This November I’m planning on re-writing last year’s NaNoWriMo novel. I am amazed and terrified to see how many things have changed for this story over the course of a year. I know this is a good thing, because first drafts usually are full of cliches and bad ideas, with a few hidden gems. But it’s hard not to second guess the decision to make these changes.
I used to write a first draft and consider the story almost done. I cringe to remember how proud I was of some of those first drafts. But they were important stepping stones and there were some great ideas, but I now see that all those stories would need serious reworking before they saw the light of day. I’ve learned that editing is more than proofreading and re-writing a scene here and there. You have to be willing to rework characters, plot arcs, and concepts which seemed essential in the first draft. The truth is that nothing is sacred in a first draft. Everything is subject to change.
Hopefully these changes will strengthen my novel and move me closer to publishing.
I wish all the NaNoWriMo participants the best of luck. I’ll see you at the finish line!
Now it’s time to stop procrastinating and get back to planning for November.
~~Lady of the Pen~~
Life can be challenging for writers and artists because we live in two worlds. We live in reality where we work our 9 to 5 jobs, we do chores, we run errands and spend time with family and friends, we live like most everyone else. But for the creatively minded we live in a second world as well, one that often seems to conflict with reality, we live in our heads, we live with our dreams and our imagination. We want to spend our days creating new masterpieces, but most of us can’t do that. Instead we spend a majority of our time doing the things that need to get done. We must settle for doing the things we want to do in our sparse free time, a time that we divide between: errands, chores and spending time with the important people in our lives, and sometimes by the time we have free time all we want to do is sleep. It’s hard to live in two worlds at once.
Sometimes it feels as though our dreams are being weighed down by a giant millestone called Reality. Unfortunately reality isn’t going to go away. The only thing we can do is make our dreams strong enough that they can bear the weight. It’s not easy, it’s hard work, but it’s the price we pay for living in two worlds.
~~Lady of the Pen~~
What’s your opinion of e-books? We all have one. Some people love them because it’s convenient, others are purely traditional, some people don’t really care and will read either, and others consider e-books to be a horrible sacrilege which will herald the downfall of books.
For me I have a strong attachment to physical books. I love being able to flip through the pages, put it on my shelf and remember the adventure I experienced between its covers each time I look at it. Not to mention there’s a very particular book smell that I simply adore; it’s the smell of a book that’s been around, it’s passed from hand to hand and shared the company of many other great books and as a result has gained a rich scent like a fine vintage wine…
I think I’m beginning to get off topic. The point is I love physical books and nothing can ever replace that love. But having said that, digital books do have their place in the world. They’re small and compact and I can buy books and receive them instantly, it’s very convenient. E-books are also giving Indie authors more options to work with. I for one keep an eye open for promising looking free and 99 cent e-books, even if I’ve never heard of the author before. It’s a good way for new authors to establish themselves.
I know some people feel threatened by e-books. They’re afraid traditional books will disappears. But from what I’ve seen most people who read e-book still read physical books as well. I doubt the physical book is going anywhere soon. But even if it does I recently read something that Stephen King said that put it all into prospective…”The book is not the important part, the book is the delivery system. The important part is the story and the talent.” I think sometime we get too caught up in the medium, the truth of the matter is that what we really love are stories. We might have a preference of what form that story comes in, but in the end it’s about the story, not the packaging.
~~Lady of the Pen~~
I totally need a new bookshelf! Mine is overflowing. The shelves are two rows deep and I’m starting to stack book on top and around the shelves. The other day I went to the thrift store in search of a small bookshelf I could put in the corner, but instead I came home with more books…
I’m pretty sure this counts as an addiction, the only problem is I don’t want to be cured.
But that means I get to try out this ideaI of using crates to create a bookshelf. It’s easy and it looks super cool! I think I should be able to find some at Michaels and then stain them to look pretty 😀
I’ll post pictures when I make my own.
