Tuesday, August 16, 2011

This Writing "thing" is Hard Work!

The nice thing about my slot for this blog is it usually falls after our monthly meeting. So this month I get to write about all the stuff I learned that I'm doing "wrong".

This month's topic was a question and answer session with lots of really great questions that I've had myself. Things like "does it hurt your chances with an editor (or publisher) to self-publish an eBook?", and who holds the copyrights, how much it costs to get your own copyright, traditional publishing vs. eBook-only publishing and on into writing styles.

As our fearless President and others spoke about new writers and their first chapters, I realized that my first book in the Jess Barker series is probably all wrong. Apparently we're not to use flash-backs in the first chapter (strike 1) and we should keep some of the back story a mystery to scatter about the book (strike 2) and point of view is a big deal as is editing (strike 3 - I'm terrible at editing my own stuff). Oh, and a plot should really be hammered out at some point (strike 4!) and grammar is a must! (strike 5). I never did learn my comma rules or how to diagram a sentence, sorry Ms. Bush!

I warned Andrea about all of this as she's volunteered to read my first book and offer me some suggestions. And I still have to re-write my Synopsis for Tanya to give another once over for me, although I'm sure she won't mind if it takes a few months as she's busy getting ready for something way more fun - her wedding!! I'm also looking for a critique group that is willing to put up with my main character's swearing, LGBT themes, and other various screwed up 'quirk-ery' (yes, I know that's NOT a word but I like better than the alternatives) traits, and at the same time I worry about wasting everyone's time. Lucky for me Andrea's okay with all that Jess has going on - so far. I'm sure she'd like it better if there were some steamy sex scenes, but none of that is in the first couple of books. At least none that I know of at the moment. I never know as my characters take off on occasion in directions that I never anticipated.

We also came up with new terms of "plotser" and "plantser" for the combination style of plotting and pants'ing writing. I'm definitely a pantser as I never make any plans for my characters, they have their own definitive agendas. Outlines were not one of my skill sets in school either. (I'd cheat and do them after I wrote the report/story/assignment.)

I'm also beginning to panic about the two titles I put in for our ROAR contest and how I'm ever going to get the rest of Collie's story banged out in time to get some real editing done. My summer is going way too fast, and is far too busy at the moment for me to get much writing done. I did learn, however, that it may not just be me whose characters "talk" to them. Mine can get pretty demanding though, and that's when I have to write just to clear some space in my head for all the technology related stuff that I need to hold onto for my paying work.

All in all, this writing thing is hard work and I'm a horrible procrastinator who's been sewing, studying and gardening in my precious few free moments lately to ultimately avoid what I know must be done: put on my big girl panties, turn on the laptop, and hunker down for a long writing spell followed by some hard core editing. I guess I really don't have to sleep every night.


Patricia Kiyono said...

Well, you have to sleep SOME time! If you give yourself an hour (or even a half hour) every day to write, you'll get a lot done. Or some people like to like to have a minimum word count each day. The important thing is to write SOMETHING!

I'm so glad the meeting was informative for you - but don't be too hard on yourself. We all learn though the mistakes we make.

Tess Grant said...

I find an hour a day is HUGE production time...but I'm always hard-pressed to find it too.

Jenn said...

Even if writing for just a few minutes a day, it makes a big deal! :)

Andrea Dickinson said...

I'm so glad you found the meeting helpful. And you really are being much too hard on yourself. Of the pages I've read so far, your grammar/mechanical skills are great, and you have a fantastic 'voice'.

Keep at it!