Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Rewriting: To write again

So I've launched into a major rewrite of an old project. I'm not talking a little revising here either. Now that I've seriously been at this writing thing for a while, it's interesting to see how far my stories have come. For instance, the novel I wrote back in 2007 that I thought I loved.

Don't get me wrong, I still love the idea and the fact that it was my first attempt at writing a novel through multiple POVs. I rather like all my characters. But the level of telling and the whimpery female MC... Gah. It makes me cringe.

And so, the rewriting process, or mine anyway, goes a little something like this:

Open document.
Consider reading entire story from 2007.
Decide re-reading story will taint new ideas because I remember what the main issues where that made me shelf the thing in the first place.
Paste entire story into a new document.
Close the original and back it up for safe keeping.
Adjust new document to novel format to make eyes and brain happy.
Shuffle original words to halfway down the page.
Read the half page of words.
Scroll back up and start writing from scratch.
Once the gist of the original text is rewritten, delete old text and queue up the next half page
Write more.
Delete more.
Delete entire crappy paragraphs without rewriting them.
Enjoy ah ha moments where I can pull the story threads tighter.
Enjoy making characters much deeper.
Delete more old words.
Rub hands together evily.
Write more.

Yes, my method introduces new typos. Oh well. The retyping of all old words allows me to make better word choices, sentence structure changes and maintain the current voice of each POV character as I round them out much better than before. Allowing myself to keep old sections makes the voice and telling inconsistant with all the progress I'm trying to make.

I hope all this effort will be worth it. I'm already loving how the story is coming together and can see fixes to some of the plot problems that bogged it down before. The percolator has been mulling this one over for a long time.

Chapter three is halfway finished and I'm gleefully writing the twisted mind of Kenric. Not that he's totally twisted, he just sees the situation a little differently than the other characters.

Now, please excuse me as I go milk the giant cow and get back to writing...err...rewriting.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The percolator strikes again

There are times when we need to step back from our novels to give them time to lose their shiny luster of newly written awesome so we then see them more objectively and fix them. Sometimes that means weeks or months or years.

After completing a novel critique last week and pondering my overall plot comments, something clicked in my percolator and *poof* I knew how to fix one of my old novels. I love when this happens. I wish it would happen more often. I'd have a lot more done writing-wise. But it would seem my percolator can only do so much, so often.

I brushed the virtual dust off my 2007 NaNo novel yesterday. New notes were created as I reacquainted myself with the characters and their plotlines. A new chapter one is in progress.

While the novel went over well with crit buddies, I'd worked myself into a pantser corner around chapter 22. The princess needed to marry someone. Her aunt was roaming the countryside building up support for the princess. Her uncle (from the other side of the family) was gleefully sitting on her throne and putting the final touches on the wedding of his faux son to the faux princess. The man the real princess needed to lead her army was stuck in a distant country. Any of the men she could marry to gain hold of additional forces sucked.

The pieces were all there. And there they sat. Staring at me. Glaring. Waiting impatiently for me to make the story work.

Funny how writing notes on how to better pull the plot together for someone else, triggered an epiphany for my old novel, but hey, I'm not going to ponder this miracle too deeply. I need that thought power to fix this story.

There's the obvious character modification, then some plot holes to patch up and about 15,000 words to add to bring the story to it's conclusion. Let's just hope I can get this done before April, when I hope to launch myself into a new project that hit me the other day.

Guess that means I better get writing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Bucket List Progress

Greetings from the frozen northlands of Michigan.

I'm happy to be able to cross off a little of my writing Bucket List already. Funny how actually typing and posting a to do list can light a fire under your behind.

Short #1 has been revised, sent through a round of critiques, edited, and sent off into submissions as of this morning. That feels good!

A synopsis for A Broken Race as been created and is now resting for a few days to see if it still works once the relief of getting through that task has passed.

Not on my list, but something I'd always been going to do: I finally hung my novel wordles in my tiny writing area. If you have not played with wordles before, beware, they are procrastination friendly.

Every time I finish (that's a relative term) the rough draft of a novel, I create a word cloud from it. In some ways this is a visual reward by seeing my words artfully displayed. More useful, though not as much fun, is the visual of which words I'm overusing.

Creating a wordle for the two novels I consider really finished, and comparing them to the old ones was also gratifying. Words like looked, smiled, glared, etc are all much smaller or not used enough to even be on the cloud anymore. Gotta love progress.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Reclaiming My Space

Since the arrival of my laptop three years ago, I haven't had much use for my old computer desk. My big old desktop computer left the house, which meant I had some storage space under my desk. NaNoWriMo moved in, specifically stuff I gather throughout the year for regional events. Then that began to over flow onto my desktop, because really, I wasn't using that for anything either. My desk is too small for a crafting station so it became a NaNo catchall, piled high and stuffed underneath by the time each November rolled around.

Even my good computer chair with the awesome back support had become a storage zone, though sometimes more for clothes than anything else. It certainly didn't fit under my desk anymore so it begged to have stuff piled on it.

