On the First Read-Through

Posted on March 3, 2010. Filed under: Editing, My Writing | Tags: , , , , |

It’s been an incredibly busy day. I’ll make a short post. Wednesdays are hopefully going to be my days to update you on the editing progress this month and tell you all the fun things I’m working through on my manuscript for Fire and Ice Bound.

With that said, I’ll start by explaining how I want my first read-through to go.

I’ve already read through the prologue and the first chapter. I may or may not ditch the prologue after the advice Orson Scott Card gives in his how to book. I haven’t decided yet.

My first read-through, for better or for worse, is simply going to be a grammar check. The only reason for that is I know myself too well. If I reread what I’ve written, I’ll go nuts every time I find a comma splice or misspelling. So I’m reading critically for grammar first.

But I almost forgot to mention my program! As a NaNoWriMo winner, I had the opportunity to cash in on some great winner offers. Obviously the one most NaNo-ers care about is the free proof copy from CreateSpace, and I definitely plan to use my coupon and get my proof copy once my manuscript passes inspection. However, there’s another awesome offer that a select number of NaNo-ers were able to cash in on this year as well.

I say select because it really depends on what type of operating system you use. Anyone using an Apple was able to cash in on this offer, and it’s pretty fabulous. The NaNo winners were able to purchase Scrivener at a 50% discount from the cover price.

Scrivener is a word processor, but it’s not just a word processor. It was created with writers in mind, specifically writers of longer pieces of fiction, like novels. Scrivener allows you to do some really awesome things: combine all your story documents into one giant file, use the corkboard to move and manipulate the order of your story, divide each chapter into scenes, edit, use the full-screen mode for minimal distractions while writing, and so much more.

It’s a pretty intriguing program, and I’m just now exploring it through editing Fire and Ice Bound and writing The Macchiato Murders and Tales from Lucy, but there are a lot of things I’ve yet to figure out. It has everything from a standard novel manuscript form to a tutorial to scriptwriting features, and it’s pretty simple to operate.

So I’ve imported all my chapters from the NaNovel into Scrivener and have read through the prologue and first chapter, making minor wording changes and a few rewrites or deletes. It’s not great, and it needs a lot of sculpting and shaping to make it work, but it’ll be worth it.

This is the beginning of my editing process, and I know everyone edits differently, so what’s your starting point? A brisk read-through to get a feel for the whole story? Chapter by chapter or scene by scene revisions? Let me know! I’d love to hear tips and tricks from the pros (or the not-so-pros as the case may be).

-Rae-

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The Writer’s Rush

Posted on February 7, 2010. Filed under: Fantasy, My Writing | Tags: , , |

Today is a long day; suffice it to say it’s the Superbowl rush at our house.

I’m going to begin posting a series of Sunday blogs based on either sermons at church or Christian books I’ve read. I’ll also post below the Sunday part of the blog with a normal post. Most of these will include a quote whether it be from a writer, a book, or the Bible (which, yes, I know it’s a book, but I figured it’s somewhat distinguishable from other books). If you don’t want to read it, feel free to skip down to the bold heading below.

Quote for today: “I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” – Mark Twain

The Thought: My pastor used this quote in conjunction with the question: “What are you afraid of?” If you’re a Christian, this quote applies because we claim to believe in a God who’s powerful enough to control our tomorrows and thus have no real need to worry about or fear the future. And, truthfully, it applies if you’re not a Christian as well. Tell me, how many things have you worried about over the years that never came to pass? I think Twain makes a rather good point, don’t you?

See? That was painless. Now onto the rest of the post…

Once again, I’m writing about writing. But this is a celebratory post, so get excited with me.

At exactly 12:28 a.m., I wrote the last words of Fire and Ice Bound, completing my NaNoWriMo 2009 novel. Yes, it’s a rough draft. Yes, it needs a ton of work. Yes, I’ll be editing the entire month of March.

But… here’s the kicker: I finished writing a novel all by myself.

How many people can claim that? The numbers are high enough, but really, that’s not the point. I set out to do it, and I accomplished what I wanted to accomplish. For me, it’s with both a sense of elation and excitement that I wrote the final words of my novel, closing that chapter of the story.

Now I can move on to the sequel… after copious amounts of editing in March, of course. But it’s done, and I can also move on to the next items in my ever increasing goals list for 2010. I’m happy and pleased with myself and feel I’ve given myself a sense of self-discipline I didn’t have before.

In case you’re interested, here are some of the stats about my novel. I promise not to overwhelm you with posts about the content of the book; that’s for another site.

With no further ado:

Title: Fire and Ice Bound

Genre: Fantasy (possibly YA Fantasy)

Total Number of Chapters: 18

Total Number of Pages: 158 (single-spaced, 12-point font Times New Roman)

Total Number of Words: 90,066

I’m thrilled and excited and also exhausted from all the work I’ve done both on the novel and around the house lately. I am definitely looking forward to taking a break from writing novels and beginning other projects.

Now that I’ve completed my story, I feel comfortable saying that I won’t write about it again until I begin the editing process next month. In fact, I’m hoping to have a post on reading for you tomorrow, which would be a nice change of pace, don’t you think? Unless someone asks, I’ll leave my synopsis out of this blog. See my link above for the synopsis posted to my other blog.

