It’s All In The Revisions #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #writetip

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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This month, I’m reporting top tips to begin a second draft of a work in progress. I’ve learned the best advice is to settle my impatience and let the first draft sit to clear the canvas in my mind. My own first draft was completed back in March.  A reasonable amount of time has passed and I’ve since moved on to other projects.

So now that I’m ready to make revisions, I admit, I didn’t know where to start and I’m sharing tips from a great author, Marissa Meyer. She reflected over her process in draft two of Cressa. Please visit her post as she provides lovely details of her process.

Here goes her tips and a few simple reflections:

  1. Print out your first draft.
    Make notes of plot holes, questions, characters who may have been left out for lengthy chapters and need to be added back to remind the reader they exist. Ask yourself, how can I make life worse? What challenges can I throw into these scenes to add tension or correct realism in dialogue? How can I be mean to my characters I may have delicately danced over in the first draft?
  2. Import Draft One into Scrivener. Meyer used word to write her first draft. To begin her second draft, she imported everything into Scrivener. Have you tried it yet? I love it to pieces. Then use the synopsis note card and write two to three sentences to summarize each chapter.
  3. Plan the revisions from your notes.
    Start with the big holes or changes you would like to see. Review the changes you note are not working and plot new scenes, brainstorm character changes, and ways to fix the holes. For me, I have a character who drops off the planet half way through the book, for good reasons, but not the right emotional reasons. Fixing her location will most definitely create new details and new scenes. Fixing her location and creating new scenes will further enhance one of the major themes in my story and was dropped in the first draft. I don’t want it dropped.
  4. Revisit the plot structure. 
    Add the new scenes and revise old ones. Scrivener has a terrific cork board to drag and drop scenes. I love being able to move things around. I love Scrivener’s character and location templates. I may do some more research on specific locations I’ve picked in the book and add them to my notes.
  5. Focus on the subplots.
    Marissa Meyer mentions the first draft is about the larger plot. She takes more time in the second draft to flush out the details in subplots. For instance, backgrounds and histories and why characters do what they do. The subplots lead to deeper themes and plots readers crave. Once I rewrite the location of one of my characters, I’ll have satisfied some deeper emotional subplots of sisters and strengths and weaknesses in families and how together we create balance and solve problems we can’t always do alone.

So this is my plan. I’m starting this week. Wish me luck in the next few months and if you have any other tips on second draft revisions and organization, I’d love to hear it.

Never begin at the beginning #IWSG #amwriting

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome Co-Hosts:  Toi Thomas, T. Powell Coltrin, M.J. Fifield, and Tara Tyler!

Check out our IWSG homepage. Find out the news on the theme of the next anthology. I’m terribly excited! And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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Beginnings are always messy for me. I think one thing. It plays out an entirely different plan then I wanted. Don’t you hate it when you want a scene so bad but it just isn’t the right place to start?

Do you make it right? Can you? How do you make a scene right when it feels sort of wrong?

I wish I knew. I’m so insecure this month. I have a myriad of scenes written for this story and it was really fun to create the pieces before the puzzle snapped together. What I struggled with so desperately were the edges of the puzzle. The very beginning if you must, and I wanted this darn gray cat to fit. 🙂

In any case, I’m offering tips today on what I found seemed to help me fit the puzzle together.

Here goes all. Four tips to get into the right first scene.

  1. Time and place.

My father taught me this one. He always loved books that began with a quick reference and dropped the reader right into the world.  Draw the picture. Then add the conflict.

  1. Emotional Appeal.

This piece has always been my favorite when I watch movies. If I don’t connect in the first scene with someone, and even in the first five minutes, I turn it off. I leave the room. I have to investment in a character and feel something for he or she.

  1.  Goal.

Share the character goal or what they aren’t able to obtain. Give a snapshot of the character and why they want what they want so bad.

  1. Theme.

Whatever your genre is or the message you want to say, make the opener count. I even read once to let the beginning reflect the way the ending plays out too. This time, I did write the ending first, so that helped me tremendously.

What works for you? Do you ever write the opening scene out in different ways? That’s what happened to me. Then whichever one ignited my writing fury, I went there. I picked that one.

A great resource to check out for additional tips on first scenes.

I did digress from the question this month. I think I’m still trying to find my way as far as publishing is concerned and I hope one day, I’ll figure it all out 😉

New Story, New Tips #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #writetip

Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The Author Toolbox Blog Hop is “a monthly blog hop on the theme of resources/learning for authors: posts related to the craft of writing, editing, querying, marketing, publishing, blogging tips for authors, reviews of author-related products, anything that an author would find helpful.” Want to jump into the writing tool box? Search #AuthorToolboxBlogHop or to join via blog, click here.

Thank you Raimey!

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Or at least a refresher on some old ones 🙂

I imagine we all have our own ways when we want or need to generate a new story totally different from anything we’ve ever written in our pasts.

In my own previous tips, I’ve talked about flash fiction and idea generation based on quick pictures I select on pinterest then combine two to three to get my own visuals rolling strong.

Recently, I’ve come across a new resource called The Marshall Plan Workbook: Writing Your Novel From Start to Finish, by Evan Marshall.

I wish I had this planner when I first started. It answers so many basic questions I clumsily stumbled through. And even if you have your own favorite resource, I thought this one is definitely worth mentioning today.

Where to begin? Genre. Research what the market requires and then the story may begin:

Loosely Define the “Lead”

“A novel must be about one person’s quest to attain a goal and it must be clear that this person’s actions are of primary importance in the story.” (Marshall, 35)

So what does loosely mean? According to The Marshall plan, know the age and sex of the character based on the genre and what is expected in the genre. Some genres may care more than others, like Romance. Romance genres tend to have more female protagonists then male.

