Elizabeth: Back to Basics – Starting a “New” Story

Stories Yet To Be WrittenA few weeks ago I mentioned that I was trying to decide wether to keep plugging away on the current manuscripts I have in process or to call it a day and get on with my (writing) life.

The part of me that felt I was trapped in revision paralysis was all for “let’s build a bonfire / I’ll get the matches.”  The part of me that never stopped reading a book partway through (until Madame Bovary), was more “quitter, quitter, quitter.”

A conundrum, indeed.

Fortunately, I think I’ve come up with a solution that pleases no one combines the two options.  I’m taking one of my three manuscripts and starting it all over from scratch.

Sounds like fun, right?  No?  Well, it was Jilly’s idea. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Back to Basics – First Draft, Now What?

Stories Yet To Be WrittenAt some point, if you are serious about writing and persistent, you will finish the first draft of a story. It may have plot holes you could drive a truck through, or be littered with notes like “something needs to happen here,” but the draft will be done. Whether you’ve ended up with a polished first draft (color me envious if you have) or a hot-mess (that would be me), you’ve taken a story from an idea in your head to actual words on the page. You’ve gone from staring at that blank page in a brand new empty document to typing “The End.”

That is something to celebrate.

*Cue the confetti and balloons*

The world is filled with people who think they will write a book “one day.” With a finished draft, you’ve moved from the “I might” group to the “I have.” That’s a great feeling. Once the “I’ve finished it” happy dance is done and you’ve basked in the glow of “The End” for a while, it’s time to think about what to do next. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Back to Basics – Doing the Research

Stories Yet To Be WrittenWe’ve been talking the last couple of months about writing basics; walking through individual craft elements in conjunction with the new book I’m working on.  Last week we put together the Character, Conflict, Setting, and Outline, and shifted focus to actually writing the story.

Once you finally start writing, it is quite likely that at some point, you’re going to need to do some research. Maybe you have a quick question that needs an answer like “what’s the lifespan of a bumblebee?” or maybe you need to know something a little more in depth like “what was the political climate like in London during 1816?”

At close to 40,000 words on my new story, I’ve had a few questions that I needed answers to. I’ve also had to decide what information I should include in my story and what does not need to be there.

That’s why this week my focus in on: Research Continue reading

Elizabeth: Back to Basics – Actually Writing

Stories Yet To Be WrittenSeveral weeks ago I started a series of “Back to Basics” posts focusing on individual craft elements in conjunction with the new book I’m working on.  After weeks of talking about Character, Conflict, Setting, and the Outline, I realized that if I ever wanted this book to move from a plan to a reality, it was time to step away from the craft and start actually telling the story.

So this week my focus in on: The Actual Writing

November, with NaNoWriMo, is a ready-made time to do some actual writing. Thousands of other people are writing at the same time, there is a tool to track your progress, and there are dozens of other writers, both on the NaNo site and on their own blogs that are offering up a variety of advice to those who are focused on getting words on the page. As a plus, it’s getting dark earlier and earlier these days, leaving fewer distractions to keep you from getting up close and personal with your story.

When November started, I dutifully signed onto the NaNo site, created my profile, added writing buddies, and then opened up my Word document and got writing. Now, 24,583 words and 16 days later (I’m writing this post on Monday), I’ve made some good progress and learned a few things along the way.

So what have I learned? Continue reading

Elizabeth: Back to Basics – Writing Life

Stories Yet To Be WrittenFor the past several weeks I’ve been talking about individual craft elements in conjunction with the new book I’m starting. This week, I’d like to shift focus away from the craft and onto the writer.

I’d hazard a guess that most readers have, at one time or another, thought of writing as “probably not that hard”. After all, how much time could it take to write a book if it only takes a couple of hours to read it, right? Since statistics show that up to 95% of people think they might write a book “one day”, I’m guessing the “it’s not that hard” thought is fairly common one.

Turns out, however, that writing is not quite as easy as it may seem from the reader side of the page. Some might even describe it as challenging, difficult, or “a real pain.” Continue reading

Elizabeth: Back to Basics – The Outline

For the past month or so Stories Yet To Be WrittenI’ve been talking about the new contemporary romance (tentatively titled Second Chances) that I’ve been working on when I need a break from revising my previous book. If you missed the first few posts, you can catch up on them here, here, and here.

So far I’ve used this new story to talk about the basics of writing. With Character, Conflict, and Setting taken care of, I thought I had everything I needed in order to get a good first draft on paper during this year’s upcoming NaNoWriMo event.

Apparently I was mistaken. Continue reading

Elizabeth: Back to Basics – The Setting

Stories Yet To Be WrittenOver the past few weeks, I’ve been talking about the new contemporary romance, tentatively titled Second Chances, that I’ve been working on (when I need a break from working on revisions to The Traitor, of course).  If you missed the first two posts you can catch up on them here and here.

Rather than just winging it and hoping everything will work itself out by the end of the book, I’ve been looking at the story element by element, trying to put a strong foundation in place. My hope is that doing this work up front, before starting to write, will result in less re-writing and frustration further down the line. Fingers crossed for that.

After a few weeks of brainstorming I have the characters and the conflict fairly well defined, so now it’s time to move on to the next story element.

This week my focus is on: Setting Continue reading