Editing: Overwriting

Introduction

I will be the first to admit, I am an over-writer, as it stands my own book is standing at 160k when I’m meant to be aiming for 120k. So quite frankly I need this advice as much you might.

 

Taking out drifting plot lines

We’re all been there: in the middle night you get this great idea and you begin to plan it, storming to write it down. But in a couple of days the subplot becomes tangled amongst everything else and fizzles. It’s difficult sometimes to let go of ideas even half-finished ones, but they are the fools that drag your work down.

 

Get rid of unnecessary scenes

Your book is your baby, but you need to STEP BACK and look at your scenes in relation to your overall plot and ask yourself: is this necessary? Of course, you think it is, but ask yourself: why? And be honest with yourself, you’re not going to become a great writer if you delude yourself.

 

Cut down scenes

Maybe a scene is important, it contains pieces that are necessary to the plot. But is the rest of the scene just filler? This is when you may need to combine scenes, where one element is important and therefore can be moved anywhere, cutting down that word count.

Also, a scene as a whole maybe very important but does it drag between those important parts. If it doesn’t need to be that long; cut it.

writing (1)

Just tell for once

We’re always told to show don’t tell but showing takes time and honestly, we don’t always need a half page essay on the description of someone walking across a room. Being able to take out unnecessary flowery language when simple actions will do will take swathes of words off your manuscript.

 

Stop listing

This is a small one but an effective one: stop listing. Or at least stop making long lists of examples of food or colours or people, it isn’t necessary, and no one will miss it.

 

Get rid of redundancies

Now we’re getting into the nitty-gritty. Do you have descriptions that go on and on? Cut it. Do you find yourself describing the long trip from the kitchen to the living room? Cut it. Have sentences that do nothing but make the word count annoyingly large? Cut it!

 

Conclusion

Sometimes it’s really hard to cut down on those words, (I’m very aware of that) but you just need to keep going at it. Good Luck Xx

Advertisements

Editing: Overwriting

Introduction

I am an overwriter which is its own kind of hell, but it makes me very good at giving advice on how to write more and so much more. Don’t take all my advice or you’ll start overwriting yourself.

 

Subplots

The best way to bump up your word count by double is by including a subplot. To thing to do is not to just add a subplot for the sake of adding one but rather ask yourself if anything in your story can be expanded on.

Is there a romance you barely hint at or a mystery you solve too quickly?

 

Immerse the reader

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve heard it before, but seriously, show don’t tell. Because usually showing uses much more words than telling does and immerses the reader more within your story. On that point, also set the scene and physical describe the characters before you dive straight in. Again, this ups the word count but also brings the reader closer to your settings and your characters.

editing (1)

Add the little things

This advice is less for story writers and more for copy writers. If you’re just a few words shy of your word count then simply get rid of your apostrophes, add a word to your description and to your lists.

 

She said, he said

It’s really easy to stick with ‘said’ for every piece of dialogue, which is good but if you have page upon page of characters just talking, your readers are just going to glazing over if there is no variation. You need to add description and movement between your dialogue. You don’t just stand, nose to nose with someone and talk: you move and you react.

 

What’s missing

Now comes the rest of it. Read over your work and see if there is anything immediately springs to mind as missing. Perhaps a character who deserves more time devoted to them or a plot point that may need development.

 

Conclusion

Just remember your book may already be the length it needs to be. Don’t ever feel put down because its not the ‘right’ size. Good Luck Xx

 

Worldbuilding: Lands

Introduction

Within any story told, a world is created. Even set on Earth, your book needs to show the world around it from the smallest creature to the society and culture of your main characters.

One of the importance aspects of this is the geography in your book and how it can enhance your writing.

 

What’s important to the plot?

It is easy to be bogged down by worldbuilding fever.

It’s okay, I know how much you want to write about this world you have in that big old head of yours, but let me tell you: no one will read fifty pages of geography. It’s the balance of keeping it short and to the point while opening up the reader’s mind to world that surrounds the plot.

First, where are your characters? If they never move from their home town why would they know what the sea on the other side of the world is called. Are they a pirate on a boat? Then why would know what mountains would look like? Remember to style the geography around what your own character would know.

 

WHERE is it?

Where is the story located? Is it on Earth, somewhere similar or in a completely different world? If it’s on a different planet, what makes it different? How do things look or how do the laws of physics change, especially if magic is involved? Whatever you decide remember to keep consistent rules to make your world feel more concrete and real, even if it is filled with dragons.

