Young Adult Dark Urban Fantasy Author ~

Posts tagged “novel creation

The Only Thing That Can Make You A Writer …

Really, in the end, the only thing that can make you a writer is the person that you are, the intensity of your feeling, the honesty of your vision, the unsentimental acknowledgment of the endless interest of the life around and within you. Virtually nobody can help you deliberately — many people will help you unintentionally.

Santha Rama Rau

*Originally posted October, 2012


What’s In Being A Contracted Author?

Our computers

Our computers (Photo credit: aranarth)

Fear.

Yep, I said that.

Getting a publishing contract is everything you’ve wanted, everything you’ve worked your ass off for, and when you sign on the dotted line, everything you’re afraid of.

It’s a truth I think a lot of authors keep under wraps because some days when you sit staring at your story, the one that has a deadline attached to it now, the one that needs to be as close to perfect as you can make it—some days, it can feel like you’ve signed yourself up to fail. The days when nothing makes sense and you wonder who in their right mind, including yourself, ever thought your story could actually sell. The days when fear seeps in and hangs on.

From the legalese of contracts, to the swell of accomplishment in your chest that is almost immediately replaced by the tightening of panic, to the real edits and real deadlines, being a contracted, and soon to be published, author is both thrilling and terrifying.

But, in those split seconds when rays of light shine through the blinds in your mind, it is incredibly gratifying. The times when, for once, there are no blue, red, or green edits marking up your pages and your comments come back with “Great!” instead of “Huh?” or “Powerful.” instead of “Make it clearer.” Those are the days when every drop of doubt and ounce of fear is worth it. The days when you’re proud as hell. Maybe they’re far and few between, but those rays of light keep the writing fire burning bright and remind you that you should feel proud, maybe even excited–even if only for a second. 😉


Make Your World Breathe

 

Just breathe

Just breathe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

There is no such thing as too much description.  Okay, maybe later on when you’re a few drafts in some details will need to be scaled down. But in the beginning when you are just writing, just write. Tell your story and every little detail that you see in your mind. First drafts need to be loaded with details. There will be too many but come draft two and three you can pick  and choose what’s important enough to stay and what needs to go. And through those changes your story will start to become alive.

 

Every character in your story needs a voice and I don’t only mean the ones who can talk. I mean EVERY character. The buildings, the car, the woods, the town. The world you’ve created needs to breathe. It needs life. Life in writing is created through details. The edge in someones voice, the creak of a clock tower, the feel of a touch, the sweetness of a flower. The ripped, faded jeans. The wickedly flirtatious smile. The racing blood. The charred forest. The reader needs to see it, taste it, feel it, hear it and know it. They want to walk in the world you create, to feel what the characters feel.

 

I think we all can get caught up in writing dialogue. It is no doubt, extremely important but at the end of the day, if all you have is dialogue, where’s the setting? Why does the reader care if he can’t see your characters sitting on the hillside, or fighting in the alley? The only way to create your world is to give it a personality of its own. Give it an identity and make it come alive in the minds of all who read it.

 

WRITE ON, WRITERS!

 


What Makes A Writer

“I should think it extremely improbable that anyone ever wrote simply for money. What makes a writer is that he likes writing. Naturally, when he has written something, he wants to get as much for it as he can, but that is a very different thing from writing for money.”

~P G Wodehouse

P. G. Wodehouse, Bolton's friend and collaborator

P. G. Wodehouse, Bolton’s friend and collaborator (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


All Writers Are Vain.

“All writers are vain, selfish and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon which one can neither resist nor understand.”

~George Orwell

George Orwell

George Orwell (Photo credit: jovike)

 


To Outline Or…Not

English: Hot-swap states with transitions appl...

Image via Wikipedia

You had two roads to take, the gut instinct or the outline. You chose to write from your gut, let the story pour from your imagination onto the page. You didn’t think about where it was going because you knew it would get there. You’re 80,000 words in. Done. All feels great. Now what?

Now, Editing. You begin to go through your work chapter by chapter, detail by detail and you realize the transitions aren’t what they should be, could be, need to be or what you thought they were. Here is the biggest issue writing without an outline — headaches. You’ve got a great story but it doesn’t roll off your tongue quite right. It doesn’t work quite the way it sounded in your head.

Now for the rewrite. The biggest pain in the ass ever. It even trumps editing. And that is saying a lot. You rewrite from the beginning, move a paragraph here, a chapter there and think, okay, I can do this, it’s not so bad. Until it is bad. Until you have 30 chapters staring back at you asking to be properly read and all your thoughts become a jumbled, dizzying mess.

Now, let me start from the beginning. I’m not methodical. I’m a jumper. I get hit with an idea and I’m off. It’s my way, my style, my inspiration. But let me say that my style completely bit me in the ass. No outline is a bad idea.

I had notes. Pages and pages of notes, handwritten. I had documents–so many I couldn’t keep track of them all. In the beginning, I thought they were enough. In the end, they weren’t. Not even close. I had too many ideas. Ideas that I couldn’t reign in. Ideas that I couldn’t mold in the way I needed to—wanted to. I paid for those amateur mistakes in the end. Through rewrites, a staggering number of drafts, cuts, edits, and revisions. Close to two years worth.

Now my notes are in an abstract outline form, still free-flowing, but an outline nonetheless. Word to the wise: Get your idea, work it through and outline it. Even if that outline is as simple as a few sentences per chapter–a few ideas. Even if you only have a kernel of an idea of what the beginning, middle, and end of the story should be. In the end you will gain a ridiculous amount of time, a better story and with any luck, your sanity.


