Tag Archives: novel writing

Messy First Draft

It’s done, that messy first draft of my first full length novel for an adult audience. I’ve lost track of when I began the journey, it was at least 3 years ago, probably more.  Now I’m smoothing the rough edges, massaging it, trying to get a sense of whether it works as a whole and is not just a bunch of disconnected scenes. Does it even reveal the story I set out to tell?

When it’s as polished as I can make it I’ll ask for feedback from my writing critique group. Their responses will likely give me more to think about, probably resulting in additional rewriting. And that’s when the really challenging part begins; finding an agent and/or a publisher. My connections are in the world of children’s literature. This is a whole new arena.

Running just below the surface is that inner battle I constantly face – is this the best use of my time? Of my life? Will this book even see the light of day, and if it does, will reading it engage, entertain and be thought-provoking for its intended audience? Continue reading

Love.com

loveThis is the title of an unpublished book I’ve written. It’s a short, tongue-in-cheek story of the perils of on-line dating. (I write from experience.) This is also my first stab at writing fiction for an adult audience.

I actually had fun writing Love.com. It wasn’t work at all, the story practically wrote itself and I smiled through the whole process. Perhaps I felt it was my chance to gently poke fun at some of the experiences I had when I briefly ventured down that perilous road.

I haven’t begun the submission process with this one yet, (I’m unfamiliar with the publishers of this genre) but I have shared it with a number of friends. Here is the latest review I received from a writer friend whose feedback I always trust.

“I loved, loved, loved this book. It is fast-paced and funny, with great characters, and a compelling story. I was charmed by it! I think you must send it out into the world …you might check some publishers of romance novels. There is such an authenticity to this manuscript. I thought it was sensational!” (Deborah Hodge)

Maybe there is an audience for this little story after all. Fingers crossed….

Photo credit: freepik.com

How do I become a writer?

Calving writingI’m often asked this during school visits and by aspiring writers. The answer is surprisingly straightforward.

1. Read (a lot)

2. Write (a lot)

There is no magic. It boils down to hard work. No one can teach you how to write a book. You learn by doing.

Author Brian Doyle (The Plover) sums it up nicely. He says, “If you wish to be a writer, write. There are people who talk about writing and then there are people who sit down and type. Writing is fast typing. Also, you must read like you are starving for ink. Read widely. Read everything… ”

He adds, “A piece is not finished until it is off your desk and onto an editor’s desk. Write hard and then edit yourself hard. Look carefully at your verbs to see if they can be energized… You do not need a sabbatical or a grant to write a book. Write a little bit every day. You will be surprised how deep the muck gets at the end of the year, but at that point you can cut out the dull parts, elevate your verbs…find the right title, and send it off to be published.”

I might add one more thing to Doyle’s wisdom…

3. Get feedback.

A writing critique group (or partner) is critical to help you find those dull parts. This shouldn’t be your romantic partner or best friend, they will spare your feelings and tell you that your work is brilliant. It’s not. Every writer needs constructive feedback and editing.

Writing classes can’t teach you how to write your book, but they can get you warmed up through the use of writing exercises and assignments so sign up for one if you can’t get started.

No two writers approach their work in the same manner. There is no right or wrong way. Some outline in detail. Some revise as they’re going along. Some just sit and write madly  until the first draft is complete, and then go back and revise.

Whichever approach works for you, just do it. Turn off the TV. Unplug (or set to vibrate) the phone, and put your fingers on the keys.

Oh, one more thing. Please invite me to the launch party.

 

Cartoon credit: Calvin and Hobbes

 

Getting Started

Charlie BrownI’m teetering on the periphery … wanting to write that first word, that first sentence, that first page and chapter of a new novel, but I just don’t know where to dive in. I know who the protagonist is, his back story (he was a minor character in a previous novel), and what his problem is. I know what his journey has to be in order for him to overcome his problem. I just don’t know how to set that ball rolling. Continue reading