[powr-photo-gallery label=”Hero Inspiration”]
[powr-photo-gallery label=”Hero Inspiration”]
In the past week, I struck up more than one conversations on the joys of Twitter. Fellow writers over food pondered the age-old question – why bother with twitter? And if I decide to do the twitter thing, how do I do it?
As a writer with a manuscript to publishers for review, Twitter is my go-to marketing tool. I want to be counted in the writing community. Twitter is where the writing community lives and breathes between writing sprints and hours of revision. It is where writers, readers, publishers and agents go to connect together in 140 letter.
Somewhere along the way, I noticed Twitter received the honorary “the” people use for baffling mega-things they don’t understand, like “The” Internet. But it is worth the investment to understand. I’ve outlined why I and most other writing twits are so twitterpated:.
I hope your love affair with Twitter is as rewarding as mine. If you enjoyed this send me a tweet @jadechandlerrom, I would love to follow you and your escapades. Check below for my treasure trove of hashtags. And come back soon for my next post, The Cardinal Rules of Twitter.
#NaNoWriMo- National Write A Book Month. 50K words in the month of November
#ASMSG – social media group for authors
#writetip – writing advice
#1k1hr – universal tag that you are sprinting with a goal of 1,000 words in an hour-long sprint
“When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.” – Stephen King, On Writing
So Have I mentioned I love writing? I do.
Did I mention I hate editing? I do. But then, many writers do. So to combat my toe-curling, stomach-curdling dislike of reshuffling words, I have created a system, kind of. It’s a work-in-progress, like I am. However, as #nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is over and there’s lots of editing going on, I decided to share my editing steps. If they help, please steal freely. Do you have a great idea? Please share it with me.
The Big Stuff:
The Small Stuff:
From there, it’s ready for my beta readers. These are different from my critique partners, who are most often other writers. I try to find beta readers who read what I write, so they are looking at it with a reader’s eye.
This is my process, and it stinks – not because it isn’t effective, but because editing stinks. However, until my genius creates perfect first drafts (read never), I will continue editing because I must produce the best manuscript I can. And hopefully, one day soon, I will produce the best novel I can – one that readers love.
Sound the trumpets, drum roll please. Hell, why not a full orchestra to mark the occasion. I have finished my manuscript. (The heavens part and the sun creates a halo on around my head.)
So none of that happened. I started on a whim, and unlike many other attempts at writing a full manuscript I have finished it. And edited it. And edited it. And edited it. You get the idea.
When I started in November, I didn’t know a single piece of writing jargon. I hadn’t read any books on writing in years. I started with an idea and a desire to put it on paper. So I wrote. In three months I completed my first draft at about 65K words. The next four months I rewrote it in so many ways that version 1 barely resembles version 4.
Along the way I found tools that I love. Tools I cannot sit down and write without. First I must admit, I write by the seat of my pants – no careful outlines or other prep before I write. That said, even a panster (thanks Jamie Gold for the term) needs more than her brain and wicked typing skills.
I fall in love with my characters. They talk to me in day dreams and night dreams. And I carry their voices around inside my head. Those voice tell me the plot – my characters — not the other random voices there. But my characters were telling me things, and not showing me. Big problem. These resources helped me understand my characters better.
Positive Trait Thesaurus & Negative Trait Thesaurus: Wonderful way to define character motivations. Ackerman and Puglisi have great online worksheets that go with these books. I use the Character Attribute Target Tool and Character Pyramid. These tools helped me understand my characters and develop the basis of their internal conflict and need for growth. Then I used the Emotion Thesaurus about a million times a day – not quite that many – to SHOW my characters emotions instead of telling my poor readers how they feel. (Shouty caps necessary. This is a weakness of mine.)
Plot makes my head hurt. And as such, the timing of my first two drafts was slow, chunky and rushed. I know, it’s a talent to have timing both slow and rushed. To be fair the pacing was slow, then it would rush and needed to be slower. Thankfully, I found Jamie Gold’s blog. The woman’s blog rescued my laboring plot and gave it great pacing. Well, I paced the plot, but her blog and worksheets told me how to time it. I use a bunch of these to check my plot against several marks to make sure the timing is moving the way readers expect it to. The Master Plot Worksheet is my go to work horse. After any heavy revisions I check to make sure I am keeping my pacing on track. I have cut more wonderful prose because of this tool than any other editing device. Sometimes, extra detail isn’t necessary if it drags the pacing down. I also use Michael Hauge’s Six Stage Plot Structure Beat Sheet to make sure my romantic hero and heroine and conquering their inner conflict. And I also use Jamie Gold’s Romance Beat Sheet to break ties and to record my future story ideas.
Yes, I said break ties. Sometimes the plot structure and the inner conflict structure cause one or another to get out of alignment with word count. For example, Beat 8 is supposed to be happening by 32K words but the internal growth in Hague needs to happen at 30K, and because my characters can’t do both at the same time, I have to decide which is more important. Jamie’s sheet helps me. Please read her blog because she gives great advice on how to use them properly. As a panster, I’ve adapted them for my own purposes.
Ughh. That should be the whole entry for editing. My critique partner and I have spent many minutes lamenting that golden, perfect stories take so many revisions to find – or years and books later for a newbie like me. But editing is more important than the original writing (gasp in shock). So I found great resources for this as well including Jamie’s blog. Besides my loyal critique partner who read my purple prose without gagging, I found several go to sources.
Editor-Proof Your Writing by Don McNair is awesome. Practical chapters that cover your most basic mistakes. And it comes with great exercises at the end of each chapter. In early revisions, I literally went chapter by chapter looking for the mistakes. I started with my first three chapters, wanting them to be strong. Then I applied the lessons, mostly internalized by then, to the other 180 pages of the manuscript.
Revision and Self Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell was recommended by my critique partner. It is another go-to resource that’s similar to the McNair book. I like Bell’s writing style and he’s got some great insight on how to break up the editing process. I especially liked his discussion of Point of View, Voice and Dialogue.
Fiction University is Janet Hardy’s blog has all kinds of great gems. I loved her posts on conflict and point of view. I spent several days lurking in her archives and reading lots of posts about revisions and several trouble spots I was having in the editing process.
In the end, I made it to the end of the process and I still like my characters, and they picked a great plot to live out their conflict and find true love. I have trusted the story to two of my friends to serve as beta readers. And of course my critique partner keeps me honest.
Now my searches focus on queries, synopsis and how to get your manuscript published. Once I make it a little further into that process, I’ll post my experiences here. Until then, keep writing, keep learning and have fun.