I hope you’re having a good week. I’ve been a little plague-y this week, but hopefully I’m at the end of this crud ;o)
Many writers have many ideas.
Stating the obvious again, Erica? Real original. I know. I know. Stick with me it gets better…
So sometimes these ideas manifest into actual books. Some into half books, some simply stay ideas.
But how do you know which to write? And when? What does it take to prioritize the ideas in your head and finally get something on paper? For some there isn’t a system. Maybe you just write in order of the ideas that come. Maybe you work in a series format and need to write the next in the series. Maybe you throw a dart at the wall of ideas and it chooses for you. Whatever you do, my guess is it works. It’s what you feel comfortable with. But for those who don’t always know, I’ll share what works for me.
7 ways to prioritize your story ideas
- If the new idea is all you can think about? Write it! This means something. Best time to strike is when you have nothing but ideas and they’re all about the same concept!
- If there’s a deadline involved. Yeah, some writers have deadlines. This makes the decision pretty easy. I would think…
- If you have knowledge about the subject. If you already know what the story is about and there is only a small need for extensive research? Maybe you can crank that one out pretty quick.
- If you have an emotional connection to the idea. This is what always works for me. If there’s emotion behind it your future readers will see that in your writing. Best to write that one now!
- If you know the idea is hot right now. Editors are clamoring for it. Yeah, I would write this as fast as I can. I’m not saying to write to trends, but if you already have an idea and you think it’s hot. That wins for me.
- Or maybe the new idea is just easier for you to write right now. Sometimes when you feel like you’re forcing yourself to write something it’s best to step away and write something else. Or maybe even take a break and read a book.
- If someone you know is excited about the idea too. You’d be amazed how often this plays into what I’m writing. I suspect we’re all kind of like that. If an agent/Beta/CP is waiting for it? That’s a great sign and good motivation!
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I hope you are all doing fabulously ;o)
I’ve recently completed my 2nd MS since THE ONE. You know, the one that got me my amazing agent, the one that made me feel like *maybe* I’m not a total hack (jury’s still out on that one). Yeah. That one.
The one that makes you feel like this.
BUT. I was SO paranoid that my 2nd MS would not be as good as THE ONE. In fact, I completely switched sub-genres so I wouldn’t have to compare them. So there was THAT. Did I mention I also had a few half-finished drafts looming in the background? I felt guilty about leaving them behind, but I had this idea. It was emotional and wretchedly beautiful. And I was obsessed, just like I was with THE ONE.
My journey to MS #2 was fast.
I literally started it at 1:30am on a Thursday (a work night) and the words just FLOWED. I mean it was like I opened a vein and the blood was the words and they were dripping onto the computer without my brain getting involved at all.
Ew. That sounds weird. Moving on.
As I bled words onto the page, I wondered… will my agent like it? Will anyone like it? How did I write THE ONE the first time? Oh, man. It took me 2 years to get THE ONE into shape, how am I going to do this again? Someone put me out of my misery. Okay, that’s dramatic. But in my defense I was writing a depressing story, listening to The Fray and Florence + The Machine on repeat.
I wrote the first draft in 1 week. YES. 1 week. My first drafts are short, so don’t think it was like 80k or anything, more like 40k. I received a new job and had a week between the old one and the new one and it just worked out. The stars aligned, Saturn was in my house–yeah, you get the picture.
This is what I looked like at the end of my 1 week sprint o’ blood.
Kidding. I just wanted an excuse to show Ryan Gosling. Actually, it was more like this.
Bua ha ha ha. Okay. Seriously.
Do I love this new MS as much as THE ONE? That’s the real question. YES, I do. I know how crazy that sounds. But I really do. THE ONE will always be THE ONE. But you can have more than one THE ONE. Uh, what?
Don’t let the fear get to you. Just keep doing what you love. WRITING. I have no pearls of wisdom to get you to love that dreaded second MS. But one of them has to be the second. It’s inevitable. I think my best advice would be not to compare your second MS to THE ONE. We have it in our heads that that first MS is our baby. At least I did. But once I left her in the capable hands of my agent, I was free to write. Did I have some failed 2nd MS’s Yes. All those half drafts I was talking about? They took a backseat to my new idea. Will I go back to the half drafts? Maybe. That’s yet to be determined.
I have no regrets. I knew when I started writing this MS that it was going to be #2 officially.
Okay, how many times did I type THE ONE? LOL!
Have you written MS #2? How did YOU feel?
Have a great week, everyone!!
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I hope you are all having a great week! I’m currently editing my MS to go out on submission. Scary. I know.
Hard to believe?
My current quandary is how to get several emotions to show in a character at once. Easy, right? Often, this is the hardest thing for me, but it’s the one thing that has the greatest pay-off for the reader. So I spend a lot of time on it.
So I thought I’d name some of the ways that help me get the emotion down on the screen.
Let’s start with a guy who does something bad to someone he loves.
Pretty generic, right?
Well, what if this person doesn’t feel bad about what he did? What if what he did was for self preservation? What if he really doesn’t love that person, but he’s faking it? How do you show all that?
For me, the real emotion, the raw, burrow-down-into-your-soul emotion comes from a different place than setting, action, and plot.
