Sunday, May 31, 2009

Typing and Text

I'm not an authority on the many ways of writing first drafts, but I've used two different ways, which I have found very different.

Method 1: I type my first draft. To me, this method feels more permanent, as though the typed draft is a more real version. On the other hand, there's much less of a chance of my losing or damaging the computer than there is of something happening to a composition notebook. That's comforting, though I'm not fond of how fixed things feel after I've typed them.

Method 2: I write the first draft in a notebook. I like this method, because I can keep a composition book around with me much more easily than I can a computer. Also, the lack of permanence provides me with a certain level of comfort. Now, anything that isn't entirely perfect can be edited was I'm typing it into the computer later. It doesn't have to count. I like that thought.

At this moment, I'm partial to the notebook. My version of the notebook is a tamed down version of the notebook as created by one of my friends. Hers could eat mine for its supper. (Think Monster Book of Monsters having a go at The Standard Book of Spells.) Her version is a little less organized than mine with ideas scribbled in as they came to her. My mind can't quite handle that sort of thinking. Instead, I prefer to keep my ideas in my head until I know how I'm going to use them. Then, when the time comes for them to enter the story, I write them in my book. If I feel that I simply must put something on paper in case I forget it, then I put it on a post-it note which I them store in the book. So, I guess that's another method.

Method 3: The mother of all notebooks, in which all ideas and thoughts are stored in the book. If you type pages part way through the writing process, feel free to tape/staple/binder clip those pages and their related notes into the text at the point you wish to. I'm not a fan of this -- her book scares me and confuses me to boot -- but if it works for you, then I recommend one keeps going with it. What works works.

I guess the moral of the story is that whatever method works for you is the method that you should use. However, you should be open to new options of writing methods, because they may be a better fit for you than anything you've tried yet.

Questions: Does anyone have a different method of drafting that they find works well? Is there something you've tried that you think might work well for others?

Thursday, May 28, 2009


I have officially completed the process of writing what I am now thinking of as version4.0 of my formerly shelved MS. This makes me very happy, even if doing all of my changes made me want to beat my head against the wall.

I realized something I'd forgotten. Writing this story was cool, wonderful, crazy, and stressful. I inserted a subplot into the story, so I was writing something that I hadn't written in a good long time. I'd almost forgot the happy feeling I get I write a really cute scene or the stress of finding the right way of describing something I've only previously imagined.

'Wait' hisses the voice in my brain. 'You're writing right now, aren't you? You're in the middle of something else, too. Two something elses.' I discovered on this that writing in a notebook and typing are two very different feelings for me. But that's a discussion for another time.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Machete Revisions

Okay, I did it. I have officially read through the entirety of my previously shelved MS **performs ridiculous dance of victory and joy**. God reading it took a while. I haven't actually done the whole rewriting bit -- and that'll take a it, because I'm adding a previously undreamed of subplot -- but hopefully it'll be a better story because of it. Most of what I did reading through was seek and destroy the redundant bits and the overused adverbs. And I marked off where I'm inserting my scenes of my subplot. Yay!

I noticed something interesting. Some pages suffered brutally from my blue pen (yes, that's right, I use blue) whereas others were only minimally scathed. And I can't tell which I preferred. I always felt that the passage had been very much improved after I hacked it up, so sometimes an almost untouched section made me feel like I might be missing the flaws. I've been trying to comfort myself that maybe those passages are just good parts, but I'm not so sure.

Well, anyway, simple joys, I am now ready to begin rewriting. So, this are about to get better. Happiness. :-)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Working Blue

Okay, if you're like basically everyone I've met who's over the age of 15, you probably use more swear words that you'd like to. I know I do. And, possibly more particular to me, I blaspheme. A lot. So, what's to be done about characters?

A lot of the time, my protagonists talk the way I do. And their friends will probably talk the way my friends and I talk, as well. The down side to that? Generally, my characters aren't living in 21st century America. Heck, often enough, they're not on this planet. So, I guess the inevitable question is, if they don't live like us, can they swear like us?

Personally, I tend to create my own cuss words. My new MS is heavy on oaths like "by the shining moon" or "falling stars" because of the culture of the characters. Those are my replacements for "oh, for the love of God" and "Jesus Christ" and the twenty-something other blasphemies and curses that might have come to my everyday lips.

Anyone else have this problem? How much cursing is really acceptable in a book? How much, as an author, can a person create for a text?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Massive Revisions

Okay, I never thought I'd have to say this about my writing, but I'm scared of it. Right now, I'm actually fricking petrified at the thought of touching my MS.


A few months back, I shelved a project. It was very, very troubled, and I didn't know how to help it. So, I decided to run away to other things.

Except, now, I know how to fix it. I think I've found what it needs to be significantly better. And I still running away, far and fast.


I'm scared. It's still really troubled -- and will remain so until I finally unpack my machete -- and that's really daunting. I guess I'll have to do it eventually. I'm just really wimping out right now. Oh, the shame.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's All Been Done

This past week, I handed the outline of a story over to a friend of mine. I wanted to know what she thought of the general plot and the main characters. She looked at it, and decided that it was basically the same story everyone and his second cousin has already written. To prove her point, and a have good laugh at me, she handed it to some mutual friends who were nearby. They agreed with her.

I scowled, retrieved my notes, and resisted the temptation to do something childish. She told me to stick with my other WIP. (She thinks I need to commit. I say, until I get that WIP back from my Alpha reader, I think I'm free to explore other ideas. The MS and I are allowed to see other people.) Searching for some positive feedback -- I really don't want to let this story go -- I passed the notes on to another writer I know.

Her notes were rather positive. She liked the characters. As for the plot, she whispered (she doesn't want anyone to know she really thinks this) that sometimes originality is over-rated. Not everything has to be unique and groundbreaking. Personally, I concur. While I will do my best to avoid any form of literary cliche, some things are classic a reason.