Archive for the ‘30 Days of Prewriting’ Category
Let’s talk about writing. Actually, let’s talk about the writing process. It’s not just writing. Anyone can write. And most people can pull off something good. A majority of people can pull off something great. And quite a few people can pull off something extraordinary. At least some of the time. That’s where the rest of the process comes in. Prewriting increases the chances that awesome is going to also be coherent. Editing and revision pull the awesome out of the muck and highlight it, adding to it in order to increase awesomeness. And publishing. . . well, publishing is a whole different beast, but it’s the culmination of the process that takes the awesome and gives it to the world.
But how many of us get to experience the entire process? As a novelist, I sure haven’t. Prewriting, yes. In fact, I’ve gotten really good at prewriting (hence my 30 Days of Prewriting book). Over the years, I’ve used just about every method of prewriting there is. Writing, yes. I’ve written until my hands were sore. I’ve typed until my eyes were blurry and my brain had long since stopped functioning. Editing. . . well, not so much. Not that I’ve never edited. I have. But I wouldn’t say that I’ve finished editing anything. I write rough drafts and then I get started on the editing and revision and it just starts to feel so overwhelming. And then my projects die. Which is where Let’s Write a Short Story by Joe Bunting~ has changed my way of thinking.
Not only does this book go through the information you’ll need to write better short stories (and just plain write better in general), it also explains why you should bother with short stories in the first place. And the biggest reason that stuck out for me? You get to experience the entire writing process and practice your craft from start to finish. That appealed to me. And it also got my brain going. Honestly, I could have finished this book much sooner if it didn’t give me so much to ponder. And there are action steps in the book as well. Places where Bunting basically says “Now put the book down and go do.” This is definitely not some book about theory. It’s a book about practice. And it will get your mind going in new directions. It certainly did so for mine.
After reading the book, be sure to join the online community designed to continue where the book left off. If Bunting can cram so much stimulation into a fairly short book, I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can provide in a community.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Links in this post are affiliate links.
I’m barely squeaking in before my bedtime (yes, I go to bed early these days), but I got it done. There were a few points in the day where I was worried, but I even managed to take the kids to the library and get some grocery shopping done. So I think I had a pretty darn productive day.
I’ve gone back and forth on whether or not to charge for the PDF version, so for right now, it’s free. If and when I decide to charge for it, it’ll probably only be a dollar. But if you want it, why wait until you have to pay for it? As soon as I find the article I saw about formatting things for Kindle, I’ll have a Kindle version and that I will charge for. Again, probably only a dollar, but because it requires extra knowledge and work on my part, I don’t feel any qualms about charging for it.
What’s in the PDF that’s not on my blog? Several new links, several replaced links that were dead, a much better system of organization, and a bit less focus on NaNoWriMo. Basicaly, I ended up almost rewriting the whole thing. Which is why I was thinking about charging for it. It’ll at least be free for a week, since as of right now, I don’t have a system in place for charging for it anyway. So download it, read it, love it, and be prepared for an awesome NaNoWriMo.
This book is now available for the Kindle. You can purchase it here, or, if you’re a member of Kindle Select, it is available to borrow (or will be within the next 48 hours). Currently the price shows as 2.99, but I just lowered it, so as soon as they finish the review, it’ll be .99.
Have you ever underestimated the amount of time something would take? Or underestimated the amount of time that would be stolen from working on that something?
I did both of those things. I hadn’t looked at my 30 Days of PreWriting posts since I first put them up. I expected to have to fix a few links, correct a few typos, slap a cover on it, and call it good. That is not what it needs though.
When I finally finished my first song study, I started looking at my old posts. Because I didn’t have all of them planned out before I started, a few of the later days, really belong much earlier. And the whole thing is very much written toward NaNo WriMo. And that isn’t bad, but I’d like the ebook to be a little more general.
So, having said all that, I still plan to get it out in time for those who need to do some prewriting in October. I’ll be working on it all day today and tomorrow if I have to, but I’ll get it done. By the end of the day October 1, it’ll be presented for all the hands that are looking for it.