I’ve used several things to portray emotion in my characters, some work, some don’t–depends on the day and my mood. There really is no right or wrong way, just what works for the story and for you.
These are a few of the things that work for me… usually ;o)
- Compare the character’s situation to another (ie. simile) *winks at Leigh Ann*
- Repetition of words
- Forget about the grammar and just let it flow
- Dig into that awkward place inside you to bring it out. That place that you don’t really access all the time because what it brings out is not something you want expressed all the time. For emotion to be authentic, it’s important to access this place
- Search your soul and your memory for experiences in the past and how you felt at the time, and how you expressed those feelings at that time
- Listen to a good song and let those minor notes create the words you need
- Use empathy to try and figure out what the other character is feeling then work with/against that
- Paying attention to the rhythm of a sentence can illicit emotion in a reader too. Read it out-loud.
- Use the poignant details that were established early in the story in a scene where that one detail will cause the reader to associate that with the emotion you are trying to express. Huh? What? Yeah, it’s hard to explain that one. For example: You have a character with a memorable t-shirt or crazy hair or something. At the time it was introduced it didn’t seem that important, but let’s say that character dies and you have to watch that hair or t-shirt get buried under piles of dirt. It becomes emotional (or it should), because you’ve associated that t-shirt and hair with that person and watching that character get buried should be an emotional moment in the story.
Lots of excitement in the mosh pit!!
Have a wonderful rest of the week and holiday weekend (for the Americans)
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I hope you are all having fantabulous weeks. Mine’s been… not bad. Some good stuff, some annoying, you know, the normal…
I’m smack-dab in the middle of a revision right now. *ahem* let’s call it what it is — a rewrite.
I know. Awful. But I (and some others) recognized some plot issues. So thus, I had to dive back into the pits of hell–I mean, revision. So here’s my issue this time around… we’re talking five or six versions now.
I’m thinking these changes I’m making, albeit they are needed, are messing it up more. Seriously. I feel like I’m shredding the cheese (notice I didn’t say cutting, ’cause, well… that’s just wrong on so many levels. Kind of funny, though. Okay back to the post) but the cheese is already shredded and now it’s in like tiny bits of yellowy (oh, no you didn’t just add a y to yellow. Oh, yes. I did,) orange mush. Like changing these aspects of this version of the MS is going to take me back to zero.
I hate that feeling. You too?
So I sat down and thought about it, ie wrote this blog post, and I realized that the MS is a living, breathing thing. A creature of our imaginations. A manifestation of our dreams. So, it’s going to change. It will bend and curve and twist until it doesn’t even look like the same creature. But that’s okay.
I’m going to repeat.
That’s Okay. Whew. I’m glad I could get that out.
Will my MS be better than it was? YES. Because I’m not going to stop until it is. *fistbump*
How ’bout you all? Have you felt like this before? Do you have to be at the end of the process to see everything for what it is?
That’s my Zeuser up there in the pic. He’s the best writing accessory I have ;o) Well, Scrivener’s pretty awesome too.
<3<3 Don't forget next month is Heart Month!! AND Wear Red Day is Friday, February 3rd, so wear your red and tell everyone you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women (men too). Why? Because I LOVE you all and want your hearts to be healthy. Want to find out more on the Go Red For Women movement? Check out goredforwomen.org! <3<3
Have a great rest of the week!
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So. I’ve been revising *ahem* rewriting my WIP (the one from last NaNo) almost there, only a few more chapters (sure, Ha). I’ve come to realize that I may not query this story anytime soon or ever, and that’s okay. Maybe I’ll come back to it when I’m a better writer so I can give it the attention and good writing it deserves ;o)
I’ve most certainly found my weaknesses in writing novels. If you’re curious, it’s movements (he walked, he looked, lifted his hand to…,) descriptions, scenery, world building. I do have some strengths too, dialogue, plot, pacing… so I think I need to read some more books with my weaknesses. I’ve been reading Cassandra Clare’s books (OMG I love her books) and that has helped a bit since she is really great at making me feel like I’m there. If you haven’t read any of her books, go now. Seriously. Her characters are totally swoonworthy.
I’m participating in NaNoWriMo again this year (Yay!) since I had a great time doing it last year, and frankly, I need to write something new. I’m kinda goin’ wonky over here… LOL
Pss. I’m EriCanWrite over there, in case you wanna buddy up ;o)
I wanted to share my idea for NaNo this year. Keep in mind, this is very rough, as nothing has been written yet ;o)
It’s 2025 and the government has perfected the criminal brain scan system. If you’re brain passes the sociopath test (as it is commonly referred to) you are sent to The Haven, if you don’t, even before you kill or harm anyone you are sent to The Desolate.
Amara and Shane, lifelong friends were born after the system. They both get scanned and one goes to Desolate and the other Haven. Separated by false accusations and lies, Amara sets out to find Shane.
Amara knows there’s a chink in the system’s armor. They made a terrible mistake. And she’s going to find out how to fix it. Can they find each other before time runs out and the system takes out one of them forever?
Are you doing NaNo this year? What’cha workin’ on? Have a great rest of the week!