Anyway, I’m in a very celebratory mood despite being tired, so I’m rather looking forward to my parent’s Superbowl party tonight. When I hear everyone cheering the teams on, I’ll throw in a cheer of my own for my story.

Feel like joining me? 😀 I hope you all have fabulous Sundays, and please leave any comments or questions you may have. Thank you for reading this little self-centered post, and I promise to leave references of my writing out of the next one!

-Rae-

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Question about Fantasies

Posted on February 6, 2010. Filed under: Books, Fantasy | Tags: , , , , , |

This is going to be a rather short post as my grandparents are due here in less than fifteen minutes. My poor mother has been in her “panic mode,” which is normal for a day like today. Thus the reason I’ve been up since 9 a.m. but have not managed to do much beyond vacuuming. Not that I mind; I promised I’d help. I just didn’t realize my grandparents were coming over today.

With that said, let’s jump right into my tentative post for the day.

I was thinking last night as I wrote about how the fantasy genre has developed. And perhaps I’m a bit limited in my scope because I must point out that I’m no expert. My jaunt through the fantasy world has been rather underdeveloped, I must admit.

By the way, if anyone wants to offer opposing viewpoints on this post, I’d be happy to hear them because I’m genuinely curious.

Most of the fantasy books I’ve read have been a part of a series. In fact, I’d almost wager that all of the fantasies I’ve read have been in a series of some sort. This brings me to examining my own story that I’m writing. (Yes, I’m going to talk about it some more, so forgive me if it’s boring.)

The novel I’m writing is nearly completed in its initial rough draft form. I’m going to tentatively say that I’ll finish it this evening sometime because that was the original plan. However, the story is by no means “completed” in any way, shape, or form. It begs a sequel, possibly two.

So I’m wondering: is fantasy unique in the fact that it is quite possibly the only genre that nearly requires authors to think in terms of sequels, trilogies, and series?

Perhaps my limitations come from the fact that series fantasy is what I’ve been exposed to. And I’ll admit I hadn’t really considered sci-fi because a) fantasy and sci-fi can almost fit into the same niche, and b) I haven’t read much sci-fi (though what I have read is a series).

So here are the questions I want to leave you with:

1. Do you have any recommendations for fantasies that are stand-alone novels? I’d like to be introduced to some new authors and books that might be intriguing. If it’s “high fantasy,” I’d be even more interested as that’s mainly where my interest lies. (Though steampunk is something I haven’t read, I’d be willing to try it.)

2. If you can’t think of stand-alone fantasies, do you feel that the fantasy genre has developed into one that begs for sequels and series? Or do you simply think it’s something readers have begged for?

Okay, those are my questions. As it’s almost noon, I believe I need to end this post. We’ll have company soon. Feel free to comment and tell me your thoughts on the matter. I look forward to hearing them!

-Rae-

P.S. I’ll get around to commenting on pretty much everyone’s blogs who commented on any of mine, hopefully tonight after I’m done with the rest of my day, so don’t think I’m not paying attention! (And thanks for being patient with me! 😀 )

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Write What You Know

Posted on February 4, 2010. Filed under: Books, Fantasy, My Writing, writing | Tags: , , , , , |

Pen

It’s a simple piece of advice echoed in thousands of ways. “Write what you know.” That’s what I’ve heard, read, and seen in people’s writing over the years. And it’s the single piece of advice I’ve heard most from others who write.

So I have a question.

How many writers actually do this?

Yes, of course, I understand there are elements of truth in all fiction. That’s quite obvious. And I know writers tend to put a little bit of themselves into what they write. That’s one of the reasons so many authors are passionate about what they do.

But if you take apart the elements of the story, how much of what authors write do they actually know?

Since I’m asking the question, I’ll use myself as the example. (It works well considering I don’t want to make claims on another author’s behalf.)

For NaNoWriMo, I planned, outlined, and wrote a majority of a fantasy novel. Like most fantasies, my novel was written entirely in a made-up world. The countries I created were not based off the United States in any real way. Nor was the continent based off North America (though I could certainly argue that my inclusion of three countries within my continent is similar to N.A.).

My fantasy elements are all based off elements in nature, so perhaps I’m writing what I know there. However, instead of using a typical four-element society, I dreamed big and wrote a ten-element society, which I’m still getting the hang of.

For the most part, my fantasy world is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I’ve never experienced a world where the most advanced form of transportation is through horse-drawn carriages, nor have I experienced a journey through a wild forest on foot that lasts more than a day.

I don’t know what it would be like to wield an element in nature, nor the extent to which a person would have to practice in order to control that element. And I don’t know what it’s like to watch a very close friend tortured to death.

These are just a few of the elements I’ve thrown into my world. Now I’m not trying to generate interest in my novel; I’m just explaining why I wonder how much writers actually know about the worlds they write in.

I do understand some of my world, for sure. My characters have become my friends, and I understand and know them. I know the friendships and relationships I’ve created, and I see the web I’ve weaved to tie them all together.

And as a great portion of what I write is in some way, shape, or form loosely based on others’ works that I’ve read or watched, I know those things, too. But it makes little sense to me to claim that I’m writing what I know.

I’m curious. Are there any other writers out there who have similar problems? And is it related more to the experience the author has? I’m relatively new to the art of writing a novel as this is the first one I plan to finish. So maybe I just don’t understand because I haven’t really been there yet.

Thoughts? Comments? I’d love to hear others’ perspectives. Let me know what you think.

-Rae-

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