Second verse NOT the same as the first

editing2In an effort to actually do something with my novels and not be stalemated by my first one, I decided to edit the second manuscript.  I thought that even if it was as difficult as the first one, the change of story would be good for me; I’d find more errors.  Well, it turns out I was right but not in the way I originally thought.  I actually had an easier time going through my second novel looking for errors!

Despite the fact that I have two characters whose point of view I didn’t touch in the first novel, they were characters that did exist.  I understood them better by being in their minds, which I believe made the editing easier.  Plus the one character whose mind we spent a great deal of time in before who is also in this one, I know her much better too so I can see where she wouldn’t think or do certain things.

This has also nudged me in the direction of adding one of the “new” characters to my first novel.  I know the character’s mind and could but am not sure how much it would change the dynamics of the novel yet.  I’m still toying with that though.  I even discovered that something I stumbled over in the first novel I had named in the second.  Completely forgot I did that and was thinking as I worked through the manuscript I was going to have to pin the titles down.

After that initial read-through and minor editing, I reprinted the novel and color-coded each chapter for the different POVs.  I need to make sure my timing is right because I found one glaring mistake the first time around.  Plus, I want to make sure the characters are true to their own voices.

No matter what I decide with the characters and how much I change this novel, I know that waiting to go back to the first is the right move so I can see it with, not fresh eyes, but eyes that know what should be going on in the next novel.

Writing inspiration found on Facebook

1394797_401930539933130_711599385_nFacebook is the most known social media site out there these days.  Just about everyone has an account for the site and many businesses have pages.  There are so many things to “like” that you could waste an entire day just looking at the memes your friends repost, or the status updates, playing the myriad of games, or even “poking” people.  But, have you ever thought about the possibility that you might find inspiration to write on Facebook?

Until recently, I would have never imagined that being on Facebook could give me any inspiration to write, at least my novel writing.  However, that has changed in the last week with a new page I found thanks to a friend of mine.  It is called Earth Porn and the pictures posted that will take your breath away, they are that stunning.

1503890_427628774029973_1365431932_nFor me it is not just the gorgeous scenery that makes me want to write, but the ideas I get when I see these pictures.  I can just see some of them as areas in my novels.  I think some, even, fit an idea I already had but have come to life to help me describe them better.  There is even one that I swear came out of my brain and into a picture because it’s exactly how I envisioned this area when I created the race that lives there.

1513306_431159707010213_1411552482_nI’m sure this won’t apply to everyone but one never knows.  Some of the pictures I just want to write a blurb about, even if I don’t use it for anything, because it sparks something inside me.  I know some people us writing prompts when they are stuck or want to try something else, and this is just a different kind of prompt.

Check out the page and tell me if you agree.

Getting back in the groove

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Any kind of writing you do requires a process to complete it.  This includes the writing, editing, publishing, and promoting of it.  Depending on what you are doing, this can take longer for some projects; like novels.  Unfortunately, this also gives life the chance to take over and that writing to be put on the back-burner; possibly for an extended period of time.  And that is exactly what happened to me and this blog.

I managed to wrangle up some freelance writing jobs last summer.  This, along with my full-time job and various hobbies, took me away from working on my novels.  Other than taking a few pages to my monthly writers’ group and giving a copy of my first novel to a friend for critique, both just sat on my thumb drive waiting for my return.  Of course, that also meant my blog suffered because I had nothing to write about from my experience.  Bad writer.

However, I am happy to say that I have returned to my novels once again, and now to my blog.  I have been remiss though because I started working on my novel during 2012’s NaNoWriMo.  In fact, instead of writing the third novel of the series, I used the month to seriously edit my first manuscript.  Wow did it need it!  I can say that two years after writing it I was finally able to look at it objectively and fix some of the errors.

This not only rejuvenated my desire to edit that novel, but also my second one, and even brave the possible “I don’t understand this, it kind of sucks” fear by letting one of my friends read them both.  In fact, I didn’t read anything during the months I edited I was so into the editing process.

I did start a second read-through/edit of my first novel, but the desire is kind of waning.  I’m not sure if I just need a break or I’m anxious to hear what my friend says first.  I have found some other errors to fix and areas which need improvement.

Either way, I am back and plan on staying that way.

Four ways to come up with names

Do you have trouble coming up with fantasy names?  Do others make it look easy while you are struggling?  Here are 4 ways to come up with names.

