Category Archives: Revision

Merry Christmas Day 13 & 14 & 15

Merry Christmas day 13

Life has a way of throwing curveballs. We never really know what to expect. And that can be pretty darn crummy. Another thing that is crummy is when you can figure out  what is going to happen in the novel from page two or three. There’s no reason to read a book when you already know the ending from the beginning.

Look carefully at your  novel. Is it too easy to see who done it? Wha? You’re not writing a mystery novel? Well, you sorta are. All novels should have something that  has to be figured out. Giving that surprise away too soon, or writing poorly so there is no surprise, or just plain being lazy in your writing leaves the reader wanting more.

How can you change up your book so there are plenty of curveballs? Plenty of surprises?

Merry Christmas day 14

For me the name of the character is really important. My editor at St. Martin’s Press said, “Carol! I cannot believe you named your characters after your daughters.”

Well, I do. My daughters. Or other family members.  Or people I love. Or people I hate. They all wind up in my books. (I joke I should have given them each three names not just a first and middle name.)

In my newest novel, MESSENGER, I used all of my grandmother’s sisters and brothers names. That’s a family of 10. Because I love my extended family, the book became that much more  important to me.

So who would you write about?

Why?

How did that person change you?

How is that person complex?

We all know we can’t use our relatives exactly the way they are, but what are 15 things you would write about this person?  What are 15 things you would keep the same about their personality? Their mannerisms? Their speech? Their loves and hates?

I always, or almost always, have Nana smoking, drinking beer, cleaning house, wearing polyester, and laughing. Those are just a few of the things Nanny did.She died almost 25 years ago.  I miss her. When I write about her, she lives again for me.

Merry Christmas day 15

I just saw a post on Twitter about not using adjectives. And I have to admit that I am one of those people who is trying to trim my overuse of them. Or at least I’m trying to do as Lance Larsen says and turn them on ears. (We’ll talk more of this next year.)

Anyone can talk about the Christmas season in cliché ways. It’s snowy. Glittery. Cold. But using adjectives in new and different ways will make your prose sing. It will make the reader stop and pay attention. Yes! That’s what we want!

Take one chapter of your novel and mark  all the adjectives. Now go through and look at the ones that you can cut.  Which ones you can change and make more special? How can you use them in unique ways?

Ack! It must be the season. I used the word special. I really don’t like that word.

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Filed under Ann Dee, Character, Life, Revision, Uncategorized, Voice

YAHOO!!!!

You did it!

You are amazing! Did you accomplish 32 hours of writing? Did you take weekends off?

Did you reach your goal?

While I didn’t write every day, man, I tried. And I accomplished two big things. (I had hoped for three, but I am thrilled with the two.)

So, how do you feel?

Share your goals, if you’d like. What did you do? How would you have changed this challenge? How did you get your time in? What was the easiest part of the challenge fo you? What was the hardest?

I can tell you the hardest part for me. Even though I told my family for days that I was taking the hour in the mornings, they still intruded on the hour. I whined about this with the first interruptions, then I figured out I was going to need to figure out how to work anyway.

What was the best part for you?

The best for me was knowing out there, somewhere, other people were giving an hour a day to their writing. I loved the idea of community.

Ann Dee, Kyra and I will let you know where we’ll eat. Would you love to do a potluck? That might be great fun. Go to Olive Garden again? Whatever we decide, let’s make this an annual tradition.

And remember this–YOU ROCK!

PS Guess what awaits you? REVISION!

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Kyra, Revision, Writing Marathon

Writing Challenge, Monday Hint

Did you get your goal number of words for last week?

Did you write everyday?

Have you five hours writing logged?

Is your goal where you can see it?

Hint: Do not stare into the sun during the eclipse. Damage can occur in moments.

Another hint: Do not sing Total Eclipse of the Heart. CORNY!

(Now I will have to sing that dumb song. I will change the words to Turn around blind eyes in case one of you looks at the eclipse today.)

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Filed under Ann Dee, CLW, Plot, Revision, Voice, Writing Marathon, writing process

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