Blame is making us sick. Splashed across mass market media, our communities, and our homes is a maelstrom of finger-pointing targeting the mighty and the ordinary alike. A different storm of blame, a sickness silent and unnoticed, also rages across our country – one where the finger-pointing is turned inward.
Hopefully these one-liners I’ve collected on the craft of writing will help you, and perhaps not just in writing.
- DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY
- Be true to your I.Q.
- Embrace idiosyncrasies
- Make them laugh and/or make them cry
- “…a lot of times if you’re finding that you’re having to describe things with a lot of adverbs, find a stronger verb instead” – CJ Lyons interview
- Go beyond the five senses
- Forget about being pretty
- Don’t fall into stereotypes
- “Verbs are the foot soldiers of action-based description”
Work continues on the Salvage project, and I’m starting to spend time thinking about structure for the Blue project — occasionally even the Sifa and Peter project.
Ramping up for the new year, now!
Several science fictions works are in progress as I gather ideas for work in other genres. Sifa and Peter, my original novel, remains on hold, as does the children’s series Zeddy and Bubba.
I have my first critique partner! So exciting!
My novel and children’s series continue on hold. I’m working on a revision of my science fiction short story, incorporating feedback from online and from my critique partner.
It’s been interesting learning how to add more emotion beats to my write and learning that sometimes the subtlety I shoot for — well, sometimes it’s just too subtle for the reader.
Writing Skill Development Takes Precedence
I’m not pushing to complete any of my works in progress at this point. Instead, I’ve switched gears to improving my writing skills. This involves incorporating feedback (thank you, Absolute Write Forums!) back into my stories and improving the way emotions are conveyed in my stories. I’m using not only my works in progress but also snippets from my writing journal. Stay posted for more before and after examples!
Being a Plotter
Entire arguments exist on the web about writing a book by the seat of your pants (pantsters) and writing by planning the structure in advance (plotter). What I’ve found is that capturing my dreams and ideas is great as a pantster, but to write well I need to be a plotter.
So, my major ideas are now organized into a MS Word table identifying concept, premise, and M.I.C.E. quotient. A few of these I’ve developed with a synopsis as well as major setup, conflict, climax, and resolution. One or two now have heavily developed character charts.
Still reviewing my works in progress and developing better premises for my current list of ideas. Sifa and Peter is still on hold, as is Zeddy and Bubba. I’ve turned my attention to several science fiction ideas. One may work as a short story, and another fits an episodic novella concept quite well, at least at this point.
I’ve received feedback on my writing from the amazing folks over on Absolute Write. I’ve submitted the first scene from Sfia and Peter and two thousand words of Out of the Blue 2.0 (see the Science Fiction section), as well as asking for feedback on Zeddy and Bubba as a concept.
Several people touched on the same things in their comments, and those things turn out to be related to what I’m working on in my personal life. Why am I surprised?
- Over-explain. I explain in too much depth and width. Anyone who knows me well knows that! And it clearly shows up in my writing
- Emotional Distance. The readers don’t feel close to my characters. Since I struggle to clearly identify and express my emotions to others, it’s not surprising this showed up in my writing.
- Timing. My sense of timing, of when to go in greater depth with the settings versus the moment of tension, needs work. Ha! If you know me, you know my tendency to blurt, or to say the last thing first, etc.
- Lack of clarity. Sometimes the readers are left wondering “Why?” too much, especially in regard to what the character’s motivations.
The comments were by no means all negative. I’m just focusing on what’s wrong to make it better. Stay tuned!
Status? Well, I still haven’t met my goal of 10 hours a week writing.
But, I’ve reached my 50 post goal on Absolute Write, so I can now submit stories for critique! Wahoo!
When I say “ready,” I don’t mean I actually think my chapters are ready. I like to keep going over and over the same scenes, tweaking them and making them better. But, one does finally reach a point of diminishing returns. One does reach a point when one shows one’s baby to the world.
So, I’m ready for an avid reader or two to read the first four chapters of Sifa and Peter and tell me what he or she thinks. Researching beta-reading and identifying readers will occupy much of my administrative overhead this month.