1)      Steal them from another writer.  Some main characters have really neat and original names, other times it’s the character we see for one page, either way the name is something you wish you had thought of.  Well steal it.  Honestly think of how many Jennifers or Roberts you know?  Not much different is there?  Just be careful that you don’t take a name which is highly popular and use if for your own main character or people might think you are a copy-cat writer.

2)      Take a name you like and change it slightly.  This may sound strange but it gives you a unique name, without having to struggle for one.  In fantasy, this is especially useful since many names are odd sounding to give them the element fantasy writers are looking for.  You could add or delete letters or even change the order of them.

3)      Find a name generation site and play with it until you find something you like.  I have seen some sites which give names for Welsh, Irish, English, Elves, Dwarves, etc.  Some will generate several names at once and others one at a time.  You can always keep a list of these to pull out when needed so you don’t have to keep going back.  This is especially useful if you write offline.

4)      Use names which mean something to describe your character.  JK Rowling did this with many of her Harry Potter characters.  The most obvious was Remus Lupin since lupine means wolfish in Latin.  She had several others which were not as common though.

I have used all four of these techniques and they have made life much easier when a new character pops in my story.  Do you think these will help you?  Do you have other techniques which you use that might help others out?

What’s your writing style

Do you know how you write the best?  I know for the longest time I didn’t.  I do now, of course, but there are some people who still haven’t figured it out.  Here are some things to think of.

Do you think about writing almost every day but rarely do it?  Well if that is the case you are probably like me where you need a deadline to actually write.  There is nothing wrong with that as far as I’m concerned.  You work well under pressure.  It’s the main reason I like NaNoWriMo so much.  I HAVE to complete my novel in those 30 days no matter what!

On one hand I like only doing that once per year because it’s stressful and takes away from basically everything else in my life.  On the other I don’t write much else the rest of the year, which is kind of bad.  For those who want to really go at it they now offer CampNaNoWriMo during the summer; either June 1-30 or August 1-31 (ooh look one more day in August).  So for those who work well under pressure, doing all three of these writing months might be just the ticket.

There are also those who need a quiet morning, a noisy afternoon, or the dead of night to get something out.  I know one guy who prefers Sunday mornings because he is focused and the writing tends to flow.  I envy that but I also know I can’t do that (I’m one of those who has to have music and it doesn’t have to be any specific kind of music either).

So I ask again, do you know how you write best?  Let me know in the comments.

A Change of Scenery

I have a friend, a fantasy writer like myself, who I have known for over ten years.  We finished college together; in fact we met in a writing class; we moved onto the same street somehow, and we see each other occasionally.  I managed to convince her to join my writing group a few months back and she’s been fairly loyal about coming.

Because they split us up for critiques based on how many people there are and how many have brought something, she has not always been in my group.  However, she has enough to see some of the differences when I’ve made changes. After our last meeting, we discussed both our works on the way home.  I made a few comments about things people have said in the past as well as that night and how I’m not sure how to change them because the two characters don’t meet again until the end of the story.  I need the back story to set the whole novel.  She told me that perhaps if she read the entire thing she could give me better suggestions.  So I got her a copy.

Saturday she came to my house and brought the first chapter.  I haven’t read all the notes she made yet but the first thing she said to me was that the story picks up after the first chapter.  This got me thinking again about how to incorporate the back story into this work so the reader understands the relationship between these characters.  The conclusion I came to is I might have to completely change my first chapter.  I might have to take out all the back story, start the chapter later in the scene, and add the back story later.

I haven’t really put flashbacks in my work yet and am not keen on doing it now, so while the notion of changing the first chapter appeals to me, I am still working out how to include the back story without a flashback.  I have a general idea but need to put it into practice first to see if it will work.

Moving words around

Since last week, I have been thinking a lot about my novel and some of the suggestions about moving certain information until later in my novel.  I have been struggling with this because it’s basically impossible.  However, I did finally figure out a way to use some of it and still put part of it later in the novel.

Now doing this will in a way, cause me to rewrite entire chapters.  I have been avoiding this because I wasn’t sure just how I would do it and not lose the things I wanted to add later, but couldn’t think about just yet.  If I tried to move it all at once, I would never get a single chapter done and I’m sure the work would be incoherent.

So I have decided that I need to make a document where I dump all the stuff I am cutting but might want to use in later scenes.  I’m sure when it’s all said and done some of that stuff will not have a new home but at least this way I won’t lose what I had.

I also figured out that doing this will make me need to write each chapter individually and not worry about what will get moved where until the time comes.  I don’t think I’m going to save each chapter separately but I am going to break them down into pieces and only concentrate on the one I want to polish.  This may have me jumping around but I am ok with that.

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