Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Another Lightbulb Moment

If you've followed my blogging long enough you know that I've tried all manner of writing and editing techniques. I've outlined to a fault, turned to the pantser method, and now I've run back to outlining. I have to admit that while my rough drafts have become better through my new outlining method, I still have work to go on my method of editing.

With Midnight Raynne I did the pantser thing and it worked great, for that story. I tried to write Barely There and another rough draft, but only got half way with both of them before trashing everything I'd written. Seeing as I didn't outline Midnight Raynne I had a lot of work to do on plot holes. I created a spreadsheet, after reading a blog post of another writer (I wish I could remember who & which blog), and started working my behind off to edit for plot. I did one whole round of editing focusing entirely on the plot. I then created a new spreadsheet and focused on characters, setting, and other items I felt were important to that story. After that round I ran through and fixed any, and every, plot hole and character I could find. I'll admit the writing is awful on that story, but I've learned a lot about my writing since shelving this project.

Fast forward several months and I wrote Barely There using a much better method of outlining. I spent more time before writing those first words and really figured out where I wanted to go with the story overall. After writing it I think I felt a little too cocky about the better rough draft and I forgot about how I had edited Midnight Raynne. I decided that I would run through the story once and make notes, then edit the heck out of it in one round. After all, it didn't need as much work as Midnight Raynne did.


After sending Barely There off to beta readers I pulled Midnight Raynne back off the shelf. About the time I got to chapter ten I realized that there were far less plot holes with this one than Barely There. Yup, apparently my original method of editing was much better than this new one. I see now how much work Barely There still needs. I can see the holes in that one clearly without even looking at the manuscript. I'm slightly itching to get back to it. At the same time, I want to wait. I want to see what my beta readers say about the story. What they like or don't like. What they think needs to be fixed. Then, I'm thinking, I'll go about it the spreadsheet way.

Well, sorta. I found another blog post recently, while pondering the spreadsheet method, and am leaning towards using it to create an outline method instead of the spreadsheet method. It's similar, but in outline form. I'm thinking it could work just as well, if not better. At least that's what I hope. By the way if you don't follow Adventures in YA & Children's Publishing, you should: blog & Google+.

So, what's the point of this blog post?

Try different methods!!!! Don't stick with one way of writing or editing. Change it up until you figure out the best way to write and edit, for you. Don't do it one way because that's the way you were taught or your favorite author does it that way. Write and edit the way that works the best for you.

Your Turn -> Do you try different methods of writing and/or editing? Has it helped?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Editing Like a Fool, or Not

I'd like to say that's me, but I'm an editing fool. I'm not as far into Midnight Raynne edits as I'd hoped to be by this point. But, I'm trudging right along. There are several reasons conspiring against my editing time.

1) That whole time change and springing forward thingy has me completely discombobulated. I don't have much of a problem with the falling back time shift. Springing forward is a completely different issue. I like to get up early and write/edit before my toddler gets up in the morning. Thanks to this time change I'm lucky if I can drag myself out of bed and get ready for my day before he's up. I can't seem to be able to get passed this time change and get myself back on schedule. My toddler had no trouble.

2) I also just started physical therapy for tendonitis in my shoulder. It's seriously cutting into my editing time. I now have those appointments scheduled during nap time, when my hubby and daughter get home. This cuts down on their stress of dealing with a wild toddler who searches the house over and over again for "Mommy!" And I get to go to physical therapy in peace. No worrying about the little wild one getting into trouble.

3) And to top things off there's the issue with Mother Nature being unable to make up her mind which has caused my allergies to go wonky. I've had a sinus headache since last Wednesday.

So the excellent start to my editing has turned out to be less than stellar and didn't meet my expectations.

Your Turn -> Do you find your best laid plans thwarted?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Writing Growth

I did it! I sent off Barely There to two wonderfully amazing writers. It's now in their hands to tell me what I've flubbed up on and what I got right with that manuscript. It's both exhilarating and terrifying at the exact same time. One minute I'm excited to hear what they think, and the next I'm sweating bullets. I don't think I'll be able to function if I keep up these mood swings.

And what better way to ignore the fact that I've got a manuscript out in the world? Work on another one. As I've mentioned before I've decided to go back to Midnight Raynne. I love the story and the world I created with that manuscript. It brings about a whole new round of mood swings, though. Is it the right manuscript to be working on or not? Should I go back to Masquerade and edit it?

Sunday night I pulled Midnight Raynne off the shelf and started reading it. Originally I was going to read it all the way through and then go back to edit. I changed my mind, however, after reading that first chapter. I've already made three passes at this manuscript. In the first pass I edited for plot, the second was for character, and I'm still not sure what I did in that third pass anymore. I feel confident plot and character wise with this manuscript. Which made me decide to go through it chapter by chapter and work on the writing.