 

WHEN is it?

If it’s on Earth is it in the present day or the past or future? History and technology are probably the two main things that will affect how your world is shaped. Are there any historical events that effect the story? What kind of technology are the characters using? If it is a historical setting, make sure to research properly as to not look like an idiot.

Crossed out words

WHAT is there?

The People

How does the land shape the people? In what ways have the people adapted to life in these conditions? Do they have boats? Do they wear thick furs or sleep in open tents? The land shapes how people learn to live.

The Animals

This is important. The amount of domesticated animals that your society has usually correlates with its technological advances. Of course no science should ever hold you back from writing what you want, but remember that history is what makes stories.

 

Research, research, research

It’s a piece of advice that you should always be aware of. It’s honestly the best way to tackle writer’s block on any subject.

Research.

Research damn it!

The internet is a pleather of lists of ideas if you know where to look. And I know you know this, but it’s about understanding when to use the internet instead of just not bothering to write.

ngfjg

Making maps

Some authors love to make physical maps to plot everything out in accordance with everything else, as well as where physical features are like mountains and rivers. But just making notes works just as well if maps aren’t your thing.

 

Conclusion

If you get this down in the planning stage, you’ll have the setting of the stage your characters will play upon. Good luck Xx

 

Further Reading

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/10-questions-ask-fantasy-world/

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/how-to-create-a-fantasy-world/

https://www.bustle.com/p/10-tips-for-building-a-fictional-world-46836

https://thewritelife.com/worldbuilding/

Turtle Writing Syndrome

Here’s the depressing thing: I’ve been writing this book since 2016 and roughly 180’000 raw words to show for it. Out of curiosity I decided to look at how long it would have taken me to write that if I’d been writing at full capacity everyday, which is about 2’000 words.

90 days.

90 bloody days.

Even if I was writing 1’000 words a day, it would have only taken me 180 days. So this kind of got me down. I like doing things quickly but with an average of 184 words per day, writing does feel quick. I’m slow…like a turtle.

But it shouldn’t be a bad thing. I know authors that have written books in a matter of weeks. But there a catch, the amount of editing those people have do to is enormous. Granted I’ve been editing for a long time, but I’d rather not be editing for longer.

Planning: Planning Methods

Introduction

I’ve talked about planning before and for many people you may already have your own personal methods. And that’s the beauty of it, you’ll learn as you go what works for you. Here are just a couple of starting ideas:

The traditional approach

Divide your book up into sections, (usually by chapters or by sections of the three Act Structure) and brainstorm what happens in each section, which characters are involved and how it leads to and from the sections either side of this.

Once you have finished all your brainstorming for each section, collect all your ideas and write a concise summary (usually two to three sentences) of what happens in each section.

This allows for flexibility without following the strict rules of other planning methods.

This is great to allow your story to naturally grow, however I would advise it for only the most organized as it can get incredibly messy.

 

The Reverse Outline

Planning backwards means you can start with the major climax at the end of your book, which is probably the part of your story you know the best. Then work out how to get to the climax, then how to get to that and so on and so on.

 

Visual Storyboards

If you are gifted with the ability to draw, (…lucky…) then storyboard your story, a picture speaks a million words and is probably quicker to do than write them.

pile-of-books

Three-act structure

For those of you out there more concerned with the structure of your story rather than any specifics of plot then you should use the three-act structure to plan out your novel. It can be argued that every (good) story follows the three-act structure and thus planning yours to it should help give you some peace of mind.

 

Each of these acts contains certain specific features:

Act 1: [The first quarter] Contains the most elements, the opening scene that establishes the characters and the main conflict, the inciting events where the characters begin the journey of the book and the turning point which introduces the second Act.

Act 2: [50% in the middle of the book] at the centre of the second act the action should rise to its climatic midpoint and is usually where everything changes for the characters. Once again there must be a turning point into Act 3.

Act 3: [The last quarter] This is the one people know the best. The Third Act is where the final climax and resolution play out.

 

Tentpole Moments

What are the events or conflicts that without your story will collapse, (like a tent)? Write these down and then try to find what links all these events together throughout the story.

 

Write A Script

This may seem strange to plan your book in a different media form, but a script only requires description and dialogue meaning you can plan quickly and expand from there.

