Flash Fiction Withdrawal & My Novel

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There is something about writing in the style of flash fiction that awakens my creativity and aids my writing process. I was doing so well on my novel, the story line and characters were flowing so well, but then I reached a stand still around page 130. This seems to be the case with almost all of my longer works – which are not even considered full length novels by any means. I have always wondered if I am better suited to write novellas and short stories. I think it is probably true. But I am still going to finish my novel. It will be challenging, and a lot of work, but the story and characters mean so much to me that I couldn’t leave it hanging. I will see it through to the end, and I will start scheduling time in my days to work on it exclusively.

As a reward for finishing at least 1,000 words for my novel each day, I will write some flash fiction. As an extra source of motivation, I will blog about my progress with the novel. I really am excited to dive into it again.


What writing projects and goals are you working on this month?

Happy writing!

Writing by Hand

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The feel of your hand sliding across the page as you pen the words birthed from your imagination. Seeing a story handwritten in a notebook is an art in its own way. Watching your ideas and characters form into sentences by your own hand is simply breathtaking.

Writing in a notebook allows you to travel anywhere and sit in the most interesting places that might be awkward if you carried a laptop. Of course, writing on a computer is certainly poetic as well, as writing is writing. But one cannot compare the magic that takes place as the writer pens her or his heart out onto the page as they lean against a tall oak tree or sit upon a rock at the top of a mountain.

Write What You Love

Write what you want to write about. Write about what inspires you. Write about what you think about when you’re walking under the stars or in the rain. Write the story that you have always wanted to tell. Write about the characters that won’t leave your mind.

Then, have the courage to write what you love. Then, re-write it until it works.

Do not worry about its marketability or who will like it. If you like your own work, it’s all that matters. Someone else will treasure it if you treasure it first.

Don’t just write about what you know, write what you love.

I Write Like…

Thanks to Miss Writerlicious for mentioning this most fun site called “I Write Like”. You cut and paste a portion of your writing (At least a few paragrahs from your WIP) to see which author’s writings yours most resemble.

You can give it a try here.

My results show that I write like H.P. Lovecraft.

According to Wikipedia, “Howard Phillips Lovecraft (August 20, 1890 – March 15, 1937) — known as H. P. Lovecraft — was an American author of horror, fantasy and science fiction, especially the subgenre known as weird fiction.”

I am flattered. :) I have no idea how accurate this is supposed to be, but it is interesting that, in my case, I tend to write darker stuff and have always preferred stories with fantasy or horror elements. Cool. And I like to describe myself as weird quite a bit. I will have to purchase some of his books now!

If you choose to try this site out, let me know what results you get. :)

First Person Narrative

For the first time since I have started writing novels, I have made the decision to write one of my books in the first person point of view. Normally, I love writing from multiple points of view – where the story is told from at least four different characters’ perspectives.

Sometimes, first person just works best. I was a little nervous to do this at first, but I think it will be great to try something new and challenging. I say challenging, because it’s going to be different for me to portray the other characters’ personalities and behaviour through just one person’s eyes. Though, I do enjoy reading first person sometimes, because it can give such an intimate portrayal of the protagonist as though you were reading her/his journal.

Interestingly, my current work in progress is a sort of survival tale, much like The Hunger Games, which was also narrated in the first person.

I’d also like to add that one of my favourite bloggers and writers, Lauren Waters, does a fabulous job of writing her books in the first person, because I can imagine everything that is going on around the main character with great detail – from plot events to the other characters. So, first person can certainly be very effective.

So, writers, how about you? Do you ever write in the first person? Do you write in both first and third narrative? Which do you find works the best?

Beta Readers

Before sending your work to a professional editor, I highly recommend having at least two people (fellow writers or avid readers) read over your book and let you know what they thought of it. Editors are amazing at fixing grammatical errors, sentence structure, and some will even comment on things like characters or the flow of the story, but you really need to have a few people give an honest opinion of your story to see if the concept works well.

