Yes, I added a new category of posts - writing problems. It seems I come up with more and more of them as I continue to revise my novel. This new category is not to bring you down, it's to tell you about my experiences and give you some advice. Also, I'd love some advice from our readers on ways I might be able to solve my problems.
So, without further ado......bad chapters. As I revise my manuscript, bad chapters continuously plague me. Often, I can't pinpoint why a particular chapter seems 'bad', but all I know is that I don't want it in my book. Sometimes, it is the language that causes me to make lengthy revisions when I find these chapters. I may find cliches, or words and statements that don't fit with my style, or with the personalities of my characters.
What gives me some hope as I read through my novel, is that many of these chapters occur at the beginning of my novel, and, although the bad chapters are plentiful, there are some scenes that I know will be part of the final product. Considering that I did start my novel about three years ago, it's to be expected that my writing has improved. It gives me hope that I will continue to improve as I work through the revision process.
As I go through my first round of revisions, I try not to worry about language. During my read-throughs, I focus on whether a particular scene or chapter advances my story. If it does, no matter how abominable the writing is, I leave it and move on.
Revising is a very comforting process, if you think about it. Each time you revise, you make your work a little better, and you know that no matter how terrible the writing is, you can come back and change it. Think about revising like this: say you have a conversation with someone, and maybe you say the wrong thing, or you aren't attentive enough, or maybe you're distracted. The moment the conversation ends, you realize this, and come up with the perfect thing you could have said. I don't know how many others do this, but I certainly analyze my conversations. In real life, you can't go back and correct what you have said. But, when you revise, you can. You can correct it over and over until you say the perfect thing.
So, think of these bad chapters as opportunities to say the right thing. You don't have to worry about them now, but you have the power to go back and find the best thing to say when you are ready to do so.
You may have thought that we had disappeared....but this is not the case. Actually, we did disappear for a while, but now we're back, at least temporarily.
As many of you know, life sometimes gets in the way. Things have stopped me from blogging regularly, and also (sadly) from writing regularly. But, as Christmastime approaches, I feel the need to try and get back to some of the things that are important to me. This means WRITING MY NOVEL! I have only had a few chances to write over the last little while, and I am very excited to get back to work.
I have been working with the same characters for so long, that I actually miss them when I don't write for a long time. I miss the things they say - even though I basically make them say things, I miss the way they interact with eachother, and I really really miss the way they have been progressing as I continue to revise my novel.
So, I challenge you to start writing again with me! I am sure many people would love to get re-commited to their works in progress, so this is the chance to start again. It's almost a new year, and writing more is the perfect resolution!
Right (write) now, I would like to leave you with a little story about how my novel, which I have been working on for about 2 1/2 years, came to be.
It all began the summer of 2010....
I had just finished my first attempt at a novel (an uncompleted novel that I wrote for NaNoWriMo http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/node
), and I really wanted to write something new. When I first started planning this novel, I wanted everything to be perfect. I had big plans. Huge plans. Every name had to be just right, all the characters had to be fully developed, it had to be AMAZING. So, I started writing. I wrote for one whole year, and on the first anniversary of the day I started the novel, I stayed up late to finish it.
Of course by this point, I was starting to have doubts about how perfect it really was...and then I started reading it, and realized that I was completely wrong. It wasn't that it was slightly imperfect - this novel was truly crappy.
So, I started revising. Suddenly, all my perfect character names were commonplace. My scenes were terribly clichéd, the writing was awful, and I had a million changes to make. Obviously, this was very intimidating. I knew I had to start from the beginning. I re-developed all my characters using character questionnaires, I made a story map, and then I started rewriting. I had to completely re-write many many many many scenes, and my novel is still looking kind of intimidating, but I think things are slightly more under control.
When I started this novel, I had no idea that I'd be working on it for so long. I didn't think I'd be able to stick with it for more than one summer, but, I fell in love with my characters. I started to think I had a story worth telling, and now, I feel like I might be at loose ends when this novel is finally finished!
Thanks for reading my novel's story!
Sorry for the prolonged absense. Things have been busier than expected. I'm here today to tell you about a great website for writers called Wattpad (www.wattpad.com
). Wattpad has been called YouTube for writers. The concept of the website is that you can post stories, poetry, and parts of stories for others to read and give feedback. You can also read stories that others have posted.
I created an account a few days ago, and put up the beginning of the novel I'm working on. I'd love it if you'd take a look. My name on the site is extraordinary10. You can see my writing here:
I wanted to let you know that tomorrow we're going to be changing the look of our website! I just didn't want you to be startled by the new look. We decided to change the theme to one that relates more to writing.
I hope you like it!
Hello Writers (and readers)!
The Mysterious Benedict Society is a great book, primarily for ages 10-13, but teenagers will also likely enjoy it.
If you like clever characters, brain teasers and suspenseful mysteries, then this book is for you. The book begins when an ad is put in the paper calling for gifted children looking for opportunities. Reynie Muldoon, the main character turns up at the building that the ad mentioned and takes a series of tests. He meets three other children, each equally gifted in their own way, and finally meets the man who created the newpaper ad. When all is explained, Reynie and his new friends are sent on a mission to a school for gifted children and given a task that could save the world.
In a letter to S a few weeks ago, I told her some things I would have done by the time she got to the cottage. She and K will be arriving on Wednesday, so I have a lot of work to do.
