Book Blogger Tip Tuesday #16

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If you’re writing flash fictions and get stuck on one idea, given how short they are, it is wise to jump between two ideas to help get your creativity pumping. However never do this with novels, you’ll get nowhere.

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Editing: How to Start?

Introduction

So congratulations: you’ve written a book! Yay, give yourself a pat on the back and breathe.

Then it’s time to ask the next big question: What next?

The one thing no writer will ever tell is that the writing is the tiniest part of your journey, the editing is the huge task ahead. It requires painstakingly going over every single detail of your book to make sure its not going to be thrown in the bin on the first query read-through.

And that is a terrible task to start, to look up at the shadow of the mountain in front of you and want to run away from it.

But don’t worry dear writer I will be your guide and will lead you on this perilous journey.

 

Take a break

After finishing writing, it is best to rest your work for a few days. Because at that stage, your mind is buzzing with every little problem you view as important. It is good to go away for a couple of days and come back to it with fresh eyes.

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Get stationary and prepare

This is my favourite place to start in: the stationary aisle.

I personally prefer to have a physical edit in my hand, so I need a grand pile of highlighters, pens and paper. As well as this I need a planner, perhaps because I like planners BUT ALSO because it is best to stay organised and on top of your word count to stay motivated.

However there are many who prefer to keep everything online, but still you will need to make sure you have everything necessary to keep yourself content and editing. A writer’s worst enemy is procrastination so make sure you have anything you might need:

  • Music
  • Food
  • Lots to drink (that one is important)
  • Chargers.

 

Start big

You have sat down and are ready to start editing. It’s easy to get bogged down just reading through your manuscript adding in and deleting commas. It is best to start big before getting to the details.

Depending on your planning style you may or may not have a story plan. Even I deviate from it so when it comes to starting editing, I rewrite my outline to fit the final story, this is the easiest way I find to look at a condensed overview of the whole story.

This is the easiest way to look at the plot and see any glaring problems.

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Listen to your work

I can’t write, literally I can’t. I struggle with dyslexia. And so, having my work read aloud really helps me notice the small errors, but it also helps you notice when sentences just don’t have that punch.

 

Keep the consistency

Now coming down a bit closer, most likely your final scenes are better written than the first scenes you wrote. It may not necessarily be in chronological order, but it is good to give all your scenes a once over to make sure the general structure is the same.

On a more technical note, its easy to forget the small details of description when you are writing. Make sure that your main character’s eyes don’t go from blue to brown within five chapters and the sunny skies mentioned two paragraphs ago don’t suddenly become storming rains.

 

CLUNK

Now we get into the nitty-gritty. Once you have sorted out your plot and consistency, you can finally give it a proper read and examine your work. This is the time to start dashing out those clunky sentences and spruce up your descriptions.

 

Conclusion

Trust me, editing will take forever. You will constantly relearn how to write better which will make every time you reread your book make it seem like shit. But don’t give up hope and keep going. Good Luck Xx.

 

Further reading

Self-Editing Basics: 10 Simple Ways to Edit Your Own Book

Writing: How to write more

Introduction

You may have everything set out perfectly for writing, but are you actually doing any?

Writer’s block affects us all, but this isn’t the time to turn away from your writing and just have a day off. No, no, no this isn’t like a cold, you won’t get better tomorrow and it’s you that’s the problem, not the writing. And only you can cure it.

 

Make time

We have all procrastinated at some point and we know it is easy to make excuses for ourselves. But when it comes to writing, you’ve got to slap yourself in the face (figuratively) and make time. You always have time, even if you try to convince yourself you don’t: perhaps on your commute, commit to waking up 30 minutes early and use a little notebook to write wherever you go. You have to make time or else you’re just making excuses.

 

You don’t have write in order

It is better to write the scenes your fingers are itching to write rather than the next scene chronologically which you can’t figure out the words for. Always good to reach your writing goal, no matter in which order you reach it so you have something to be proud of.

