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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen King’

Everyone has to find what works for them. For me, the start of a novel is “What if…”

I like to watch the story grow myself and do not find that I work well from a set outline. I have tried 3×5 cards for laying out the plot, and about every other method I have ever read but these lead to a lot of time spent that is not where my book wants to go. I like Stephen King’s method, “just write.”   It also keeps my book interesting to me. I have heard writers say how the always hit a point where their book kind of dies on them. But, if you just sit down and write down the story that is in your head, it will take you to unexpected places and keep you going. One reason for this is that I love to do research, and as I write, I stop immediately and research what I need. This leads to my discovering things I never considered and  my world grows.

For this book, I have found two photos on the internet that I knew, the minute I saw them, would make great characters in this world. I wasn’t looking for characters at the time. My books usually start with the character and the situation but can go anywhere from there. I was watching those extra DVD discs you get in movies one day. It was one of the Lord of the Rings discs and for some reason tears started streaming as I realized one of my characters must die.  I already warned you I cry easily, but I have become attached to this character and he has a pretty big part, but that is the way the world is.

Right now, I am 10% done with my final edit. I work in MS Word and was doing an edit where I had a list of words to search for that need to be removed. These were words that were passive and useless, etc. After doing that for days, I found that I could pick them out on reading much easier and my next novel will be tighter from the beginning. That word search was tedious and the first time that I was bored with my book. That’s not a good way to write a riveting revision sentence.  Then, Graduate daughter told me about a grade level check in MSWord that ha

In MSWord: hit REVIEW; Highlight the text you want to check. I am going through the book paragraph by paragraph as it is too cumbersome to do a whole book at a time. Then click SPELLING & GRAMMAR, and when that is done, click NO on “…finished checking…do you want to continue” and you will get  Readability Statistics. There are two important things there. 

1. is PASSIVE-you do not want any of your novel to be passive. Very occasionally something just has to be. For my story, it has been in parts where someone is telling about the past but even then there is usually a way to reword it.

2. Is the FLESCH-KINCAID GRADE LEVEL (and you might have to set your Word to show this. I am aiming for sixth grade level. I find that my dialogue doesn’t always work at that level, but everything else should be within that range. I write for eight hours most days and I have spent a whole day on four paragraphs; wording and rewording to get them up to grade level and to sound the way I want.

This edit, keeps the material fresh and alive for me. I’m enjoying the process and I believe that will show in the long run. I’ve even started, okay a little early yet, I still have 90% of my final edit to do, but I have started my first query letter to go to Nathan Bransford. He always says, “Send it to me first.”

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My Young Adult Fantasy novel is at 61,754 words. It ranges from being the first draft, at the end, to being probably thirtieth draft, in the beginning.  I have three possible openings, none of which I am happy with.

I write nearly every day.  I get in anywhere from three hours to ten hours at my computer.  Some days, the hours are spent in research.  Anytime I do get blocked, I start searching for sites on writing Fantasy for Young Adults, writing in general, etc.  Doing this, I will find something that  strikes a chord and gets me back on track again.  About every three weeks, I will just take two to three days off to step away from the whole thing. 

I had been doing the first edit as a word edit.  It sharpens up the writing but can be tedious. I use MS Words “Find” for Lie and Lay (making sure they were used correctly), and then those little qualifiers that do not add anything:  a Little, almost, back, barely, be, could, down, had, instead,  etc.  I was to Chapter seven, when I realized, in one of those “DUH!” moments, I was going about this all wrong.

Writers are living in a wonderful age of information.  Editors and Writers are some of the most helpful people on earth to newcomers.  Talking Books is the website of Senior Editor, Cheryl Klein, at Arthur A. Levine. It has some great information on it.  My first edit, is now based on  Aristotle, Austen, Plot, and Pleasure by Cheryl Klein.

A few years ago, while I was painting full time, I listened to a book on tape about writing, by Stephen King.  It was in between my Mystery Novel, for adults, completed but not edited, and my Picture Book, just never sumitted.  He gave everyone permission to just write. Do what you have to do.  If you are not a “plot it out in detail first” kind of writter, don’t worry.  Get that story down.   I am a little of both.  Ms. Klein seems to be agreeing with King and it makes a lot of sense to me.  My story is written, now it is time to make sure things are working in it, to make it a book a kid wants to read and can’t put down once they have started.

Ms. Klein’s article (Aristotle, Austen) showed me why the opening I had chosen was the wrong opening.  My protagonist was being too self-centered in it, although he does have a good reason at the time.  But, it si something to fix and that is worth a lot to realize.  I’m not going to spend time here, covering her points.  If you are interested, the link is above.  It will really clear up Plotting for you. 

There is also a link to her web site in my web site links.

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