Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Little Blogged Down

So I took a break leading up to Christmas, but got back to work on Monday.  However, I was working so hard on my revisions I didn't take any time to blog.  I'll try to make up for that now.

Monday 12/28/09:
After over a week away I went back to my manuscript and did  full re-write.  (I highly recommend taking time away between re-writes if you can.  It gives you a fresh perspective.  Anyway, I changed all my speaker attributions, settled on the omnicient POV, set-up a limited time frame for story.  After doing this on paper, I had to come back and re-type everything. 

*** I finally decided to go with the omnicient POV for this story.  This was my original inclination and the more I read the story the more I liked it.  It gives a chance to look at the characters more as they are, not so much how they see themselves.  Since they're zombies, this is a more accurate and a funnier view.  However, I've tried to close in on each of them from time to time, especially Milo and especially toward the end of the story. 

Tuesday 12/29/09
I spent the day working out my chapter length and changing the structure of the chapters so that some of the chapters end in cliff-hangers.  This was a major issue with the original story.  Each chapter had a conclusion that left nothing to the imagination.

Wednesday 12/30/09
I made a bold choice at the end of chapter 3. I'll have to solicit feedback from my critique group.  I added my cliff hangers where necessary.  I'm pretty happy with my chapter lengths.  They are fairly even from a low of 2.95 manuscript pages to a high of 8.15 manuscript pages.  It's 23 chapters 128 pages and around 5.6 pages per chapter.  I feel like the chapters are pretty balanced. 

I also finished reading Self Editing for Fictions Writers.  I plan to review again for Show Vs Tell based on this book.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day Nine: Taking a Break

I'm taking a little break from writing during the holiday's.  Just too much going on right now. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day Eight: Self Editing for Fiction Writers

Reading this great book "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" by Renni Browne and Dave King.  I'm learning a lot and I have a lot of work to do as a consequence. 

If you're writing a book, read this.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Day Seven: Speaker Attributons

I love writing dialogue.  It's my chance to get all of those voices out of my head and onto the page.  I've been reading my dialogue, and I'm pretty pleased that I haven't used a lot of weird speaker attributions.  But Oh, dread I need to change the order of my nouns and verbs.  I was in the habit of writing, said Melissa, instead of Melissa said. 

That's going to be a fun revision.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Day Six: POV What to do? What to do?

I'm going back and forth about my POV.  When I first wrote the manuscript, I wrote it in 3rd person omniscient, period, end-of-story, like it or leave it.  It had a great, fun voice that poked a bit of fun at the main character.  But the more the main character evolves, the less I like the voice.  Plus, everyone says that  omniscient is out, and you need to write in 1st/3rd person.  ( I wonder how A Series of Unfortunate Events, and A Tale of Desperaux got published if that's the case?) 

So then I decided, I'll just switch everything to 3rd person with one main POV and a secondary POV for one of the sub-plots.  Problem is, I just don't like it as well.  All of the snarky little comments that made the story fun are gone. 

I think I've made up my mind and I'm going back to omniscient.  I just hope I still feel this way when I get to the end.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Day Five: New Characters

I came up with some fun new characters to help add dialogue to a big area of exposition.  But I've got some major research to do.  I need to find a book on carrion beetles.  Oh boy.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day Four: On Revision and Cutting Scenes

I finished my scene cards and now I'm cutting seeral major scenes from my manuscript.  This is not as painful as I would have first thought.  I've started to think of my earliest drafts and a lump of clay.  I'm not a potter, but I know that to work with clay, you first have to kneed all of the air out.  If you leave air bubbles, they will explode in the kiln and ruin your project.  As much as I loved those scenes when I wrote them, I see now that they are air bubbles that need to be forced out. 

Besides, I can always save them, and they may become useful at some point in the future.  I'm kindof liking this clay metaphore.  It's been really helpful in getting my head where it needs to be for revision.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day Three: Creating Scene Cards

I've been working all day to create "Scene Cards" outlining each scene in my novel.  I read about this technique in a fabulous book called: Thanks, But This Isn't For Us, by Jessica Page Morrel.  I highly recommend this book for anyone working on revision. 

Creating scene cards has been very enlightening.  I've found some excellent ways to cut scenes, and ways to refine scenes. 

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day Two: Critique Group

I met with my critique group last night.  We had a new person which is always interesting.  It's fun to hear a new perspective, and a new person's work. 

I myself am sold on the idea of critique groups, but I know that a lot of people are against them.  If you're pre-published as Lynn Oliver head of SCBWI calls it, then I highly recomend being in a critique group.  If nothing else, you'll have a reason to get something prepared at least once per month.  If you're not a published author or even if you are, but you have another job, it's easy to get distracted and let your writing flounder. 

My critique group has been great.  I've learned a ton from them.  I remember my first meeting.  I'd written my manuscript, typed it up, had all the commas in the right place.  I was sure that they would tell me to get this in the hands of a publisher as soon as possible.  Instead they said, "I don't understand your point-of-view."  I was shocked.  Worse than that, I had no idea what they were talking about.  I had to reasearch, read, study and ultimately re-write the whole manuscript to clean up my POV.  And still I'm contemplating changing it from multiple POV to just one. 

Ultimately, it's my decision what I do with the feedback I get from my critique group, but if not for them I would have wasted a lot of people's time, and spoiled my own chances.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day One in the World Of Blogging

OK, I have to admit that when I started hearing about all this blogging stuff, I was a little freaked.  Had society become so narcissistic that we felt the need to share everything about ourselves with everyone?  For that matter, did anybody really care what we were going through?  But then I decided to GET OVER IT!  So here I am blogging away. 

I decided to focus on my foray into the world of children's book publishing. 

About three years ago, I decided to let all of the characters who were running amok in my brain out to play.  I found that by setting them free, they could grow and change, and stop driving me crazy.  Since then I've written three children's books.  None of them is anywhere near ready to be published, but at least I've figured that out. 

So what I've learned so far, is that getting a novel published is about as easy as getting onto a professional football team, or getting the starring role in a block-buster film.  It can and does happen, but not without talent, hard work, and perserverence. 

So, I plan to blog about my day-to-day experience as I attempt to get published.  I also have a full-time job that sucks the life out of me daily, but it's all good because it keeps me hungry and it keeps me writing