Talk about information flood!
This morning I had the opportunity to listen to a panel on subplots and writing Fantasy.
The day started with a fantastic opening from Steven James. Reminding us how many of the most cherished and renown authors, poets, and artists were never successful or famous in their lifetimes. His underlying message was that when you’re a writer you measure your success in writing… not money, or publishing, or rejection letters (although we do love to compare rejection letters).
More to come this afternoon!
The big day is here! Stand by for pictures and lessons learned! *runs into conference excitedly*
So I’m alive and well. Not that you would know it as I sit in my dark editing cave pouring over the Liberty Trilogy.
Thoughts on editing…
1: Be ruthless. If it doesn’t have to be there, why is it there? I always ask myself when I’m reading. If the sentence doesn’t serve a purpose or make the story better then it faces the chopping block.
2: Think like a reader. Give the reader information they want to know in creative ways. I love writing suspense, but some times I’m tempted to keep information for later reveals when it really won’t add to the story. I find that if I give some of those details earlier it helps the reader to better invest in the plot point.
3: Actually read. I have to force myself to read the words on the page after about the third time through. I already know the plot and I know the chapters, but if I will stop and read I often catch little things that are wrong. Because I know what it’s supposed to say I fill it in or fix it in my mind, but it needs to be right on the page too.
4: Take breaks. When the words and blurring and you’re not being able to improve take a creative break. Watch, listen, or read something to get your creativity flowing again.
5: Don’t hate. I fall into the ‘getting bored’ with my own work after a few times through. The jokes aren’t funny, the reveals seem cliché, and the characters one-dimensional. Try not to let the fact that you have lived the story for months or years cloud the experience. The reader will go on this journey once with you… it needs to be a great experience once, they would get bored if they read it 10 times too.
6: Remember why you wrote it. I write because I have stories to share. the ultimate goal isn’t to make a bestseller or to see my work on the screen one day. The goal is to write the stories I have in my mind, and to give the characters life. Even if I’m the only one that ever reads them it’s still something special, and a work or art and love.
Thought for today relates to one of the oldest pieces of wisdom I have been given as an author.
— To be a good writer you have to be a good reader.
Right now I’m doing my usual and reading two books at once. An oddity I have done ever since I was a kid… I’m reading a satirical scifi, and a book on early British sea power. The thing that I find so striking is that regardless of which I prefer, or how much I like or dislike the individual authors’ quirks there is always something to glean from their work.
I think it’s absolutely vital as a writer to read and to constantly fill my creative mind with other author’s styles, tricks, and ideas. It makes a fertile ground for my own creativity, and makes me appreciate the talents of the people around me.