I have had two beta readers go through my work and they have been absolute life savers. They pointed out some considerable flaws like continuity errors (i.e. forgetting one character dyed their hair and mentioning that they had their previous hue – oops!) and there were some significant historical inaccuracies I had missed, despite research. It would have been so embarassing to have my novel out on the market with such errors. Having two writers go over my work was the best decision.

Something to learn about self publishing: There is no rush.

Take the time to edit and tweak your story line until you are absolutely satsified. Then, edit it again. Have a few people do a peer edit after that and then, when everything makes sense and the details are in order, send it over to the editor.

Do you have a certain number of beta readers go over your story before sending it to an editor? Tell me your thoughts on beta readers. :)

Handwritten words

One morning, I thought it would be really inspiring to walk to a secluded area of the park near my home and write in my notebook rather than on my laptop. I sat on a bench and wrote an entirely new story idea. The quiet, natural surroundings provided the perfect whimiscal setting. Sun streamed through the tall trees above me and I wrote for a solid hour.

In the past, I have been exclusively a laptop writer. “You have to type up your story eventually, so why not start out that way? It saves the time and the work of transporting the words from the paper to MS Word,” I said.

I used to think that words flowed better when I typed, which can be true at times, but in the right setting, handwriting your story works wonders. Gripping the page as I wrote down the ideas that have been bouncing around in my head for days gave me this sort of symbolic freedom to pour everything out.

In that single hour of writing, I got over 1,000 words into the story.

I think it’s good to always challenge ourselves to write in different settings and to switch it up between handwriting and typing. Every time I take a break from the computer and pen the words on the page, it feels so natural and rewarding. I may even try writing the entire first draft that way and see if the whole story process flows faster. Plus, as one transfers the words from notebook to computer, you are editing as well. So, that takes care of the first edit right then and there.

What is your ritual, fellow writers? Do you handwrite often? Never? Just sometimes? Be heard. :)

Novellas

Two years ago, I was horrified when the first draft of my third novel sat at a mere 24,000 words. That was back when my life’s dream was to get an agent. I thought at the time that all the energy I put into a story I really had written from the heart was all for nothing unless I added a whopping 50K or 60K more words. The thing is, the skeleton of the story was good the way it was. Sure, it needed some work. With some editing, I have added more depth to the story but it still only sits at just over the 30K mark.

Some stories are just meant to be novellas. With Amazon and smaller presses, it is far easier to publish a short story. I am comfortable that this third book will never be a full length novel.

Now the question is, how marketable/desirable are novellas these days? I have been thinking about this with every edit.

I came across an article about novellas whole doing a Google search. It’s two years old now, but it is an interesting take on the step child of books. Apparently, they are no longer considered the “ugly duckling of the literary world”. Woot!

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2010/08/04/the-novella-is-making-a-comeback.html

A lot of people might enjoy a quick yet intense read. Others may feel cheated and wish there was more. Or, maybe some people that wouldn’t normally read might pick up a book if they noticed it wasn’t super thick.

I am curious to hear your opinion about novellas. Would you purchase one? Have you? Do you like reading shorter stories?

Your Summer Writing Goals

Right now I am working on the edit of my second novel done by my (very affordable – yay!) editor. After that I am having a good writing friend do a beta read for good measure. I plan to have it published in early-mid June. The title is called Followed.

After that, it is on to editing and re-working the third novel (Currently named Ice), which I hope to have out in November since it has a wintery theme.

I am curious to know about all of your writing (or publishing) goals for the summer. Do share!

Before ending this post, I thought it would be fun to share some neat writing quotes for inspiration and smiles:

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schitzophrenia.” – E.L. Doctorow

“I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose.” – Stephen King

“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero, but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.” – G.K. Chesterton

“A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists either of writing or thinking about writing.” – Eugene Ionesco

“Planning to write is not writing. Outlining, researching, talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.”  – E.L. Doctorow

Happy writing!