27 February 2013

New Plan

Yep. I changed my plan.

I'm sure I've mentioned that I don't deal with change well. So this changing of my writing plan required lots of thought and activation energy. But, in keeping with "Going with the Flow" I said I'd adopt, and in doing something that excites me, and hopefully others given that I want my writing to eventually reach lots of others, I've chosen a new course of action.

My new plan consists of three main activities:

  1. Death's Revision: Figure out what needs to be done to the 1st draft to make the story shine and get it done. 
  2. Akeva's Revision: As it is mostly revised, finish the type-in I started a while ago. Once I have enough of it in the computer, I'll figure out a schedule  and publish it to my blog. 
  3. Shorts: Keep writing moments and snippets from various writing prompts, do those writing exercises that I skipped over, and post to my blog.
Putting this plan here on my blog declares my intentions, so that I stick to it and get it done. 

With that said, I'm off to find working titles and cover images for both stories.  Until next time.

21 February 2013

Which one?

What path to take?

That's the question. Not the question of self-published or traditional. For that one, I'm chosing both. Eventually.

The question deals with the Eventually bit --  The Which Story to Revise and Finish Question.

I now have four stories in different stages of revision, and I can't seem focus on just one of them.

My husband suggests working on Death's story, if only to take a break from Winter's story. I've received positive responses from a few of my blog readers on a few excerpts of Akeva's story. After asking some old friends for their take and expertise on Angie's story, I feel obligated to get that one finished and queried. (Sentence summaries for each of the stories are below.)

Do I drive myself mad and do them all at once? Do I focus on one and deal with the guilt of letting the others languish? Nevermind the bits of Jerl's (I think that's his name) story that burst out in my 21 Moment writing challenges.

Can you see my dilemma?

Out of curiosity, which story would you like to see first? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, I'll work on ... something.

Winter's Story: Jack Frost's betrayal of his fiance, Winter -- The Winter Goddess and child of Mother Nature and Father Time, will result in a devastating ice age unless Winter can find her passion in time to stop him. (Working Title: Winter's Tango)

Akeva's Story: Lightning strikes and turns Akeva Riordan's world upside down, and back centuries. Struggling to live and love without that which she left behind in the modern world, Akeva's happiness and life are at risk again, this time from a traveler desperate to get back to his own time.

Angie's Story: Angie Cruz, a struggling computer specialist, comes face to face with her old boyfriend, who she thought had been The One, and in order to keep from going bankrupt, she must pretend to be his fiance to catch a cyber identity thief.

Death's Story: The only one who can save mankind from a forgotten god's vengeance also benefits from their destruction ... Death. Can she be convinced that the human race is worth saving?

01 February 2013

My Take on "Revision and Self-Editing for Publication"

After taking James Scott Bell's free webinar, "Novel Revision: Craft a Story Readers Can't Put Down", I bought his Revision and Self-Editing for Publication, 2nd edition.

As I've yet to embrace the revision side of writing, I was hoping that this book would give me some tools to make revising less hellish.

Here's My Take on the book...

The majority of the book, Part 1: Self-Editing, contains chapters on story fundamentals like characters, scenes, dialogue, and exposition. Bell briefly describes each topic, then offers advice on how to tighten, deepen, or heighten the tension in your story based on the most common mistakes that writers make. Each chapter ends with a summary and exercises to develop your craft for that story element.

In the Character chapter, Bell suggests creating a Character Voice Journal. This free-form journal would be used to capture a character's stream of consciousness,  to develop a unique voice for a character. The idea of using a journal for a character was new to me and something that I plan on using in the future.

The rest of the book, Part 2: Revision, offers advice on how to tackle a revision. The last chapter contains "The Ultimate Revision Checklist." This checklist covers each of the story elements he touched on in Part 1 with questions to consider for each element and common fixes for problem areas.

Bell included something he calls The Three O questions, which revolve around Objective, Obstacle, and Outcome, and are designed to fix the worst scenes in a story. The questions require brainstorming and going beyond the obvious or easy solution to find unique O's to make the story fresh and unique. I can see this being a useful tool for my revisions to avoid predictable stories.

Much of Bell's advice has been covered in other writing craft books that I've read, and served as a great reminder. I appreciated his suggestions to correct common issues. I'll try out a few of them in my next revision and maybe while outlining my next story.

I wished that the Ultimate Revision Checklist was available as downloadable content. However, I typed a majority of the checklist so that I can have it on my computer and tablet for easy reference.

Did I get what I wanted from the book? No. I think I wanted a magic wand that would give me a way of revising that would be easy. But based on what I've experienced and seen in Bell's book, I'm realizing that revising isn't supposed to be effortless. (I just wish it wasn't so painful.)

Would I recommend the book to other writers? Yes. For new writers, it's a good overview of issues to look for with advice on how to tackle them. More experienced writers could use this book as a refresher and quick reference tool.

So that's My Take. Has anyone out there read or used this book? In the comments, give me Your Take, Let me know what worked, or didn't work, for you.