Finding my way

Today I’m going to go down a slightly different post path. As the weariness of blogs by writers becomes more and more apparent, I feel the need to talk about what I’m doing as a possible means of clearing the clutter from my brain.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my WIP. That’s a good thing because a few weeks ago all I wanted to do was leave it stuffed in a drawer. I still haven’t brought myself to edit anymore or even continue working on the sequel…but I’m feeling better about moving in that direction.

This morning I drug out my old playlist for memory triggers. One of the problems with leaving a WIP for a while is coming back to it later. Finding the same inspiration you left weeks or months before isn’t a guarantee. Listening to playlists is a sure-fire way back in for me. Granted, that doesn’t mean I’ve started writing yet. Only that I’m walking the path again.

The truth is, novels take so much emotional strength to create–and sometimes I simply run out of it. Staying in a particular mind-set for weeks on end–well, let’s just say consumption isn’t always a good thing.

So after riding that dreaded bike of mine for 10 miles this morning, my brain flooded. Without a prod or push, it flowed freely. That hasn’t happened in a long while. So here it flows, onto this page. And again, I’m being guided by that voice in my head. The one that for over a year refused to shut up. It woke up. Or maybe I did. Either way, I’m closer.

Listening to:

Angus & Julia Stone: Down The Way–The Devil’s Tears

Broken Bells: Broken Bells–The High Road, The Ghost Inside

Silversun Pickups: Swoon–The Royal We, Draining, Catch and Release

A Silent Film: The City That Sleeps–You Will Leave a Mark

Blue Foundation: Life of a Ghost–Stained, Enemy, Talk to Me, Watch You Sleeping, Hero Across the Sky.

Placebo: Running Up That Hill

The Fray: How to Save a Life–Look After You

Washed Out: Life of Leisure–Feel It All Around, New Theory

Temper Trap: Conditions–Sweet Disposition

Just to name a few triggers that helped to unlock the vice this morning.


Word Count Goals And The Pathway To Hell.

I’m gonna get some back lash for this one. That’s ok, I’d like to know how you all do it, if you do.

Word count goals. They are everywhere. Literally. Daily I watch as TweetDeck flashes updates of a new word count goal that has been met or missed by another writer.

Who can write this way? Apparently–LOTS of people. I am not one of them. I’d sooner stab myself in the hand than lay down a number count I had to adhere to.

The writing routine is varied, I know, and what works for one writer will surely not work for all. Some can force the words out and tada! 1,000 words today. Yay me! I can’t force myself to do anything. I would feel like The Little Engine That Could. He’s out there dying of heat exhaustion, thirsting to death, but COME ON LITTLE ENGINE! KEEP GOING! Umm….? Give the train some damn water already.

If I forced myself to write 1,000 words a day (or any), it would probably read like I was trying to decipher the lost language of Danu Talis with a rock by moonlight.

Now don’t get me wrong, if you write this way, I am in awe of you. YOU have an advantage. It’s called speed. And speed in this fast-changing industry is a huge ally. So what are your secrets? How do you write this way if you do? If you don’t, what your reasons?

Personally, I’d rather take longer with my ms than willingly walk through the gateways of rewriting hell (been there, isn’t fun) covered in burns and soot trying to unearth a story through all the madness I created with my rock.


Bright Lights…..Small….Town?

When does that magical day come? The one when you wake up and a voice inside your head says, “Ok, you’re ready now. Go ahead, publish.”

It’s the bright lights, big city illusion. The day of, “Ah…I’m here!” I’m not sure if that day really exists. For anyone.

I am pretty sure though, that no-one can tell you when you’re ready. No voice wakes you up rattling in your psyche to let loose the magical words. I’m afraid we all need to make the, “I’m ready for this,” decision on our own.

Even the big dogs in the industry had to suck it up and go on submission. Many of which were denied plenty before ever being accepted by publishers. Some of whom, even now and by their own admission, aren’t completely convinced of their talent as writers.

As the self published/ebook revolution comes more and more to the forefront, authors and writers have yet another big decision to make; whether or not to go it alone. No agent, no publishing house, no one there to pat you on the back and validate your work. No one to tell you it’s time to go public and it’ll all be ok. It’s just you and maybe a few paper bags for when the hyperventilation sets in as you hit ‘publish’ on Smashwords.

No longer is creating a query letter the main focus when your novel is finished. No longer are writers inundating agents slush piles left and right. Nope. Now, more and more of us are going it alone. No net. And for a plethora of reasons.

The big city, big lights dream seems to have shifted itself over the past few years. Writers are looking to simply be heard. And now they have the means of doing exactly that. We are in the age of bright lights, small town and about now, I’m thinking most of us are feeling pretty alright with that. We have the means of publishing our work and in the grand scheme of things, I believe that it is the ultimate goal. We all hope to be liked, have our words resonate, but at the end of the day, we also feel the need to just be read.

The rest is just glory.


Why YA?

Because that’s what comes out.

When I began writing I didn’t say, “Hm…I think I should write a young adult novel.” No, I didn’t say anything at all. I just wrote and YA is what came out. Does it matter that I read YA, that I enjoy that genre? Sure it does. But I enjoy a lot of things–it doesn’t mean I write about all of them.

I mentioned a similar idea in my ‘Why Fantasy’ post a few weeks ago. The same stigma occurs in YA, as does in Fantasy. The idea that those who write in these genres do so because they are attempting to ride the giants coat tails. The giants being the big hitters in the YA fantasy/paranormal genre. You know who they are.

But the truth is, when we write, we can’t always control what comes out onto the page. If I were forced to write horror–I could write it. It would likely suck, but I could still write it. I don’t like horror. At All. However, I know of writers who love horror or romance or chick lit–but they don’t write it. Why? Because it’s not their voice. It isn’t what comes out when they sit down at the lap top.

So why YA? Is it your voice? Were you surprised by it? Do you write in multiple genres?