 

Dialogue Pass

Similar to planning in the form of a script: just let the characters talk. It’s a good way of exploring their voices and their stories and again this method allows you to write the bare bones of your story quickly.

Further Reading

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/09/14/25-ways-to-plot-plan-and-prep-your-story/

https://www.nownovel.com/blog/7-ways-write-plot-outline/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Social Anxiety is effecting my Hermit Writing.

Hi Guys!

It’s been a SLOW week. Works has been keeping me busy non-stop and I have not had the energy to sit down and write. Partly because I’ve just finished a huge sections following one of my main characters Valsi. Now…I love Valsi, he spends most of the book wanting the illusion of a normal life back but have a pay the price of murdering his wife’s son to do so. What’s not to love?

However Valsi is a drunk, over friendly, funny man. NONE of things are things I am. Honestly writing social situations is almost as exhausting as being in them. And Valsi has to LIKE being in them. Honestly some days I just want to murder Valsi with a fork.

But I finally moved away from him this week and back to my main protagonist, Jaidev. At least Jaidev is as social awkward as me but I seem to have hit a wall in motivation. So it’s a surprise to me that’s I’ve written 7880 words. I’ve never kept an eye of how much I write per week so I have no idea if that’s good or bad but I’m impressed, though most of that was editing for perhaps not as many original words written.

So back to my more main characters Jaidev and Rajiv this week, once I remember how to write them properly. You may have also noticed this is a completely new format for me, let me know if you want more of these writing updates or what I can improve!! 

Editing: When to involve other people

Introduction

You’ve written your book and edited it until you are sick of looking at its words. Now comes the terrifying part: letting other people see it. And of course, this leads to a pleather of questions you didn’t even know needed answers: how do you find an editor? How many editors do you need? Do you need a CP, a sensitivity editor or a proof-reader? Or should you just not bother. But don’t fret, I will traverse with you through this strange world of people you have to paid to read your work. 

Who?

I’m going to be blunt: this is a shortened list, because the world of beta readers and editors is very large and so there will be types that even I haven’t heard of. These are just the main ones I believe are important. The writing world is surprisingly big, shoot me.

·         Proof-readers: Proof-readers do not offer (usually) any advice on the writing or plotting but only are there to correct any grammatical and spelling errors.  Proof-readers should be used up top so none of the other stages need to worry about something so small.

·         Critique Partners: CPs are another name for Writing Buddies. They are fellow writers who, in exchange for looking at their own work, offer advice on yours and often help to give you a kick up the arse to write and actually finish the damn thing.

·         Beta readers: Beta readers are, what else, readers who look over your book to review it from a reader perspective rather than a writer’s. They are usually volunteers who give their opinion on your story and can give interview style questions that you may to improve your work.

·         Editors: this is the biggest category which requires its own blog piece but there’s a general rule of thumb as to who is an editor: they’re usually professionals and expensive.  

editing (1)

When?

Honestly, it’s up to you. You can shove your first draft into your friend’s hands to read over, or you can rewrite it over and over to your heart’s content before getting beta readers. It doesn’t matter as long as it is when you are ready to do so. You can’t be still making plot changes if you’re also trying to get relevant and genuine feedback.

However, I’d leave anyone who requires paying until last, so that your work is actually the best it can be, because the shitter it is the more expensive it will be.

Reach out

Beta readers are literally anyone you can find reads. So reach out on all your social medias to find people willing to help you. They can even be friends and family. Preferably you don’t want too many as it will be hard to keep track of all the feedback but also don’t just choose anyone, make sure they at least have an interest in reading or else you are both wasting your time.

writing (1)

Be nice to volunteers

I will say this slowly: Beta readers are using their free time to read over your work without pay. And for that you must love and respect them. They are amazing people trying to help you! Yes, not all of them are going to stick with it to the end and some of their feedback is not going to be so helpful, but it’s always important to be nice and civil with them because they have a right to just leave.

Research

When trying to find editors the first step is simple: look them up. All professional editors will have their own websites with their fees and contact information. But then you have to find the right one for you.

As I have stated above, editors are their own bag of fish, but they are plentiful and varied. It is important to take your time when researching editors. Some editors do the same amount of work for less, but you need to also see the books and works they have previously edited.

Conclusion

It’s always scary giving your work to another human being for the first time but I assure you, your work is nowhere near as bad as that voice in your head says it is. Good Luck Xx