~~Lady of the Pen~~
I have completed a 2nd draft of my novel, ‘Train to Everywhere,’ that I am relatively happy with and very nearly lost what little sanity I had left in the process. In the last week or two I’ve gone from 3 to 4 hour writing sessions to 5-6 hour sessions, I’ve been writing/editing on all my days off and much of my free time. I’ve never become so engrosses in a writing project, at the end I would say I was probably obsessed. Not that this is the end, it is merely the 2nd draft, but I intend on taking a little break and try not to panic while my beta readers go over my story. I really do need a break too. Over the last few days I’ve been talking to myself far more than usual, to the point of having argument with myself. I’ve been drinking too much coffee and I’m pretty sure my language has been going down hill, something that only happens when I’m really really worked up. The other day I had so much energy and so many voices running through my head I had to sprint up and down the hall and stairs to get myself under control. Despite the intensity of the last few days, I’ve never been so excited or terrified of a project I’m working on, all of which I take as good signs. This is the first 2nd draft of a novel I’ve produced and the first time I’ve really gotten into editing. I now realize that the first draft is only a warm up, I truly got into my story and my characters when I went back and revisited them, questioned them, asked them about their motivation, rethought my settings and added more detail. I think my reservations about editing are falling away, it’s a rather wondrous process.
I must say I’m scared stiff to let others read this story and once again I take this as a good sign, I usually don’t worry about things being perfect, I’m normally quite happy to let others read my stories even in their raw forms. But this story has been different, I’ve been more secretive about it and didn’t let anyone read draft one. I believe this means that I delved deeper into this story, taken a few more risks and put more heart and soul into it.
This has been a very eye opening experience. I now intend to rest, visit a few friends I’ve been neglecting and catch up on my reading. Because once the feedback is in it will be time for round 3!
~~Lady of the Pen~~
This is an amazing book that I highly recommend investing in. It discusses starting your book from a “Mirror Moment”in the middle of your story and working from there. But his strategy is very simple and can be used by all types of writers and at any stage of the process. It’s a valuable tool to help focus your story and know what it’s really about.
One of the interesting things about being a writer is you begin to understand how other writers think and as a result you can often figure out where a story is going. I was watching ‘The Bates Motel’ with my mom last night and I kept saying character’s dialogue a moment before they did. She thought it was the funniest thing in the world, which I think had to do with the late hour.
I remember when I was younger I thought I’d make a great detective because I could usually figure out “who done it.” It wasn’t until later that I realized that I wasn’t figuring it out because of the clues so much as by how the characters were presented and how they interacted with each other and who I would have made the killer.
As a result of understanding the writer’s mind many of our family and friends will marvel at our powers of observation. But there’s a bit of a downside to it as well. It becomes so much harder to be surprised by a story, though on the bright side it’s so much more rewarding when the writer does pull the wool over your eyes. I think it should also inspire us, as writers, to not be too predictable. We should strive to think outside the box, don’t always go with your first idea–or your first ten–we want to surprise and delight ourselves as much as our audience. Learn to get off the beaten path and off road it, because that’s where all the surprised are.
P.S. I did not expect this blog post to go this way. I was just going to write about how funny I thought my mom’s reaction to my foretelling of the movie were XD
~~Lady of the Pen~~
This is something I came across the other day that I thought I’d share. It’s a talk Madeleine L’Engle gave discussing fantasy and how it point to truth. She also discusses her faith. I have great respect for the woman, she knows how to be real.
I’ve always loved books. I was the kid (and still am) who always had a book with her where ever she went. If I was at a social gathering I’d usually end up in a corner with my book eventually and be perfectly happy. I used to get most of my books at the library, but in recently years I’ve become rather obsessed with owning books. I just want to have them close, to keep them near, to occasionally sleep with an old favorite tucked under my pillow. I buy books like other girls buy clothes. My roommate and I joke, because when we first moved in she set up her closet first and I set up my bookshelf. I really can’t help myself and I’m sure many of you know what I mean. I have a huge stack of unread books and keep finding myself distracted by new ones. At present I’m limiting myself to two books: “The Children of Hurin” by J.R.R. Tolkien and “Storm Front” by Jim Butcher. I will finish them before starting something new! And maybe I’ll be able to pass a few days without buying a new book.
Wish my luck.
P.S. “Storm Front” smells amazing! Every time I read it the delicious scent of aged paper and ink fill my nose. It’s an added bonus. I have a think for sniffing books 😉