Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

Working on it April 24, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 6:36 pm
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No rewriting yet, I’m still working out what I’ve got and what to do with it- this is my first rewrite and I don’t want to have to go through too many drafts than I need to to get it right!

It might not work at all, but I’m trying to find a system that I can use not just on this book but future books to be able to write at least two a year while still working full time in my too demanding job to pay the bills. A few weeks getting started on the story, a week (or two if I can get it) of annual leave intensively writing first draft, then another three or four months or howver long it takes rewriting and tweaking. Sub and repeat!

I’m going to see if this rewrite method suggested in an online workshop “Can This Manuscript Be Saved” I did last year with Susan Meier helps. I wasn’t really ready for the workshop at the time, as my WiP then was beyond even her excellent teaching skills to save!

She suggested-
1. Read the whole book straight through in one fast go, without trying to fix as you read.  Just look at STORY.
Create a story paragraph, a one paragraph pitch. ‘See’ the story’s premise, goal, motivation and conflict at a glance,
2. Read through a second time, looking at the SCENES, making notes as you read. Create a storyboard (I’m doing mine in a free program called Text Block Writer, some writers use a physical storyboard with post-it notes, like this one by Fiona Harper). ‘See’ all your scenes, which will show where your book slows down and which scenes cause the slow down,
3. Rethink story and rearrange scenes
4. Then and only then, rewrite.

I’ve got the first read done, strengthened the pitch paragraph, so it’s onto stage 2- making notes on each scene.


Ready to get going! April 23, 2010

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 8:04 pm
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No writing happening yet, but quite a bit of thinking about the story and what I need to do.

Gearing up for some serious writing tomorrow. My brain was  bit too fuzzy today as I’ve had a killer tummy bug (occupational hazard of working as a nurse- no matter how careful I am about handwashing, I catch some sort of virus from a patient at least three times a year).

I’m doing a great online workshop with Shirley Jump (Take Your Story from Good to Great) that’s kick starting me with ideas to power the rewrite, especially revving up the conflict and emotional tension, and tying all the plot threads together. All the things I most noticed on my readthrough- a lack of clear goals and motivations for the hero and heroine, missed opportunities to ramp up the conflict and tension and dig deeper into the emotion; and an inciting event and significant plot thread (Cady’s mum’s illness) that’s completely disconnected from the main romance thread.

Shirley has given me some great ideas for ways to work on these. Now I just have to do the rewrite!