Category Archives: art

Working on Two novels at the Same Time … A Writer’s Journey

I am in the unfortunate position of working on two novels at the same time. I say unfortunate because this presents some risks.

The first risk is becoming a hack, meaning that I am writing two novels that have the same feeling… pace… plot twists, dialogue… characters, etc. This is similar to observations about Adam Sandler.  You are never seeing him as a new character… but you are seeing Sandler in a new situation. If I write two novels at the same time, they have the risk of feeling very much the same. Because I am aware of this, I think the characters and the pacing are different… the voice is different. But who knows. It might be hackish… using the same typecast characters over, and over, and over again…

Another risk is that I get lost working on both, and finish neither one. Although I don’t think that will happen, it is possible that one of the books does not get finished. Because I am working on two books, I might lose some of the “steam” required to finish both… become bored with one… and abandon it to some abyss of lost fiction characters.

That is a sad place for fictional characters to go… a lost space of forgotten characters. I suppose that’s what the Twilight Zone is for.

Writing is still fun… the characters still intrigue me… their problems are still fun puzzles… and making their lives miserable is still a joy (for me). But how many books is too many to work on at one time? At what point will it become a dizzying mess of words?

 

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On Writing… and Critics

It is May 2nd, 2015… and I have seen the Avengers: Age of Ultron twice. I did not go to a Thursday night showing, but a friend and I went to see it twice on Friday. We purchased our tickets a few weeks ago. We watched Age of Ultron first at noon in IMAX 3D, and then again at 4 p.m. in regular 3-D. During the break between our first and second viewings, we discussed the various choices the writer/director Joss Whedon made in the film. This post is not about the Avengers… it is more of a reflection on what it’s like to have your work out there. Being judged. By the entire world.

Yesterday when I was discussing the movie with my friend, I was fine pointing out the good things about the film… and the things that might need improvement. But when I woke up this morning, I was reminded of my novel. My novel is currently marinating, which means I am not working on the novel, but other people are reading it to give me feedback to make it better. The novel, which will be released sometime this summer, will be available for the entire world to read. And to critique.

Will my book have places that could be improved or done differently? Yes.
Will there be places of brilliance that should never be changed? I hope so. But the idea of having my work out there… not being read simply for enjoyment… but critiqued, is a concept I have not really thought about before. It’s kind of intimidating. I felt comfortable critiquing Joss Whedon’s movie from the comfort of my own chair… like many critics. Many online critics with anonymous handles (which prevent them from ever really being identified) are lobbing negative and positive reviews of the movie at Joss Whedon. Being anonymous allows people more freedom to critique. Some day, if my novel is even mildly successful, I will have anonymous reviewers lobbing positive and negative reviews of my work.

My friend and I both enjoyed the movie. Even though Age of Ultron failed to beat Harry Potter’s opening Friday with a paltry $84-million dollars, it has been very successful in it’s first two days in the U.S.A. (opened Thursday night). Some of the criticisms of Joss Whedon’s “Age of Ultron” seem mean-spirited, while others are more complimentary.

People feel really comfortable critiquing a movie, or a book, pointing out every flaw. But as an author, a creator of that work… it kinda sucks. How do you deal with the critical reviews of your work? Do you read them? Ignore them? Hide your head inn the sand? What do you do?

Copy Editing, and Marinating the Novel … A Writer’s Journey

I am copy editing my novel.  Copy editing is not as fun as voice editing. In fact, copy editing is tedious and somewhat boring. For indie authors, I generally forgive some grammar/typos because I know they could not afford a copy editor. But I do not expect that same level of grace from someone who will read my book.

I am doing the best I can, and almost at the writing stage where I let friends read the book. This is what I call the marinating stage, because I will not be working on the book. But my friends will be reading it and giving feedback. I will use their feedback to make the book even better. But copy editing feels like I have ripped the soul out of the writing process. It no longer feels creative. It’s about form, structure, etc.

Once I officially start the marinating stage, it could involve a few rewrites 😦

I did my best to create dynamic, interesting characters. I generated an amazing, fast-paced story. Now I’m making the sentences readalicious.

Character Editing … A Writer’s Journey

I am still editing characters for my novel.  I want characters that are memorable… and I want a plot that moves people. For the characters to be memorable, and a plot that is moving, then the characters really need to pop. This is probably why character editing is my favorite stage in the novel writing process.

Continue reading Character Editing … A Writer’s Journey

Great Characters Tell the Story … A Writer’s Journey

Climbing the “Novel Writing Mountain” has its highs, lows, and false peaks.

However, I finished the story edit phase of the novel. The story editing phase is where I go through the entire novel and iron out all the rough spots in the plot. Finally the main plot, and the subplots, make sense throughout the entire story. This also means that I have finally reached my favorite stage of the storytelling process. I call this stage the character editing stage.

Currently my novel is 69,898 words. I expect the final novel will be between 70,000 to 120,000 words. Guessing the final length will be much easier after I finish the character editing stage. The character editing stage is where I develop character history, character dialect, style, etc. In addition, I make sure dialect and style is consistent for each character.

For example, not every character is going to use slang… or cuss… or call someone “honey.” I enjoy reading work by indie authors. But a pet peeve of mine for new/indie authors is when every character acts and sounds exactly the same. It doesn’t matter if the ebook is free or not… I get irritated quickly with poor character development.

In addition, in the character editing stage, I edit each character individually.
I go line by line in the dialogue, making sure each character has a unique voice… a unique style, etc. It appears as though I have a total of 53 characters in the story. Some of these characters do not have a line to speak. Some have just a handful of lines. I have 31 of these ultraminor characters. I anticipate it will take half a day to edit these ultraminor characters. But even the ultraminor characters will get individual attention.

Other characters are important minor characters, and of course there are a few major characters. The bulk of my character editing time will be spent on the important minor characters and the major characters. I expect the character editing process to take around two to four weeks. This process will add between 0 to 50,000 words to my current ‘net’ word total.

What are some of your novel writing tips?