Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Editors, subplots and monkeys with typewriters...

Just thought I'd share some websites I stumbled across this week and a book on writing I highly recommend. More on those in a bit.

I'm also pleased to report that Sally Quilford's '100,000 words in 100 days' challenge is a roaring success. There are over 300 of us in the Facebook group (the comraderie is wonderful) and the 103 writers who fill out the daily wordcount spreadsheet have now hit a million words (written since 1st January).

After a rocky start (I really should have done some more plotting beforehand!) I'm pretty much on target now - it's day 22 and I've written 21,500 words. 'Pantsing' this novel is scary but I'm enjoying the thrill of the characters leading the plot rather than the other way round. I'm going to have to do a hell of a rewrite afterwards but, considering I'll have written the first draft in just over 3 months if I complete the challenge, I think that was always going to be inevitable!

Anyway, here are the links I've found useful or interesting this week:

What UK fiction editors are looking for in 2013 - http://www.andrewlownie.co.uk/2013/01/12/what-fiction-editors-want

The anatomy of a Kindle bestseller - http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/01/21/self-publishing-success-kindle-bestseller/

Seven ways to add great subplots to your novels - http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/7-ways-to-add-great-subplots-to-your-novel

And the 'how to write' book I mentioned earlier?

Scarlett Thomas's 'Monkeys with Typewriters'.

I have DOZENS of how to write books on my shelves and I've learned something from all of them but this book is a cut above. If you've already read a gazillion basic chapters on plot, character and language and need something a bit more thought-provoking, something that goes a bit deeper and teaches you something you didn't know then this is the book for you. For instance, Scarlett talks about characters having 'super objectives'. These aren't the 'I want' desires that a character might share with friends or family, these are the subconscious desires that make someone act the way they act, make them choose A over B, that shape their lives, and when two characters have opposing super objectives meet you've got conflict just waiting to happen. It's fascinating stuff and has made me view the characters in the novel I'm writing in a whole new light. And that's just the chapter on character. I highly recommend this book.

6 comments:

Suzanne Furness said...

Thanks for the links, Cally. I'll check some of them out.

Karen said...

The how-to book sounds interesting, I haven't bought one for a while but might invest.

Good luck with the rest of the challenge, I should have joined up I work much better with a deadline!

Cally Taylor said...

Suzanne - Hope you find them useful

Karen - No, I hadn't either but I really liked the sound of it and several of the points on scenes and characters are really going to help me with this novel (I hope).

Mama J said...

Thanks for sharing those links and good luck with the rest of your challenge.

Cally Taylor said...

Thanks MamaJ, hope you find the links useful.

Karen said...

I downloaded a 'how to' book recently called Save the Cat, which is one of the best I've read - it's aimed at screenwriters, but nearly everything in it applies equally to novelists.