also infinite new perspectives on old ideas. I often feel privileged to read a writer’s fledgling ideas and witness as they develop. I love helping the author see how their ideas can be coaxed and nurtured into a successful story by helping them understand what kind of a story they are writing and how to make each scene and each character leap off the page.

Anything you wish you didn’t have to do as an editor?

At times I’ll need to change the tense or point of view of an entire manuscript which can be a little tedious. At the same time, making these changes is extremely satisfying when the end result is a clean draft. Proofreading may be the most tedious of tasks, but there are creative ways to go about it like changing up the font and size of the document to trick your eyes into seeing it for the first time, or reading the manuscript backwards so that you forget the story or the grammar and see only the typos or misspelled words. Sometimes I enjoy mixing up my content editing work with these tasks.

What other projects are you currently working on?

I have an ongoing client list that keeps me always reading and editing. These clients include published authors, unpublished writers, screenwriters, bloggers, and non-fiction writers. I am currently working with a publisher on the second book of a series and look forward to working in the future as a freelance editor for publishers.

Any free advice to any aspiring writers out there?

First: Read. Read. Read. Read your genre. Read outside your genre. Read the greats. Read the current stuff. A big part of storytelling is about story tropes. Tropes aren’t a bad thing, they are a recognized story form and there is a reason they exist: because they are story types that are repeated again and again. When you know the tropes, you are better equipped to treat them correctly in your own writing and to know what has come before and how to build on it. I can promise you that your level of reading will affect the depth of your writing and increase your creativity.

Second: Know what kind of story you are writing. This may seem simple and obvious, but I’m not just talking about genre and demographics (although knowing these is also important). Are you telling an adventure story? A mystery? Is this a character development story or a save the world story? The best tool for discovering this is Orson Scott Card’s M.I.C.E. Quotient. If you don’t know it, learn it. Every story is either a Milieu (Setting), Idea, Character, or Event story, or a mixture of these. When you know the story you are writing you’ll know where to begin and end your story, what conflicts to focus on, and how to create the most satisfying arc for your characters. This is the number one thing I work on with my clients.

Where can readers find you?

Please visit my website, www.themanuscriptdr.com, to see what kind of services a freelance editor can offer. If you are curious about what level of critique could help your own work, you can submit your first chapter through my website for a free sample edit. Perhaps a personal editor is exactly what your writing needs to get you to the next level.

Also find me on Facebook and Google+ as “The Manuscript Doctor” or Twitter @themanuscriptdr

Check out my writing group’s website, www.onceuponakeyboard.com. We’ve compiled the best articles, links, videos and podcasts on writing advice. We’ve done the research so you can do the writing.

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If you’d like to pre-order your copy of Secrets & Doors, you can do so at the following links.

Paperbook: https://www.createspace.com/5209804

eBook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00SNUZYGE


Why you can’t "do" NaNoWriMo if you are revising – my latest epiphany

Remember when I said I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo this year? And then I decided I was a big fat liar since I was going to do it but bend the rules and not write something new? I’m here to tell you it wasn’t a good idea. When I’m drafting a brand new story, I can bust out a couple of thousand words a day and finish while still having a life – or whatever my life usually resembles. Revisions are not the same as vomiting a story from your subconscious with the motto running through your head of “Write First, Ask Questions Later”.

I’ve written consistently this month – six days a week with the exception of the two days I was too sick to stay awake that long. But I only have 20,000 words to show for it. So what the hell is happening?

Revisions are FAR different from first drafts. I delete more words than I write because I’m focused on quality rather than sheer quantity. I’m trying to write coherent scenes that tie together and take my characters from where they are to where I know they are headed. The place they must be headed if the story is to remain consistent. And entertaining. And marketable. And entertaining. You get the point. So while I’ve been consistent, I’m only averaging about eight hundred words a day.

I started out the week feeling dejected as I saw everyone I know near the finish line. I felt stressed that the goal of “winning” with 50,000 words was slipping further and further from my grasp as this week continues with more of the same productivity. But then I remembered that my personal goal this year is very different. I’m still on track for that goal which is the only thing that’s important.

I will “win” when I finish this revision by the end of December. Oh, and submit a short story to a writing contest. Because why not? I’ve had the idea knocking around in the back of my mind and recent events make it possible to do it without treading into murky “it can’t be published yet” waters. (First rule of publishing: release deadlines never stick!)

