Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Before You Start Your Story

You know how authors release novellas or shorts between novels in a series? I tried this "extras" technique out on two WiPs, and it's crazy how much it helped. The trick is to write them before you pen a word of your first draft.

All you need to do is take your protagonist back to a point in his or her life that will be important to the plot later. Doesn't have to be pivotal, as long as they discuss or think about it in the actual manuscript.

Get your pen/computer/typewriter out, and write the scene. You'll have a better understanding of your character and their motivations, as well as setting, the relationship with other characters, and backstory. Makes a huge difference.

Happy writing!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

What I'm Up To

Happy 2013! I'm personally looking forward to this year. No reason. Just am.

I haven't been online much recently because I'm getting a new manuscript together in a rather unusual way.

Many of you might be having this problem - you're trying to write something and all you can think is agentagentagent or readerreaderreader or publishedpublishedpublished and you can't seem to get those chants out of your head. That's what happened to me. My work wasn't nearly as "me" as my initial writing, and it lost its fun, no matter what I tried. So I took the agent-reader-published craziness out of the equation and began writing in a notebook. I know. Old school, right?

But wait! There's more!

Years ago I bought a gorgeous bronze notebook with symbols and carvings on the cover. It looks like something out of a magic realm. I was waiting to use it for something special. I figured now was as good a time as any.

So what I'm doing - wait for it - is scribbling down the first draft of a scene in some cheap notebooks, then writing it out again in my bronze book. The rewrite includes perfecting my sentence structure and using stronger vocabulary. Focusing on the craft as well as getting the words down. Yes, it's madness. Yes, it takes twice as long. And this novel isn't going to be short, either. But querying is in the distant future using this method, so that's mostly gone from my mind. Now I only worry about the story.

The other reason I'm doing this is because I'm prone to rushing to finish manuscripts. And with wonderful contests and agent crits constantly up for grabs, it becomes sorely tempting to submit too early. (Hands up, come on, who else is guilty of this?)

By writing in notebooks, there's no possible chance for me to put my work into contests. I can concentrate on my story first and foremost, which, at this point in my writing life, is what I need to do.

Will this method get me back on track? I'll keep you posted.

So. Anyone else struggling with writing things more so than usual?