Got questions, Open your mouth

Well after many, many meetings where I took the first three pages of my novel and heard the same things repeatedly, I finally decided to open my mouth and ask a question.  You might be wondering why it took me this long to do it and the reason might be silly.  I thought that the changes I was making to the chapter would solve the problem

While some of it is better from the comments and my editing, obviously not all of it was.  The biggest comments were that the chapter needs to be from one perspective (working on that but apparently need to make it more obvious) and the other has to do with the background I give of the two characters introduced.  I kept being told to add that info later because, while it obviously is important, it’s too much in the beginning.

So my question was how I accomplish this because I actually can’t.  The two characters don’t interact until toward the end of the novel and at that point there is no time to go into this info.  The answer I received pretty much had to do with one of the characters thinking about some of that back-story later in the book but the other not knowing.

This will change the whole story since one character is telling the other much of this to get a shock reaction but somehow I will make it still work.  I’m glad I finally asked though.  It gave me lots to think about though.

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When do you describe something?

Having moved on from my first chapter I began re-reading the next one.  I can see some changes that need to be made badly, especially since I have now corrected things from the first chapter, which changes the tone of my main character.  There will also be some other major changes due to that overhaul but I am only thinking about those at this time.  However, what I have been thinking about is when do I describe certain things?

Since this is a fantasy work, I have created some of my own terms for certain things, as well as “created” a race.  I realized that I never truly describe the new race.  In fact, it didn’t occur to me until the second book when I was comparing my new race to dwarves.  I realize I have to go back and enter some kind of description in the first novel.

I want to keep the urgency in my book, which I have (hopefully) set up when my main character meets this other race.  At the same time, I need to interject his description so the readers know that he is a certain race.  I think that taking the one I used in my second novel will work, with some slight modifications, but I also don’t want an information dump, which might turn the reader off.  So at this point, it’s a balancing act of how much and when do I describe the race.

I guess the best thing to do is rewrite the scene and then work from there with what is important right away and what is not.

Would do you think is the best time to describe something?

Boring yourself

Last week I spoke about striving for perfection in my novel.  While I am in a way, I also came to realize that I am starting to get bored reading these same few pages over and over to make them better.  Now does that mean I think a potential reader will be bored with the story, no.  But I do see that I need to move on in the story before I decide I don’t like it anymore and want to stop working on it altogether.

I have to admit I never thought I would get to this point.  I mean I love my own characters, even the ones I hate, because I created them; or at least made them my own in the case of some.  So how could I get bored with them?  Well I think it’s because I want to get on with the story and see what comes next.  It is the same way when I read a book.  I want to keep going so I can see what happens to the characters I like, or despise.  The really, really good books make me want to keep reading until I am done in one sitting.  For some books that is not possible and I rue having to stop.

Now some might ask how I can want to get on with the story when I know it.  All I can say is it has been long enough there are some things I forgot and there are some things that need to be changed so the story becomes better.  Also, I have some ideas for my world that I didn’t when I began writing this story and need/want to incorporate them into the novel.

It could be that boring myself is not the correct term but I cannot think of anything else which fits.

Have you ever been working on something and got bored trying to make it better?

How much do you “Borrow”?

Speaking with a friend about my novel recently we were discussing where some of our characters come from.  I told her there are some where I know exactly where they came from; they are not so blatant rip-offs of characters I have seen in other stories.  That might sound bad but I don’t really think it is.  I am not taking the character and just dropping them into my story.  No I am changing some things to make that character mine, but the basis has been “borrowed” from another writer.

This one character I am speaking of I have wanted to create since I read several books with her original.  Yup it’s female.  I won’t say which character or which books I took her from but she appealed to me, even if I despised her for being the villain, because she was a strong, fiercely independent woman who went after what she wanted.  In much of the stuff I read, I don’t see a lot of that.  Or at least I didn’t used too, there are now books coming out or becoming popular which DO have a female like that.

Anyhow this character floated around my consciousness for years.  I never intended to use her; I just wanted to use elements of her.  Well when I decided to make my short story in to a novel, I needed to figure out exactly why the one character was where she was.  It occurred to me she was similar to the one I had read so many years ago.  So I used the other female as a basis for my own.  She is not a doppelganger by any means but if you put them side by side, you would notice how alike they are.

Am I worried about revealing this?  Not really.  Is she the only one?  Nope, I have others although none as heavily borrowed as my female.  I am trying to distinguish them in ways so that they do become my own characters and not a copy of someone else’s work.  Some characters this is easier to do than others.  For now though I will take my inspiration where I can find it and not worry about what someone thinks.

Now What?

I finished the first edit of my first novel last week.  Since it was a holiday weekend, I decided against attempting to do anything else involving any writing or editing, too many other factors get in the way of me accomplishing anything with it.  Now that the new year is upon me I am faced with a big question, now what do I do?

This may seem like a silly question but there are many options with my writing here.  I have a second novel written but not edited yet, I could work on that.  I don’t want to do a second edit of the first novel just yet but I do have some things to flesh out and change in the story so that the world is more mine than a copy of someone else’s (not that it is a copy but there are elements).  There are characters to develop further now that I know something more about them.  There is also a world to expand upon.

So the question becomes which do I do first.  Editing the second novel might be a bit premature since it has been only a little over a month since I finished it.  The world still rather daunts me (although I am getting over that) however I am not an artist so drawing it up is difficult.

The characters and fleshing out the story seem the most logical areas.  It might be best for to jump back and forth, so I do not get stalled out on one or the other.  So time to pull out my character background sheet and get working on some of them and then jump to the first novel to fix some glaring errors I found (which someone else reading might not catch since they are character/creature based).

Pushing Through

One of the worst things about writing is when you get stuck.  I mean you know where the story is going but the scene you are working on is being stubborn.  It could be that the characters don’t like what you are saying about them at that moment or it could just be you.

I go with me having an issue.  Sometimes I think it’s because I’m not quite sure how the scene is supposed to go.  I have a basic idea but the characters run me through the scene not the other way around.

But I have found that the thing to do is push through.  Write the scene and worry about fixing it later.  There are many who would disagree but going back later might not even happen if you keep going with the story.  The scene was started for a reason, so figure out the basic reason why and write.

Don’t worry about if the writing is good, it won’t be.  Real writing happens when you edit anyhow, not when you write.  Just push through the scene and you will not have this nagging keeping you from writing the rest of the story.