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Posts Tagged ‘editing’

Book rec

When I decided to try to level up from writer to author, I went looking for books on how to do that. Do you know how many people are out there writing about writing? And how many people are out there waitiOuliningBookPIcng to take advantage of aspiring authors?

I’ve gotten some really great books in the past few years. And one really great audio lecture. But I think the book I use the most and has given me the most oomph in my writing has been Outlining Your Novel by K.M. Weiland. After reading this book, it isn’t a surprise that Weiland also has a very successful website titled Helping Writers Become Authors.

Now, in the past I’ve been a full-blown pantser, the kind of writer who just starts writing by the seat of her pants and has no plan whatsoever. My only series and my biggest writing endeavor was all done with no real outline. Just an idea. But I was younger then with less cares (cue music and fuzzy memories). Now I have a lot more on my brain plate and have found that waiting about for the muse to strike and the story to form organically as I write isn’t happening. So I’ve started outlining.

There are many, many reasons why outlining is particularly awesome and the book goes into that. But the best thing, I think, that  outlining and, in particular, this book does extremely well, is get ideas to flow. Not just simple ideas, but ideas that can turn readers on their heads and they’ll love you for it. Ideas that might not come to you as you are writing because you are in the thick of it and can’t pull away far enough to see all the big picture and to see all the ways your story could go. Maybe you’ll see it in editing, but then you’ll be doing cutting and pasting and tweaking and shoving. You’ll have to do all that anyway, so why make more of the work for yourself, I ask.

Weiland doesn’t just sell a book that tells you how to organize your thoughts, but to really delve into and work out everything your story needs and wants. She teaches ways to jog some great plot points out and how to really flesh out characters and, more importantly, setting. So many authors, particularly in my genre, completely forget setting. Their characters dance about on a blank stage and it’s a truly terrible thing to read. In my big ol’ epic piece , The Concubine Prince, (which I am still writing on) I had my setting all planned out, but this book helped me get more detailed, more into it than just looking at it like a map. And because the setting came to life, more of the story could unfold and breathe, as well.

This book is laid out logically and written in a very engaging way. It’s not at all boring or dry. She uses real-life examples from other authors, as well as examples from the outlines on her own books. There is a workbook that goes along with this one, but I haven’t felt the need for it. Everything you need is right there and ready to be used and applied. A highly recommended book for any writer of fiction.

What about you? Have any excellent writing resources? Please do share!

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Some of you may know that I wrote a series of serial fiction called Island Ink. It’s been hidden away from mass consumption for a few years now and I need to get it out there. So I’ve been editing it. The biggest part about editing this particular work is that I have to change its location from a Caribbean island to… somewhere else. I had been working on putting its new location in Chesapeake Bay. I thought that was perfect. And I’ve been diligently switching weather and seasons and fauna from the Caribbean to Maryland.

I just realized I have no clue what Maryland is like.

Talk about writing what you know! It’s not like there is a plethora of movies or tv shows based in the Chesapeake Bay to even give a writer a clue. Best I could come up with is some nature documentaries. I’ve been doing a lot of reading, but, seriously, this is not working. Maryland is a state between the South and the North, oh, and it’s on the East coast. All three things I know nothing about and there is no way I can take a quick jaunt across the country to explore the location. What the hell was I thinking? It took me six chapters to figure this out?

So, here I am, realizing my stories are once again taking place in the air. The great, blank air.

I hate editing my own work. I can’t be trusted with it.

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