It is uncharted territory I’m exploring. The path to figuring out exactly how to write a novel was long and fraught with hardship. Now I’m on what I’ve declared as the path to getting published. I fear it will be just as difficult and just as fraught with obstacles. But damn it’s exciting to be here!


Embarking on Revisions – and why I’m a big fat liar

Game on for NaNoWriMo 2014! Wait, what? I know. Right now you think my addiction is showing and pray that I get some help after my confession just ten short days ago. But let me explain…

When I set out last year to write my second novel, I swore it would be the one that I figured out the fearful and overwhelming process of Revisions with. All of 2014 so far has been devoted to just that. What I didn’t know, is that after I employed the services of a developmental editor it would be necessary to re-write basically every scene. Every. Single. One. Oh, and add in more of course and layer in more elements that are still missing.

My editor is phenomenal. Sometimes I hate what she tells me but it is always spot on. Seriously, if you’re a writer and you haven’t found an editor you trust then you have a moral imperative to find one. After ten years of working together, I know I can trust her not to lead me astray. (She is for hire, if you’re in need.)

I got my edits back a couple of days ago, had a meeting with her (on our yoga mats, it was beautiful) and hashed out the big things that need to be tackled. I came away knowing that while I am not writing a new story this November I’ll be completely re-writing my current one. I may as well use the website tools to track my progress and milestones and keep me on track and motivated for the entire month. Does it make me any less of a NaNo’er that I am writing 50K works of a story I’ve already hashed out? It might, but I don’t care. I will donate to cover the costs of my usage and my conscience will rest easy about my little white lie.

Holy shit, I have 11 days to prepare! And lots of questions still unanswered. Better get brainstorming… If you need me I’ll be re-visioning. Otherwise known as re-writing. There’s still time to join me and all the other November novelists at www.nanowrimo.org


Why I’m NOT doing NaNoWriMo this year

It’s October. Weeks away from my historically statistical most productive writing month of the entire year. My email is hopping with updates from National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) getting me geared up and ready. My creative juices are already brewing and I’m on a roll with new material waiting to spew forth…I’m like an addict in need of intervention!

Hi, I’m Terra and I’m addicted to NaNoWriMo and writing first drafts.

It’s been a very fruitful year for me in the writing department. And my writing group already intervened months ago forcing a commitment from me to revise one of my first drafts between now and February. I told them I would be ready to pitch to agents and publishers by then to see if I can get someone to buy one and publish it. So, I won’t be using November to write a shiny new novel – a skill I’ve mastered after having done it so many times already. Instead, I’ll be revising. A piece of the craft I have yet to master as well as the first draft. Probably a better use of my time in the grand scheme of things.

After LTUE last year I committed to writing short stories to figure out how to revise on a much smaller scale. I did it – with a story I’m super proud of but which is on draft number seven – seven – in preparation for publication. (Yes, I might have some very exciting news coming soon!) If it takes seven drafts of a novel to get it ready, I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me. Guess I better get to it! If you need me, I’ll be writing – I mean editing!


Obsessions, confessions and creativity

What a week I just had… or was it ten days? I sort of lost track. It started with this book release that I’ve been waiting for from this one author – you might have heard of him – Brandon Sanderson. Yeah, I just listened to a FORTY EIGHT HOUR audiobook in just under twelve days. With my life, that is crazy talk. And definitely explains why I have been MIA on my blog. Sorry! But, Words of Radiance is one of those books that reminds me why I love to read so much. Luckily it takes a while for him to write a tome of this magnitude so, while I swore I would never start or commit to another series that wasn’t completed after Robert Jordan died – DIED – before finishing my last fantasy obsession, I have a while between books so my life can get back to normal.

Here’s another confession – I might have been obsessing about reading because I was hiding from my novel. Creativity is such a bitch some times and this writing thing is HARD work. Sigh. I’m knee-deep in revisions on my novel from November and realized that I started the story halfway through. No biggie, I just need to go back and write the beginning. Problem is, my main character came to me after she’d gotten herself into a predicament and I hadn’t given much more than cursory thought about HOW she had gotten there. And every idea I came up with was totally cliche or worse, boring. I rationalized all week that I was “refilling the well” by reading instead of writing. That thinking about my story was the same as writing. After all, I was still thinking about my story. When I wasn’t immersed in the world Sanderson built instead of my own that is. Truth is, I barely wrote anything all week.