 

Do you know where your story is going?

It could be just a matter of the unknown. If you don’t know what needs to happen next, then how do you know which words to write? This is common for writers who do not plan before writing (which I advise against). You need take a step back from the writing and plan instead. Even if you have plan, maybe you need to plot out the scene beat for beat before you know what to watch.

 

Just bored.

This is a simple truth: If you’re not excited by what your writing, why is your reader going to be? Perhaps if you find yourself falling asleep when writing something, it’s time to go back to the drawing board rather than trying to plough ahead.

 

You don’t have to write for long

I think what puts people off starting to write is how time consuming it is, which it is, but that doesn’t mean it needs to take much time out of every day. Writing for twenty minutes is better than not writing at all and the further you get into your novel, the more you can write in one sitting without even realising it.

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Get a writer friend

Writer friends are great: they are in the same boat as you and any problems you have, they probably have already gone through. And they are also good at poking you into doing your writing, they can keep on top of your writing targets as much as you do.

 

Goals, small but meaningful

It’s easy to want to write 5000 words a day than to actually achieve it. And this begins the endless cycle of putting off writing instead of having to try and fail to reach your goal. Stick to smaller goals that you are perhaps able to surpass them.

 

Short hand writing

Remember not having to write in order? Of course you do, it was barely half a page ago. But you don’t have to write in full either. Snippets of scenes and stage directions at the very least are the foundation for words to come.

 

Reward Yourself

Positive reinforcements works both with dogs and humans. Giving yourself a reward for reaching a target is a great way of motivating yourself.

 

Conclusion

Hopefully now you will realise how to tackle writer’s block but also that there is no such thing as a day off in the life of a writer. Good luck Xx

 

Further Reading

https://www.copyblogger.com/effortless-writing/

https://www.marissameyer.com/blogtype/12-ways-to-write-more/

 

 

Planning: Planning Methods (Part 2)

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:

Draft zero, or the pantser’s compromise

You know it may be shocking, but you don’t actually need to plan. I know it’s odd but for some not planning is much better than trying to.

You can write a rough draft zero, it won’t be as coherent as a first draft as you’ll be doing it blind, but it will be more extensive and detailed than any plan could be.

You should try to write it quickly and in as few sitting as possible so you are less likely to forget the subplots and ideas you have branching off. Of course, given it isn’t an actual draft, ideas can be written only in notes if this helps you plan it out better.

 

Beat Sheet

Write down each beat of your story in every scene. This is a very in-depth way of planning: it’s essentially writing your story out without writing it.

 

Character Arcs

We focused on scenes, chapters and structure plans but planning by your main character’s arc almost helps to plot your story, (the main events should surround them). They go from A to Z and you need to plot what happens in between.

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Story Bible

This…this is a long one. I would never trust myself to write a story bible as I’d probably would procrastinate by planning it forever. If you feel the same, then this isn’t for you. But a story bible contains everything from the plot to character descriptions and worldbuilding. It can become larger than your own novel, but with it at your side you’ll be properly prepared.

 

The synopsis

The synopsis is essentially a mini first draft. If you don’t feel confident to separate your story plan into scenes or even chapters, then this is the planning method for you.

Now some say you just need to do the synopsis that you would send off to any agent or publisher (which of course you will need). However, I believe you need much more than this, you need the little in-betweens and the subplots that are not important enough to mention in a query letter but are very important for planning out your story.

And remember, with any of these planning methods it is perfectly fine, to leave plotlines half finished with notes to come back to later and to try out little experiments in your plan that you are unsure if you’ll keep or not.

 

Index Cards

My dad uses index cards for everything when it comes to planning books. Everything from listing characters to pinning scenes to corkboards and identifying emotional shifts. It is why my childhood was spent finding random index cards saying things like blended elf smoothie and attic accordion death.

 

Plan As You Go

You don’t have to plan everything before you write everything. You can write a scene and then plan the next.

 

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/