My long gone little writing zone was starting its December to October metamorphosis from desk to NaNo pile again until I had the bright idea to reclaim my space.

This idea was born of two things: back pain and me.

Me because this is the year of me. One of my excuses for not writing more is that I use my computer on the couch downstairs...surrounded my other family members. I can get some writing done in the morning, but work quickly absorbs my day. The moment the kids come home from school, all hope of quiet thought is abolished by xbox games, you tube videos and my son game chatting online with his friends out loud. I needed my own space back.

After a few weeks of wracking bronchitis coughing, my back wasn't feeling so hot. In fact, I couldn't get out of bed without help. This also meant lounging on the couch with my laptop meant a lot of pain and getting up from the couch also required help. Using the comfy recliner was no better.

This sad state of physical being prompted me to get myself back to the chiropractor. After looking at  xrays of my spine, he informed me that, "Wow, I don't normally like to say things like this is a train wreck, but yeah, this really isn't good." I should probably note that I'd been seeing this guy for years (years ago) so his dark humor was appreciated.

That meant I needed to sit up straight until things were back in line or suffer the very painful consequences. Remember that chair serving as a clothing rack? Yeah, so did my back. Time to clean!

Three bags of garbage removed later (when did I accumulate that much outdated computer and writing related stuff?) and my NaNo regional pile relocated to new storage areas out of sight, I'm happy to report that I've reclaimed my writing space.

I guess that means I should get to writing, huh?

Friday, February 8, 2013

April is looking blogtacular

In an effort to be more on top of blog posts this year, I had a crazy moment (if you believe that was really just a moment, you don't know me very well) and signed up for the April Blogging from A to Z Challenge.

I hope to be busy revising a novel during April as my Camp NaNo effort so this means I'm going to be extra busy writing. But what the hell, I like writing and I'm all about me this year.

To get back to my long neglected host of discarded darlings, my theme will be Characters. Specifically, my characters and not just the discarded ones. I'm pretty sure I have enough to cover the entire alphabet. I'm also pretty sure at least one of them will be force feeding me those words at some point in April.

Until then, I have some brain wracking to do. On further thought, I'm should also probably brush up on some self defense tactics.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013 Bucket List Challenge Blog Hop

What will you cross off your Bucket List in 2013? 

First off, thank you to Dana Sitar for hosting this blog hop. Check out her book, A Writer's Bucket List, available starting today.

This Blog Hop Challenge is to make a list of my goals for the year. Now they'll be out here for all see. Bring on the guilt monkeys. 

Part of my focus on me resolution involves making more time for writing and not frying my creative brain at work so I have nothing left when I sit down to write. I don't need writing disaster like NaNo Novel 2012. No sir, I really don't. That was depressing.

So how about something more uplifting? Like some things I'd like to accomplish this year?

1. Keep Trust bouncing around in queryland. No more downtime for that one. It's had it's years of rewrites and edits. It needs to move out now. It is currently out and I have a whole list of places to send it so no excuses for this one. Unless it finds a home. I suppose I should somewhat rephrase this goal rather than be utterly pessimistic....keep it bouncing around until it finds a home or I decide to make a home for it.

2. Get A Broken Race out in queryland. I've put off getting submission materials put together for that one for a good six months now for lack of time and motivation. Apparently this finished novel and the list of presses I'd like to send it to aren't going to magically connect on their own.

3. Get at least two more short stories published. I've got two out in submissions right now. If they both find a home, I can cross that off my list and focus on #4 and #5.

4. Revise at least two short stories that have been languishing on my hard drive so they can join the others in submissions. I've already started on one, but that start consists of opening the file, staring at the cursor and getting frozen on the thought that I might screw it up worse if I start messing with it. Time take deep breaths and get on with it. There's always the back up file if I manage to suck all the magic out of the words.

5. And last on my list: Revise and FINISH one of the darn novels that's just sitting there doing nothing but glare at me for years. I've got Camp NaNo in April or November NaNo to conquer this if I don't manage to find the time elsewhere.

These are all attainable goals. I can do this. Deep breaths.

What's on your bucket list for 2013?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Reading: January Summary

Part of my resolution this year was to make more time for me to do what I enjoy. One of those things is reading. Another is critiquing for my writing buddies. When I can put these together, relaxing things happen and relaxing is very good.


I had the privilege to critique a novel for one of those aforementioned writing buddies. Making it through a whole novel with chapter by chapter crits usually takes much longer than a few weeks, but I'm fresh off a new resolution here so I made record time through Niko and the Shadows. It turned out to be an enjoyable YA Fantasy read with enough darkness to keep my interest. I hope to see it in print someday.

The angel angle was good, something different from what I've read before as far as angel romance goes. However, there are only so many times the MCs can blindly misunderstand each other for the sake of the plot that I can handle.

A collection of short strories that spans touching, quirky, and funny. My favorite was a story about a the death of a mother which was very easy to sympathize with and touching, yet laced with humor.