Sunday, 4 January 2009

Take a Break

Just a quick post to say that my story "Gran's Balloon Magic" is out now in Take a Break Fiction Feast along with TWO from fellow Story a Fortnight member Karen. The really exciting thing is that all three stories were written to prompts within the group. It's a SAF triple bill!

In other news I'm still plodding along with novel 2. Actually 'plodding along' is a bit unfair as I am enjoying writing it (apart from a brief freak-out after I'd written the 9 scenes I'd plotted and wasn't sure what happened next!).

One thing I am doing differently from novel 1 is that, whenever I hit a chunk of the novel that makes me want to stop writing (like a paragraph of description or a bit of back story that I'm not sure about yet) I'm putting a note in square brackets

[put in something about B's relationship history here].

Then carrying on writing.

I just don't want to ruin the forward momentum or get horribly blocked by agonising over tricky paragraphs. I just want to get this draft written!

So far so good and I'm on target for getting the first draft done by the beginning of June - I'm just trying to avoid looking at the scary post it note on my wall that says "15,000 words a month"!

13,479 / 90,000 words written (15.0%)


Yvonne said...

Congratulations on the story publication! It sounds like you're doing brilliantly, and thanks for sharing your note trick, I did it a few times in the first draft and I now wish I had done it more! The parts where I just kept pushing through I ended up getting rid of. I wish I had had more faith in my future self! ;)

JJ said...

Brilliant news on Fiction Feast. I must get my mum to send me a copy.

I try really hard to do that 'move on anyway' and I often manage it only after wasting a day flailing...

I don't always recognise what's stopped me. I'll try the note in the text though, thanks.

liz fenwick said...

Congrats on the story!

I always do that now and include research etc that needs doing. Someone had sent me an email how to flag it easily on the script which I can't remember but was helpful becuase you didn't had to scroll through tons of pages to find the 'holes'. i will try and find it when I am on my normal lap top.

Leon Basin said...

Hey, how are you? Keep writing fellow writer!!!

The Dotterel said...

That's a good technique - and avoids interrupting the flow of inspiration while you're writing!

Debs said...

Congratulations, I still have to get a copy of this mag.

Well done with the first draft. I like the idea of the brackets, I must remember that, as I waste time trying to figure out what to do and then get rather lost with it all.

SpiralSkies said...

I've found the bracket-and-move-on technique invaluable for avoiding ruts and pit stops. You'll make that June deadline, you will.

Brilliant indeed about TaB - I tend only to buy it when someone I know has a story in it so I get twice the happy this time - yay!

KAREN said...

Loved your story Cally - so nice to see it in there :o))

The bracket idea is great, I've been doing that with mine and just realised I have a big chunk to go back to before I send it off to my writing buddy!

womagwriter said...

Well done on the publication, Cal!

The square brackets thing is an excellent idea. I went to a talk by Jane Wenham-Jones years ago, and she uses a similar technique (only with CAPITAL LETTERS SO IT STANDS OUT) to get through the tricky bits. She said her novels can end up at just 50,000 words when she gets to the end, then she goes through and fills in the bits she missed out.

Leigh said...

Well done on the hit! Coincidentally, the verification word for this comment is "grani" - I think it knows something!

The square bracket thing is a real boon (I use it too) - it just lets you carry on with the stuff you're enjoying, and tackle the nasties when you're in a better frame of mind. Glad you've found a way to deal with it. Rock on no.2!!

Lily Sheehan said...

Congratulations on the story. I just picked up my copy from Smiths. Triple bubble as well because not only is there you and Karen but Della Galton too! I'm looking forward to reading them later. Thanks for the tip too. I really need to get back to my novel writing.

Fiona said...

Oh, I'll elbow everyone out of the way in Smiths to make sure I get my copies.

Couldn't you have a post it note with 500words a day?

How did you revise/redraft your novel - in one sentence please:)

Gonna be a writer said...

Congrats to you and your fellow SAFers on your succes in TaB Fiction Feast and great idea about the brackets. Maybe it will stop me from staring into space for hours on end (Maybe a slight exaggeration) when I hit a sticky patch.

Calistro said...

Fiona - How did I edit my novel? One sentence answer: I did it in stages.

Longer answer:

I went through the novel multiple times looking for different things to fix.

Initially I just read through it. As I read I marked any passages that were boring or made me want to skip ahead. I also marked any passages that were really badly written and needed attention. When I went back I looked at the boring passages to see if there was any way I could make them more interesting/exciting. I asked myself what the purpose of those boring scenes was. If they moved the plot forward or gave an insight into character I kept them but worked to make them more gripping. If they didn't add anything to the novel I cut them. The passages that needed re-writing I rewrote.

Another thing I did when editing was to go through all the beginnings and endings of characters to make them as page-turny as possible. What I mean by that is I tweaked each chapter opening so they pulled the reader straight in. I had a lot of scenes with the main character waking up and that was just boring. With chapter ends I tried to make them end of a bit of a cliff-hanger if possible so the reader would want to immediately turn to the next chapter.

There are probably lots of other editing stages I went through too but I'd have to look through the blog to find them (try typing editing into the search box). I also really recommend the book "Self-editing for Fiction Writers".

Jumbly Girl said...

I just read your description of how you edited and found it really useful as I'm not at the third draft edit - I especially like the idea of focussing on the beginnings and endings of chapters.

I do the square bracket thing and it's invaluable. I find though that two diffrent things happen when I return to it. Either I write the 'missing bit' as planned or I decide that the reason I didn't write it in full in the first place was that it wasn't neccessary (often a 'linking' or explanatory bit that would have been tedious to write and so tedius to read). So a doubly useful device.