Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Writing Book Recommendation: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers

As I'm rereading and preparing to edit my current novel-in-progress (and getting towards the end of the reread), I'm thinking about facing the terrors I have over revision and rewriting. It's about making choices - what do I throw away? What do I add? Is the new stuff I'm writing better than the old stuff I'm replacing it with?

It's nearly enough to paralyze me!

A friend came through with a recommendation - a book to read to help me focus while revising on things to look for.

The book is Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. Sure, some of what they say I've heard before - "show don't tell," "use more active verbs," and so forth. But they give LOTS of examples and they show before-and-after bits, showing selections with "mistakes" and how they'd rewrite them.

I'm sure I won't remember every piece of advice when I get to the "dreaded task," but there are enough nuggets in my brain that I think it will help when I wade into it. It makes me a little more hopeful anyway!

Any fellow writers have advice on how to revise?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Rollercoaster of Life

Back again ... a tad more than a week since last post, but I think I'm keeping up with the new schedule.

This week has been filled with ups and downs on the writing front. To wit:

  • Continued rereading my novel, Cosmic Ray, in preparation to do the second draft.
  • Submitted a story to my writers' group for critique. The story is one for inclusion in our next ghost story anthology. The critique didn't go so well, I feel.
  • Got a poster and press release for a "Local Author Event" I'm part of (will try to attach the image below).

Up, down, up. High, low, high. Unfortunately, they didn't go exactly in that order!

So I'm wondering, if I may ask anyone reading: How do you bounce back from rejection? How do you hack it when things make you question whether you should go on?

I've had times when I've said, "I should just give up trying to be a writer." But I've found I couldn't. Yet I'm getting towards 50 now, and I've put in what I consider my best efforts yet. And still I'm feeling low about some of it. So how to keep getting up off the mat and back in the fight?

I got back to rereading Cosmic Ray today, and it helped a little. I think I'm going to have to do some pretty massive rewriting of the first five chapters, but it gets better around Chapters 7 and 8. So that gives me some hope.

What gives you hope?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Back to the Battle!

Been away from this blog for some time, but am hoping to get it going on a regular basis - at least once per week - again.

The good news is, I've been busy! A lot of it has been writing. I finished my novel, "Cosmic Ray." Well, I finished it as in "I got to the end of the story." It now needs a re-read and a lot of revision, but I've begun that process. Finding it daunting, though. I've done a lot of writing recently, but revision? Not so much. So shifting gears has proved a little tough. More on that in a moment ...

Also wrote two short stories for consideration in an anthology put out by the North Shore Writers' Group here in Salem, MA. I'm a member of the group, and my story, "An Ill Wind," about a (maybe) superhero whose alter-ego died, is in the first book, Ghost Writers. Now, I've picked one of the new stories to ... revise!

So, yes ... having some problems with revision. One issue is that I seem to need few distractions around me when I revise. When writing, I seem able to tune out the chatter of others around me, but not when revising. I have less time home alone (I used to stay up quite late, and did some work after everyone else went to bed, but not anymore), so it's been hard to get to. I've bought a book on how to "self-edit" for writers. I am going to get it done ... it's just NEVER as fast as I'd like it to be.

On the non-writing front, I finally got a full-time permanent job, so I am less stressed about that. I even have some time to write while at work. Plus!

Been reading some good sci-fi and other books. A friend turned me on to Ray Bradbury. My writing often has a certain "flowery/florid" quality, and my friend said Ray was expert at this. Boy was she right! I read Something Wicked This Way Comes, and was blown away by how he found new, poetic ways to say things. That's something I love doing.

Also finally reading early Flash Gordon strips in prep for my revising of "Cosmic Ray." It's a tribute to Flash Gordon-y stuff, so I want to steep myself in Flash and other Flash-like things as I approach the rewriting and finalizing.

Also checking out some "Legion of Super-Heroes" comics in prep for my next novel project, about which I'll say very little at this point.

I like to end with a (series of) question(s) ... this one's for the fellow writers out there: How do you manage your revisions? How do you manage to "kill your darlings" (i.e. get rid of some of the words you've so lovingly written)? And what do you do when you're not sure whether the "new stuff" is better or worse than the "old stuff" (that which you're removing/replacing)?