Define the Crisis

What event occurs to “upset the normal order of things for the subject of the story?”

We need to know our character’s goal to fix this crisis.

What I really liked from Marshall’s book was the Suppose List to help generate the crisis of the story. I liked the permission given to generate any and all ideas from the news, our lives, people watching or interviews we conduct. I personally started with researching current news in the city where I plan to base my entire story.

I Googled the local city and found a daily newspaper website. Of course it wanted me to subscribe and though I wasn’t interested in paying a subscription for all the stories, I did find the same news on Facebook, which in my opinion was even better.

Keep a Trends Journal

For me, Scrivener will be my hub instead of an actual journal. I’ll use the index card set up and the research section to house pictures, fashion, and news stories I find of interest. Also important to do to help write for the senses is a character photo collage. Then develop a list of mannerisms from studying the pictures and let your mind wander about backgrounds and pasts. All of these mannerisms should relate back to your “Suppose” brainstorm.

Story Goal Worksheet

I’ve seen quite a few story goal worksheets. The one in the Marshall Plan has some specific evaluative checklists to consider after each goal section you brainstorm.

My favorite checklist questions:

_ Will upset lead’s life enough so that he/she must try to solve it?

_ Most logical under the circumstances?

_ If Lead fails, he/she will suffer terrible consequences?

Lastly, Research

Marshall talks about an excellent point worth noting, “When Not to Do Background Research.”

Marshall questions the length and time of a person’s research relative to the length in planning a believable and intriguing story to the reader of the genre. It’s suggested if we know nothing about a topic and we have a story deadline to meet, we might want to pick something else to write in order to make a year deadline for a publication.

There are so many other wonderful worksheets for specific focus of all the players in your book. Next month, I’ll go over thoughts on romance, and how to know if it’s important to the story or not. 🙂

Start Today, No Matter What #IWSG #nevergiveup #Writetip

[I wrote this post as a member of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our worries and also offer support and encouragement to each other on the first Wednesday of every month. If you’re a writer like me and you’re looking for a bit of support, you can click the link and sign up here]

This month’s awesome co-hosts are: Me, Sandra HooverLee Lowery, and the hilarious Susan Gourley!

There’ something very exciting you should know. Check out our IWSG homepage. Find out the news on the theme of the next anthology. I’m terribly excited! And as always, thank you to founder Alex J. Cavaugh 🙂

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The beginning by plato

“Where should I start? I texted my old Jiko this question, and she wrote back this: … You should start where you are.”
― Ruth OzekiA Tale for the Time Being

When you begin something new and different, it’s a silent mystery …

… unknown stories and characters unfold and develop across your page.

You set first deadlines. You’re excited when you meet them. Then before you know it you’ve done what you’ve set out to do so then what?

This month’s IWSG question asks: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?

Back in 2008, I made plenty of mistakes. You know what? I don’t regret a thing in the writing process. I do have one wish, and a wish isn’t really a regret, right? In any case,  I wish I’d been armed with more information about the industry and today, it’s easier then ever to find out what works and what expectations publishers have for submissions. So here’s a list of my five top tips, and I must say I am by no means an editor.

  1. Genre word count.
    Over a year ago, I attended a writing workshop and an agent mentioned my story synopsis was interesting, then she asked me if I knew what the standard word count for Young Adult was. I had no idea a cap existed and my word count would have sent a flurry of query rejections being 10,000 words over acceptable submissions.
  2. Wordiness Hurts more then Helps.
    Be careful about describing a place or character too many times. Unless of course something changes drastically to change the mood or hint at the growth. Also combine setting with character action with the use of strong verbs and adjectives relative to the character.For Example from Victoria Schwab’s This Savage Song:

    • “Still humming, Kate returned to the liquor cabinet on the pew and uncorked the various bottles, anointing the seats, row after row, trying to make the contents last. She saved Mother Alice’s whiskey for the wooden podium at the front. A Bible sat open on top, and in the moment of superstition, Kate spared the book. Lobbing it out the open front door and onto the grass. When she stepped back inside, the damp, sweet smell of alcohol assaulted her senses. “
    • In this example, we see not only strong verbs and adjectives, but they match with the character’s superstitious nature and a hint of where she’s been. Religious boarding school. And she’s trying as hard as she can to get out.
  3. Telling and Showing Action Scenes
    I can’t begin to explain how difficult this task was as I started writing. So many people told me about it, but I couldn’t see it. Not until a fellow writing and author friend took my story and shared examples from it with me, then gave me a showing way to write the sentence. Finally, I got it.
  4. Effective Use of Dialogue Tags
    Said and asked are correct dialogue tags to use. They’re natural transitions and become invisible to the reader:
    “Sara’s head dipped for a fast moment in class, but she caught herself. She pinched her arm and willed her eyes open larger, up and down to stay awake.
    “Rough night?” Betsy asked, gripping the back of Sara’s chair.
    Sara elbowed her back and sat up straight. “Understatement of the year,” she said.
  5. Misplaced Modifiers
    I learned about modifiers in a corporate writing training class. There are things called dangling modifiers and even misplaced modifiers. Be aware. The use or absence of them clouds the clarity of your writing.

So that’s it for today. Wow! A lot, I know, my head is spinning 🙂

The important thing to note is you have to do what you love. Write. Set deadlines. Write some more because you love it. Because you need to do something for you, even if it’s only 5 minutes a day 🙂

Happy IWSG day everyone! I’ll be jumping around visiting you too 🙂

P.S. The article I used for tips:

https://blog.reedsy.com/six-common-writing-mistakes/