Category Archives: Revision

Save on Phone Plans: 25%

I’ve lost my phone.

This worries me as I have an appointment with two friends. What if I’m late?

I fought against getting this phone. But year before last when people were messaging all over Waterford trying to find me, and the last time my agent had to listen to Carolina’s weird answering machine, I realized it was time to get a phone of my own.

Where is that darn thing?

#40

What has your main character lost?

How important is it to her?

Does this loss play a necessary part in your story?

Look through your novel. IF this loss is important, in needs to be present. It can’t be forgotten.

When Rick Walton was ill, he was always on my mind. Always. He’s still on my mind quite a lot.

Loss can be anything. Anyone. Keep it age-appropriate, and remember loss for a young child is as important as for an older person, even if the object isn’t as huge as a lost cell phone. 😉

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Family, Revision, Voice, writing process

Sexy Sexy Sexy Review

I heard if you give your posts good titles, you get more views.

Woot!

We may go up to TEN readers!

#33

Are you doing your one first line per day?

I’ve found having a slight idea helps me know what to write. Getting better at just saying anything and then thinking where the book may head. But I like having an idea and writing to that.

How many first lines do you have?

How many are great?

How many will lead somewhere?

 

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Filed under CLW, First Line, Life, Plot, Revision, writing process

Tuesday: Number Twenty-seven

 

Review time!

In 30 minutes, write all the things that could happen in your book. Even if you have done this once or twice, try to come up with new events.

Every novel is a bit mystery. Keep this in mind as you plug in ideas that might happen in your fabulous story.

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Filed under CLW, Exercises, Plot, Revision, Voice, writing process

Prompt

# 24

Write 25 first lines for your novel.

Jot them down quickly (you already have a first line, and you’re working on a book, so you know where you’re going–this will be an easy exercise), a minute or less per line.

That first line is a promise to your reader. It can show voice, hint at character and plot, show mood and it certainly should grab the reader.

So what are you doing with YOUR book opening?

Remember, Richard Peck (LONG WAY FROM CHICAGO, A YEAR DOWN YONDER) says, “You are no better than your first line.”

Once Richard read the first few pages of my novel that is under consideration right now. “You don’t have your best first line,” he said. He was right. I chopped off the first paragraph AND learned a valuable lesson from a great writer.

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Filed under First Line, Life, Publication, Revision, Uncategorized, Voice

Manic Monday?

#21

Nine Questions We May Explore Later

What is the scariest thing your character must do?

How will you prepare him to do it?

How is your main character like the antagonist?

How does that make the main character feel knowing he’s like the antagonist?

Your main character wants to change one thing about you. What is it?

Why?

What one thing has surprised you about this book?

About your main character?

About you as you’ve written this book?

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Filed under Character, CLW, Exercises, Plot, Revision, writing process

Monday, Monday–Are You Writing? Three Hints.

I mentioned last week Ann Dee and I came up with the 25 words that our story is about. Here’s the thing. Having an idea, knowing what your story is about, makes it easier to write.

Hint–Know what your story is about. Knowing this Major Dramatic Question (which is answered with a yes or no) gives you the direction to take your story. When you know this then character can move the plot.

 

Each morning, I’ve tried to give myself time to complete a project I MUST finish.

Like having the MDQ, I’ve set a specific word count for myself.

Having a word count gives you a concrete goal.

Hours sitting at your computer is NOT the same as putting words on the page.

Hint–What is your concrete goal? Have you reached it each day since you started? Can you see progress?

A few places to land after you have written to see what other people have done with their word counts:

http://writerswrite.co.za/the-daily-word-counts-of-39-famous-authors-1

http://www.absolutewrite.com/novels/word_count.htm

FYI–There was a third article for you to read  from someone who jumped up their daily writing word count from reasonable to far too much. I read the first lines of this author’s first pubbed book and it was pretty crummy. So.

(I am not endorsing anyone of these. Just giving you something to read to keep you from writing. Ha! Read AFTER you write!)

 

Don’t rewrite now.

Not yet.

In our new book, Ann Dee and I can already see what will need to be done, but we want that Dirty Draft down.

If we edit and rewrite and fix and change, we won’t be putting down the new words.

Hint: Allow yourself that shitty first draft that Anne Lamott talks about.

Here’s something to read.

Anne Lamott on Writing and Why Perfectionism Kills Creativity

So keep going.

Are you having fun?

It’s nice to reach goals, huh?

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Exercises, Plot, Revision

Writing as a Team

So here’s how Ann Dee and I wrote our first draft.

Ish.

Basically.

We were very, very organized. We met together for several hours, plotted carefully, wrote everything down. We kept a log of words, characters, events and both knew where the story was set so well we could see Riverside, Florida, in our heads like a picture. We knew (after our hours planning) the beginning, the middle and the end of the novel. We’ve had to do few corrections because of this.

Lies! Lies, lies, lies!

I never know anything about a book when I start writing. In fact, when I begin any novel, I’m feeling my way along, listening to the character, seeing if I’m interested in stalking her for 250 pages.

It was no different in this book with Ann Dee.

In fact, we started out writing a dystopian–each writing just one section (all about food, mind you). Then Ann Dee, who was uncomfortable with the topic because of world events, set the idea aside and started something new. (I think we’ll write that other book at some point. The idea is dark and different for both of us and we’ve decided we want to write the thing we aren’t as comfortable with when we write together. But we might not. Who knows?)

That first chapter came from her and I had to decide if I took the novel from where Ann Dee ended or if I backed up in time a little. Howq was I going to tell my character’s story when the novel wasn’t–at this moment–about my character at all?

Writing with Ann Dee gave me permission to push my character, push the situation she was in. As I wrote, as we wrote, we discovered so much. Daddies–all kinds of daddies–good, dead, dying, crummy. All kinds of mommas–neglectful, fat, liars, the kind that ignore problems and grandchildren, the kind that dote. Two lonely preteens who need someone and happen to find the wacky kid next door. Girls who search for mysteries and solve problems they didn’t even know were there or didn’t even know they had the strength to solve.

I lead the novel in one direction, and during our first gentle rewrite decided (after talking to Ann Dee), that direction had to change. We made the book more mid grade by cutting out that plot point and now, in this last rewrite we’ll make the book solidly middle grade.

What I’m saying, I guess, is that YOU decide how you want to write with your partner. However, I’d make sure that you and the person you write with are equally balanced. This isn’t a “I got an idea for a book, why don’t you write it,” kind of deal. You each need to carry the weight of the book. That’s what I found so cool. When we finished that first draft I was surprised we’d written 50,000 + words because the weight was equally distributed between us.

Ann Dee did worry a little more than I did. In fact, when we got through with the book I was like, “Let’s send this off to my agent for a read-thru!”

Ann Dee blanched. “Now?”

“Sure, why not.”

“It’s not ready.”

“I know, but it’s close.”

“But . . . it has plot problems.”

“Who needs a plot? We have these two great characters.”

🙂

So now you and your writing partner will work on your ideas. Will you plan heavily or just follow along and see what’s gonna happen? What are each of your strengths? Do you both love to write? Both write often? What is your partnership goal for this week? Ann Dee and I can’t wait to find out.

 

 

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Exercises, Plot, Revision, Voice