Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Writing Craft

Yesterday I treated one of my old stories like a new one. That means it got a fresh new notebook, the characters got biographies(complete with backstories), new pictures,a new GMC worksheet, and a shiny new plot. Is this a detailed plot? Nah, there's little point in a detailed plot at this stage.

Everyone works differently, I need a short outline and a couple of pages of synopsis to get going - along with the notebook, pictures, biographies, and most critically, a handle on their goals, motivations, and conflicts.

Since I'm writing romance the critical question is what has to happen for this hero and this heroine to fall in love? The answer needs to be simply stated because it is the book premise.

This was a long day of writing for me and they were characters I already know well. If I'd truly been starting from scratch this process could take a week or more.

Every story is different. This is a first for me. I'm reinventing a book that was written and submitted before. My heroine needs depth and humanity and a good dose of likability. My hero is a cliche and needs to become unique and heroic. The conflict between them is tired and needs to be rethought.

When I read over that advice, my tender writer's heart quelled. That sounds like everything to me. Why bother with revisions?

Since I was in the midst of another project I couldn't tackle another story right. So I set it aside, which turned out to be a good move.

A few weeks later I was ready to make a game plan. There's still a story there. One that was good enough to get a request in the first place. One that I simply failed to tell well enough.

Now I'm grateful for all the work I did in between submitting the ultimately rejected story and now. I'm rewriting it. If I can't get it flow on paper after a two week try then it's time to scrap it.

For today those characters live in my head and they deserve to be together. It's my job to make that happen.

After all my imagining and plotting I sat down with a new craft book. It's already bristling with sticky notes.


Blogger Lori Borrill said...

Boy, Evanne, that does sound like a lot, huh? But I still maintain the editor saw enough in your writing to want to take the time and give you that feedback. They don't always do that. Your plan sound like a good one to me, and if you don't end up revising the story, just remember that the knowledge can always be applied to the next one.

But I've got faith in you. You're a smart woman with a talent for putting words on the page. You only need a little guidance to take it all the way, and it sounds like that's what you've got. So go for it!

1:34 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...


Thanks so much for the encouragement. The revision cave was already looking dark and scary.:)

3:01 PM  
Blogger Melissa James said...

That is a lot of advice, but hey--it's specific about what to work on. Think of all the form letters that go out and how many people have NO idea where they went wrong. Lori is right, you can definitely use that info for your next set of characters if the rewrite doesn't work out.

7:30 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...

Hi Melissa,

You're right! Plus I always liked what Dee says, each word we write is one word closer to selling. Even if the revisions prove too cumbersome, I'm learning, so it's not a waste of time.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Sheila Delaney said...

Since the characters are alive in you, I say go ahead and revise, even though it's going to be much like first draft writing without as much excitement.
I suppose it prepares you for a published authors life. :)
(testing here. Let's see how it goes. lol)

3:18 PM  
Blogger Evanne said...


Thanks for the reality check - so far it's about twice as fast as writing fresh - you're right it's a test.

4:25 PM  

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