First, I'd like to be finished revising at least 150 pages of my novel. Right now, I've revised 125 pages, so I have quite a bit of work left. Also, I told her I would be finished a short story. This goal is completed. I am continuing to work on the story in order to send it in to a contest by Monday. I'm also working on a poem to send in to the same contest (in a different category). In addition, I've written the first draft of another short story, and the beginning of yet another short story.
Luckily, there are still five days until she comes. This means that I will only have to revise five pages per day in order to meet my goal!
When S and K come, we will have some QPK meetings! So, expect to see a few more new posts and activities within the next little
Most writers are word lovers, and I'm asking our word lovers out there to come forward. Post in the comments of this post your favorite word, or a word that's particularily interesting,along with the definition, and The QPK Society will post some of the words to the Words from Reggie page!
Soooo....grab your dictionaries and post some words!
Hello! M here.
I have a little story/update for you:
Until a few days ago, the revisions of my novel were coming along smoothly. Sometimes, I could revise a whole chapter every day! Each scene, including the end of the book, was clearly planned out in my head - all I had to do was write it. Now, one hundred pages in, I have come to a novel writing crossroads.
Before I met with this challenge, I had already planned out that one of my main characters was going to die at the very end of the book. I clearly understood all the relationships between my characters, and how they were going to change leading up to, and after this death.
Now, another idea, one that could (maybe) create a brilliant (or at least pretty good) outcome to my novel, has burst into my head. The only problem is, it changes the dynamics of all the relationships in my novel and the outcome leaves room for a second book, which I'm not sure I want to write.
The reason this situation demands a second book, is because it leaves the state of the romantic relationships between my characters uncertain. I've been working on this novel for over two years, and I'd really like to work on a new project sometime soon. But, I do love my characters, so a sequel is something I might want to think about in coming years. Basically, the change is that instead of one character dying, it's another character who is not as close to my main character.
So, here they are, the pitfalls of my supposed brilliance now that I am in the late stages of working on this manuscript:
1. Because I've already written the end of the book (when I wrote the first draft), and I really like it, I don't know if I want to make this switch which could affect the enitre manuscript.
2. As said before, another book might be needed.
3. I don't have time to work through things, and wait until the end to decide who's going to die - if I change the ending, I have to start changing the relationships between my characters at this point in revising.
4. I don't want to cause a bout of writer's block at this point in my story, and my indecision about what to do at the end of my book could put a block in my way.
5. The new idea leaves me not understanding the relationships between my characters, especially the romantic relationships.
I think I need to expand on pitfall #1 a bit:
I looove the way my book ends currently. I wrote most of the ending in one day - almost in one sitting! The ending nearly brought me to tears to write, because of the death, and I don't want to lose that emotion by making a different character die. Because of this death, the end of the book is a funeral. If the character who dies is changed, much of what happens at the funeral will need to change as well, and the last scenes will need to examine the dynamics of the relationships between my main characters at the end of the book, rather than how they're coping with the death. That right there is the biggest challenge, because I don't know how I want things to end for my characters.
What got me into this situation is something you may have heard writers talk about before: when characters have minds of their own. When I created these characters, the things that I wrote about them doing, such as the way they reacted to situations, and the way they intereacted with eachother, often came naturally. One character started to fall in love with another character, which lead me to the idea of the different ending. I know this sounds odd, but when you work with characters for a long period of time, they become so real that you can't ignore what they're trying to do for themselves, which may not be the same thing you intended for them to do.
Last, how I'm going to fix this:
The honest answer to the question of how I'm going to fix this is, I have no idea. I have a few options, but I think the option I may have to go with is the dangerous one - to pay attention to the characters entirely, and don't plan ahead to much. I'll let the relationships that want to expand, expand, and, in the end, when the time comes, I'll see who I think should die. Of course, one of the major things I will be doing to figure out a plan, is having long conversations with the other group members about this problem, to try and talk it out. Sometimes, when you have other people ask questions about your work in progress, it helps you sort out some things in your brain.
Whew, that was a long post. I know it took a while, but I think it's something I needed to talk about, mostly to explain my own experiences and how I got into my current situation, but also to get our blog readers thinking about problems in their own manuscripts, and how to solve them.
I'd love to hear advice from you about how to solve this problem, or about problems you've had with your writing, and how you fixed them.
Thanks for reading,
Sorry for the lack of posts, but I've been doing tons of writing lately. I wanted to let everyone know how my Jane Austen reading challenge is going.
So, I finished Northanger Abbey a little while ago. The plan was to move on to Sense and Sensibility, but I found another book I wanted to read, called The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. I started that, and I'm really enjoying it! It is a beautifully written book, with excellent use of imagery and metaphors. It is a truly inspiring work of literature. Later on, when I finish, I'll post a book recommendation for it. Note: I suggest that only teenagers read this book. There are parts of it that describe gory scenes and violence.
On to Northanger Abbey:
This is the shortest of Jane Austen's books, but that did not take away from it's appeal. It was an interesting story with a protangonist, Catherine Morland, who seems very alive. Many of the sentiments and feelings that she felt throughout the book were very familiar, and described well. Here's one of my favourite quotes from the book, said by Henry Tilney, another prominent character:
"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid."
I highly recommend this book, and am excited to continue with Jane's novels when I finish The Book Thief.
So, there was a slight technical difficultly with the survey on the previous blog post. I tested out the survey, and we can't recieve results, so here's another one that will (hopefully) work. Also, I wante to point out that by 'other' we want to know if there are any other things besides the look of the website that you'd like us to change, such as new pages we should add etc.
Thanks for your input!