Sunday I woke up early to a quiet house. Should have gone for a run but instead I brewed a pot of coffee and proceeded to drink the WHOLE thing while sitting on the couch with my headphones plugged into the last hours of my book. Nobody’s perfect, right? When it was over, I had nowhere left to hide from my creative road bump I’d been grappling with all week. I dove into a project I’ve got going with my writer’s group (hiding again) and shouted out to Facebook for inspiration. At the end of the day, kids all tucked into bed and Hubby watching his latest installment of Walking Dead, I finally took my own advice and put my butt in the seat and just started writing. I knew it would probably suck. It was first draft territory after all. And, I was probably writing the equivalent of clearing my throat by faking it till I figured it all out. But it wasn’t going to write itself. Big girl panties… check.

An hour later, I had exhausted all my coffee reserves and had to force myself to stop. Yes, force. Because a few minutes into it, I found one tiny nugget of inspiration and realized I knew all along what had happened. I just had to get over myself and the irrationality about how I didn’t really know (your subconscious isn’t really you, right?) Hurdle cleared. Now on to the next one!

Someone this week reminded me that there is a huge difference between talking about writing and actually writing. My life is always an exercise in balance – on steroids most of the time. And while I’m good at juggling everything I’m not always so great at recognizing when I’m telling myself lies about what is really happening. Here’s to it getting easier to recognize next time and not wasting any more of my writing time unnecessarily.


Surprising Things I Learned

It’s the end of the first week with my new part-time job. What? You didn’t realize I have a new job? Yeah, it’s called being a writer. And it can be described no more eloquently than how I heard it from a very successful author: “butt in the chair, hands on the keyboard”. I know I should remember exactly which famous author from LTUE said it but truthfully I can’t remember if it was Larry Correia, Michaelbrent Collings or Johnny Worthen. (How’s that for name dropping, huh?) In fact, I think all three of them might have said it which is why I can’t remember exactly who it was.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. The work gets easier the more consistently I do it. And I’m more consistent when my writing time is scheduled in my calendar and everyone knows that’s what I’m doing in that time slot. It may be that I slid easily into this habit because it’s the same way I navigated writing in November when I did NaNoWriMo, but I also suspect that my logical and organized mind just needed it laid out like another commitment I had to fit into my crazy schedule.

2. Even if I only have a couple of hours on most weekdays and one day of the weekend to devote to writing, I still got FAR more accomplished than I thought I would this week. This was a pretty big surprise for me. In my corporate life, I usually need large chunks of time devoted to enormous projects to make real progress. When I don’t get that, it usually is more counterproductive to get going just to have to stop. Writing has proven far different. I can plug away in smaller time increments and still get lots of things done. This week could be an anomaly but I’m guessing it isn’t. Even my ‘Marathon Sunday’ of writing this week included time to get my house clean and my laundry done while taking advantage of my built in breaks. Since my family got my undivided time on Saturday and I wasn’t some recluse they didn’t see all day on Sunday, my guess is they may just think I’m messing around on Facebook like nothing is different. Won’t they be surprised when I have more than a Facebook feed to show for my efforts? Another bonus: I got more sleep this week than I usually do on top of doing more every day. How does that work, I wonder? I’m not complaining but I suspect not watching television has much to do with it. 

3. Revision isn’t as bad as editing when you look at it as part of the same process of writing. I always thought of the editing process as something separate from writing your first draft. Truth is, once you get the rough draft down, you just keep going and revising (or re-vision-ing as I like to think) until you can’t improve it anymore. Even then you will need another set or two of eyes to see what else there is you missed and then if it’s good enough to sell to a publisher you’ll have to do it all over with their editors. Now that I realize I can’t compartmentalize or avoid revision, it is a much more enjoyable process.

I’m currently working on several things. Which I also never trusted could be done when authors talked about writing one book and editing another. I’m brewing a new story in the back of my subconscious while I work on revisions of the novel I wrote last November. I finished reading through the first draft after I let it sit for a couple of months so I was reading with fresh eyes and a memory that had faded a bit. I found lots of plot points that needed to be fleshed out or tweaked for consistency and now I’m seeing the entire whole for places that can be improved. I find so much excitement working with a finished draft because the bare bones of the story are all there and now I’m just adding organs and connecting tissue to bring it more fully to life.