One week before NaNoWriMo began, my uncle was murdered. And everyone in my head went silent. I have never felt so completely drained of creativity and imagination. The entire week, as I spent time with my family, avoided reading increasingly negative news articles, and prepared to attend the funeral, I was also thinking about the lack of anything coming out of my fingers. I’d already scheduled all but two of my Prewriting posts, so after I finished those last two I basically had nothing going on in the writing department. Needless to say, I was worried.
Then, Halloween came. We dressed up the kid and went to visit the grandparents. After making the rounds, we were invited back to my mother’s to watch Drag Me To Hell. So my first NaNoWriMo words were written while watching the movie (not really scary, more Army of Darkness than The Grudge). My grand total during the two hours? A whopping 100 or so. After a full night’s sleep and some breakfast, I was only able to add an additional 50. Basically, the characters for that novel refuse to be roused.
So, for the first time in my NaNoWriMo history, I’m considering changing novels. Which means I basically have to speed prewrite. But luckily, I have an entire box of story starters and sketchy outlines that I’ve written down over the years. So at least I won’t be starting completely from scratch.
Before I finish this post up, I had some requests for info about POV and Voice. I feel like those things are decided organically as I prepare everything else for my novel, so I’m not so great at them. Thus, some links:
I know it’s a little late, if you want to have that information for prewriting. But I find that those are things that can easily be taken care of in revising instead of prewriting.
Today’s Link: www.nanowrimo.org
First of all, if you haven’t signed up on the NaNoWriMo website, go do it. I’ll wait. Really. I’ve got time. The fact is, everything that I’ve said, and probably more can be found on that site. It’s also the way you win (by reporting your word count to the site). And, best of all, once you sign up, you get a whole forum of information and ways to procrastinate. At your fingertips! Plus, pep talks every week, not only from the founder of NaNoWriMo (who’s written over 10 books by now), but also from other well-known, published authors. Every year, I look forward to seeing which of my favorites is going to be pepping us.
And best of all, you’ll have an entire site full of people that are interested in nothing more than watching you succeed at writing a novel in November. And if you really, really get stuck, you can probably find someone who’s willing to procrastinate for a few hours to read your novel and give you some advice. Or maybe just tell you something random like “Add a talking frog.” You never know, but there will always be help.
Today’s Link: http://www.jennymeyerhoff.com/writers.html
This author has a lot of good advice on her page. But the really great stuff is her worksheets. She says that she’ll pull them out and go through them whenever she gets to a tough spot and I have to say, they probably work for that. I think they’d also work great for prewriting. And I’m looking forward to printing off several of the character worksheets. I like that they’re two pages, so they’ll fit nicely front to back on a single piece of paper. I can fill them out and stick them in my notebook, then if I need to add stuff later, I have a sheet for each character and I can just add it on. For me, it might work better than adding to the excel sheet. I love excel, but I’m a tactile person and sometimes I just need something to be on a piece of paper. And I like the handiness of having a front and back sheet. The worksheets that I’ve used in the past were multiple pages. This is more compact, and I like that.
Today’s Link: http://www.wikihow.com/Participate-in-NaNoWriMo
So I realized that we’ve been spending all this time preparing for NaNoWriMo and maybe not everyone knows exactly what it is or how it works. So today’s link helps with signing up, figuring out your novel, preparing for the month, staying motivated, and even winning. It’s pretty important stuff, and the closer you get to being 100% prepared to write your novel, the more important it is to think about how you’re going to accomplish that. I have a couple more worksheets tomorrow that might help with getting unstuck, since you’ll most likely get stuck at some point. Everyone does. That’s why they send out pep talk emails and encourage you to go to events. And, on the topic of events, now is the time to visit the forum for your region and check out the calendar. No one can go to every single event. But everyone should try to go to one or two. Trust me, being around other people when you’re stuck can be the difference between being stuck for the rest of the month versus being stuck for the rest of the minute.