I've come a long way in my writing alone, not including the plot or character issues, but the words and voice I use on the page. By Monday afternoon the first chapter was marked up like a bad essay. Not because the plot or characters needed help, but because my writing was less than acceptable. I realize I've come a long way in how I structure my sentences, words I use, and that thing agents always talk about - voice. In my slashed up pages I can already see it shining through.

For the first time, I think I have a true understanding of what agents are talking about. It was this realization that finally reassured me I am on the right track with this manuscript. I want work out all of the writing issues, tighten the story up, and polish it off by May. This seems a little much since I started editing Barely There in December. But, I had plot issues all over the place to deal with on that one. With this one, I've already dealt with those issues.

So, I'm holding myself accountable. I'd like to have Midnight Raynne ready for beta reading by May 1st. Now, I better get going so I can reach that goal.

Your Turn -> Have you ever gone back to an old manuscript and noticed how far you've come with your writing?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Almost Finished

I'm at that point with Barely There that I'm almost done. I've edited and polished every single chapter. I've sent every chapter to one of my wonderful critique partners, Jade. She's so good with pointing out mistakes and tightening my work. I've polished every chapter again based on her feedback. As scary as it is to have someone else read your work, it's great to see it through different eyes. She often points out inconsistencies and questions why I've done something. 

So what now?

Well, now I'm going to send it out for beta reading. In the meantime i plan on switching gears and going back to Midnight Raynne. I really would like to polish that story up enough to have it out for beta reading by May. Fingers crossed I can make that deadline. I'm actually going to take a few days to read and do some critiques first. I'm having a difficult time saying goodbye to Phoebe this time. For some reason it's more difficult to switch gears. I've been stalling on this last polishing bit. I had nine chapters to polish based on Jade's responses, and I just sat down the other day to really delve into it. I've been great at procrastinating recently.

Starting Monday I'll be delving into that project once again head first. I'm excited to be going back to Raynne, but sad to be leaving Phoebe behind. Phoebe's story is sure to have a little more work to come after the beta stage, but hopefully not as much as it needed this last time.

Your Turn -> How do you switch gears? 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

March Releases

This month's list of releases is slightly crazy. I can't believe there are so many books coming out this month that I want to read and I still have to finish reading the books for February.  

Perception (Clarity #2) by Kim Harrington (3/1/12)

Why -> If you haven't read Clarity, go out and buy it, download it, request it from your library. It was absolutely amazing and I've been dying for this second installment since I read Clarity. It's beautifully written, the characters are wonderfully drawn, and the world and plot are addicting.

Goddess Hunt (The Goddess Test #1.5) by Aimee Carter (3/1/12)

Why -> After reading the first installment of this series I was really curious about what Kate's trip would entail. I mean she's just been dealt a huge shock and she needs to let things set in. I just wish this would have come out sooner. Instead I have to read it quickly before I read the next full installment due out at the end of the month.

The Savage Grace (The Dark Devine #3) by Bree Despain (3/13/12)

Why -> I read the first book in this series when it first came out. Loved it! I'm not a werewolf person, but it was definitely one that I loved. I bought the second book, The Lost Saint, but never read it. As time went by I decided that I'd rather hold off and read them back to back. I'm excited to read not only these two, but The Lost Letters of Brother Gabriel, which was pretty much #2.5 in the sequence.

Spell bound (Hex Hall #3) by Rachel Hawkins (3/13/12)

Why -> As I said before, I'm not much of a werewolf fan, but I am a vampire and witch fan. Big time! Not long ago I realized that I've read tons of vampire novels, but practically no witch books. So, I went in search and found the Hex Hall series. I downloaded the first two books in the series to my Kindle. I'm just waiting on this book to come out so I can download it and read them all back to back. I. Can't. Wait. 

Goddess Interrupted (The Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter (3/27/12)

Why -> I loved the first installment and can't wait to find out what happens next. I hear there's an impending war of the gods in this one which should be good. I'm excited to see how Kate takes on her new role and integrates into this new world she's found herself in.

Lover Reborn (Black Dagger Brotherhood #10) by J.R. Ward (3/27/12)

Why -> A few years back I got addicted to this series. I'm behind to say the least. I have books 8 and 9 to catch up on before I can read this, but I prefer to let a bunch of books pile up on this series. One at a time isn't enough. It's a seriously adult series, no teens should read this at all. That aside the characters and plot are insanely amazingly well done. Ward knows how to create the most complex characters of any books I've ever read. They are so well done I've seen other agents praise her complex characters. I love this series for the characters and plot, not the other stuff she has added in.

Your Turn -> What book releases are you looking forward to this month?