I love going back and seeing how things shift for me years down the road so I’m going to keep documenting what I think of as “My novel project” for my own hindsight as I explore what works for me and what doesn’t. Why have a blog if not for your own personal benefit, right? I’ll also keep regaling my faithful readers (all ten of you?) with the craziness of the rest of my life. Hopefully you’ll remain entertained and keep coming back. If I learned anything from attending LTUE it is that I’ve grown as a writer the last four years even if it was in miniscule steps I didn’t realize until I look back and compare then to now. If you need me, I’ll be reading, drinking excessive amounts of coffee, running around with my hair on fire to keep up with where me or my kids need to be, and writing into the wee hours of the night. My goal is to have my revisions done of my current novel by the end of the summer.


A new project for Camp NaNoWriMo

I’ve got a new project I’m working on. A new novel. And how lovely of the folks who run the NaNoWriMo website to offer the same online tracking and motivational tools and shenanigans of November in April to help me bang out the rough draft quickly this month. They call it Camp NaNoWriMo, I call it brilliant.

Wait, what? You want to know what happened with my first novel? I’m getting ahead of myself? Sorry… let me explain.

Last time I talked about my writing I was anxiously awaiting critique from my writer’s group on the first draft of my first novel and stressing that they weren’t going to like what I’d written. Well, turns out they all loved it and wanted to jump in and make it better and polished and pretty enough for submission and hopefully publication. And while I want that someday as well, I decided that wasn’t the novel to do it with for several reasons.

First, it’s my first novel. There’s a reason the majority of first novels never get published – they are learning curve victims left to die along the path to becoming a seasoned author. Of course there are famous (and not so famous) exceptions like Harry Potter (and Twilight). And I truly believe that if a new author wants to write and re-write a first novel until it is just as good as a second or a third, it is possible to learn enough on your first idea to make it happen. My good friend has done that and is well on her way to publication. I also know she has most definitely written that book more than once.

Second, I’m lazy and I want the learning return with smaller investment up front. My first book (working title “Natural Balance”) is a fantasy. And after all the time it took me to finish the first draft I still don’t have a fully fleshed out world built and there are still holes in my magic system. My goal is to someday be published which means I need to learn how to write a first draft and then how to edit that rough draft into something people want to read. So, I’ve figured out my process of completing a rough draft. But do I really want to learn how to edit using an idea that I’d honestly bitten off more than I could chew? Not so much.

Third, I’ve learned that I am not going to write fantasy for a living. While I love reading it, it just isn’t the genre niche that I’m going to be great at writing in. Another argument for not editing this one in hopes of publication. Say I worked my ass off for the next months or years and did sell this book. Then I’d (hopefully) have fans who’d want to keep reading my work because they loved my fantasy novel. And I’d have no other fantasy to give them? It was my baby, my first real idea for a book that panned out into a plot but the fact that all the subsequent ideas I’ve had are NOT fantasy is something I need to fully acknowledge. Perhaps someday I can pull my baby out of a drawer an abandoned flash drive and publish it under my well established name and hope some of the same people like this completely different piece of work. But I’ll never build a career out of one fantasy novel.

So, I’m going to practice my new-found skills of completing a rough draft by starting and finishing another idea. One that doesn’t require me to invent an entirely different world with culture and religion and magic different than ours. This new idea is mainstream fiction set in the world I live in and know everything about. All I have to do is develop some great characters who have tragic and exciting events happen to them that keep the pages turning. That’s the novel I’ll learn how to edit with. 

And where I go from there, I don’t even know yet. There’s a chance there’s still pieces of this writing thing I still don’t even know I need to learn before I’m successful. We shall see! In the meantime, my goal is 30,000 words and a fully fleshed out rough draft/outline by the end of April. Wish me luck!


The stress factor of critique

I sent my entire rough draft off to my writer’s group to read and critique late last night. I am so stressed that even in my sleep deprived state of meeting my submission deadline – self imposed so there is enough time for them to read the whole thing before we meet to discuss it – I still couldn’t sleep. What if no one likes it? What if they think it is total crap? What if their critique makes me cry? These are the thoughts going through my head.

The reality is, this is a rough draft in every sense of the word. There is at best cardboard cutouts for characters because I haven’t added all the layers and depth that need to be there. Description is very lacking in lots of places. But that’s because at this stage of the project, all I’ve done is gotten the story down from start to finish. Now the daunting process of editing for content and pacing and characterization and all the other things that I don’t have at this point will begin.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Writing is hard work! Wish me luck that my fellow writers like it enough to invest their time and effort into helping with that editing and revision process so that others may someday read it, too.