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Saturday, January 28, 2012

And Now, For the Scary Part

A little behind schedule, but I finally finished the Read Through/Polish of the manuscript for Kricket's Song. As I wrote the rough draft, I discovered I had a lot of bad habits when it comes to writing. I tend to use certain sentence structures way to much, and of those, a few are quite clumsy. I also have a tendency to use too many adverbs and adjectives. The polish was an attempt to get rid of as many of those errors as possible, and I think I did a good job of it.

In total, I eliminated almost 2,400 words from the manuscript that served no purpose whatsoever, other than to clutter things up. The current word count now totals just over 95K, and I think it's ready to go out to beta readers. So, tomorrow, I'll be contacting the two people who've already volunteered, and I'll be looking for others as well. While the beta readers have it, I'll be working on creating a query letter and a synopsis for the book. I'll also be researching agents I'd like to query. Hopefully I can get that process rolling very soon! It'd be nice to have an agent before summer, so that he/she can be working on selling it to a publisher while I'm wandering around the woods firefighting.

I'll also be working on getting a more concrete plot outline and character sheets drawn up for the next book, tentatively titled Kricket's Key. I've had enough ideas trickling in over the past couple months that it shouldn't be too hard, and most of my characters are drawn up already. Just need to change their motivations and goals for this new book. There will, however, be some other characters entering the equation.

That's about all for now; I hope to have more updates on the process soon!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Momentum, or Lack Thereof

Momentum is one of a writer's best allies. When you're making good, consistent progress, you can see your goal drawing closer. This provides motivation, which produces more progress, which continues to build the momentum and, therefore, the motivation. Unfortunately, the reverse is also true. When there's very little progress, there's less motivation to continue with the process, even when the next step of that process is relatively easy.

In this case, the process involves going through my manuscript chapter by chapter, polishing up the writing and eliminating as many unnecessary words as possible, clarifying things, and generally trying to make it professional without making it come across as "writerly." So far, I've eliminated almost 1,000 unnecessary words from the manuscript, and I'm not even halfway through it yet. I'm sure my beta readers, when they get it, will point out a lot more to me.

Getting the ball rolling again after the holidays was more difficult than I'd hoped. After I got back from visiting my parents, I went right into a six-day work week. Immediately after that, I traveled back home to pick up something I ordered in Oregon before Christmas, but didn't come in before I had to get back to work. Tomorrow, I'll be making my way back to Nevada again--which means no writing will get done until Thursday at the earliest. And then, you guessed it, I'm back to work again! I got some polishing done today, but it's slow going. I'm about 38% of the way through the manuscript, and I hope to have it done before January is over, but we'll see.

Meanwhile, ideas and inspiration continues to develop for the next Kricket book, as well as ideas for the overall story arc that may end up taking three or even four books to completely play out. The challenge will be keeping these books complete in their own right so that I don't fall into the trap of being a new writer trying to market a series. But, as they say, "Write what you want and worry about the rest later." And right now, what I want to write is Kricket.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

So yeah, I know it's a couple days late, bu whatever. I've had more important things to do. Like prepping for the zombie apocalypse. And attending a wedding in the Arizona. And...stuff. But, Happy New Year to everyone, most especially the plethora of my faithful readers!

This is going to be a short post. I finally got started on the final read-through of Kricket's Song, albeit a week or so later than I might have liked. I don't think it's going to take me very long, but it's certainly going to require me to pay close attention to what I'm doing. I'm just trying to polish it, working to get rid of excessive words, make things that are unclear more clear, and essentially trying not to look like an amateur with the writing.

There's a particular document I've found very helpful at this stage of the project, entitled "Hunting Down the Pleonasms" by Allen Guthrie. You can find a reproduction of the document here. It's been reproduced with permission, and I think just about any writer will find it immensely helpful. A lot of it is stuff that we already "know," but that we seem to forget when we get into the heat of writing. I even went so far as to take the advice of printing it out and taping it on the wall next to my computer. I read through it every now and then, usually before I start a writing session, and it's started to get ingrained in my brain--which can only help my writing! I'll also put this link as a permanent one on the right side of my blog.

So anyway, that's where I'm at with Kricket's Song. Once I've finished this polishing session, it will be ready for beta readers. I've already had a couple members from the Absolute Write Water Cooler volunteer to read it for me, so I'm very excited about that. Victims are good, but victims who volunteer are even better! Oh, did I say that out loud...?