Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

Archive for April, 2012

Sloppy Writing 101.11

Friday, April 6th, 2012

 
Sloppy Writing 101.11
 
When I first started writing, I used really a lot. Really, I did. Along with very, truly and fairly, really is one of those unnecessary words.
 
My examples from FROSTY.
 
-I didn’t really know where she went.
-If I thought they truly meant it…

 Taking out really and truly changed nothing in the meaning and therefore they are unnecessary. Very and fairly have never been a problem for me, but I counted 43 reallys in FROSTY. I left a few that were in dialogue, but the rest I deleted.
 
I got rid of another fifty words.
 
So watch out for really, very, truly and fairly. You probably don’t need most of them.

The Big Reveal

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

 

Welcome to The Big Reveal.
I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them. Some of these ladies have helped me with my own work, or given me advice on blogging or writing, so check out their blogs and see what they’re about.

 

Did you choose your genre or did your it choose you?
Would you like to get into other genres?
What genres do you like to read?

 

Melodie Wright, Agented author
Um…I guess the genre picked me. At least for now. I write whatever the story calls for. Lately, it’s been YA but I can see that changing. My favorite genre to read is adult mysteries/thrillers. I’m an omnivore and will read pretty much anything with a good story.

 

Ryann Kerekes, Agented author
I guess I would say that my genre choose me. I am a reluctant grown up, so it feels very natural to write young adult. A little too natural!

 

Cassie Mae, Un-agented author
The genre chose me. I wrote nothing but fantasy until I got critique partners. One of them had a contemporary and I thought, huh… I think I want to try my hand at that. And BAM! It was my genre. Now all my ideas come in contemporary form.

 

Jade Hart, Un-agented author
Umm, this is quite a hard one to answer. I was drawn to writing YA as it’s lighter and fun. However a CP who has read my current WIP has advised she wants it to be adult – that’s because she loves the romance between my two characters so much she wants there to be a sex scene! :) Which is awesome, but of course YA doesn’t allow sex. I think I write more YA cross-over rather than strict YA. I like that genre, but I love all genres really, horror, mystery, saga… anything that captures my attention :)

 

Janet Taylor, Un-agented author
I have always been an historical fiction nut. Elizabeth Chadwick. Sharon Kay Penman. Ariana Franklin. I’m crazy about those nutty nobles and royals of days gone by. But I also love a lot of the raw emotion of some of the more contemporary Young Adult novels. Hunger Games. Forest of Hands and Teeth. Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly. And, my voice is naturally YA.–I guess that’s the teen inside me.. lol.. So—how to combine the two? I decided to write about what all devotees of historical fiction wish for…The ability to travel through time. How freaking cool would that be?

 

Stacy Stokes, Un-agented author
I tend to get inspired by what I’m reading. I try not to switch genres too much when I’m writing, otherwise I risk getting distracted by a new, shinier idea (unfortunately a bad habit of mine). That said, most of my stories tend to be YA – it’s what I enjoy reading and what I typically love to write. But perhaps that’s because I write what I read and read what I write…hmmm…

 

Me (Suzi) Un-agented author
The first stories I wrote were adult contemporary. But then I did a YA contemporary, and that’s what I’ve been doing ever since. Until then, I probably hadn’t read any YA since high school, but now read it all the time and (gasp) enjoy it. That wouldn’t be a surprise to the ladies here, but until lately when Harry Potter, Twilight & Hunger Games got big, you didn’t hear about adults reading YA. But trust me, many do. To read, I do enjoy adult contemporary, thrillers and some historical fiction.

 

Joelene B. Perry, Published author
I started in Women’s Fiction, but all these awesome YA ideas kept coming to me. I finally gave up and started writing there. I was a high school teacher, so it comes pretty easily to me. Since I didn’t read YA books in high school, I feel like I’m playing catch-up right now. There are SO many great YA books that I’m sort of shocked and staggered, and have just immersed myself in that. I do love a good historical, and I might write one someday – when I’m ready to write more slowly than I like to do.

 
Liesl Shurtliff, Pre-published author
My genre chose me. Even though I have always loved fantasy and fractured fairy-tales, I was convinced that I wasn’t creative enough to write it, but eventually I gave in and tried it. I’m so glad I did! I’ve dabbled in contemporary and some futuristic/dystopian YA things, which I may pursue at some point, but my ideas for my next couple of books are solidly MG fantasy. I read very widely and have favorites in all genres and age groups. I just love brilliant writing.

 

Mindy McGinnis, Pre-published author
My genre came to me, for sure. After college I got a job as a YA librarian, even though I didn’t read YA and was sort of resistant to what was trending at the time. Then I realized that I was immersed in the market, and spent 40/wk with the target audience. I’d be an idiot NOT to write YA. And then when I started, I found out I loved doing it. I would like to write for adults someday, but right now I’m happy where I am.  I read across genres. Anything. Everything. Cereal boxes, even.

 
Krista Van Dolzer, Agented author
In this case, the genre totally chose me. I was lying in bed one night, just on the verge of sleep, when a first line came to me: “Mama said it was plum foolishness to keep my cousin’s dog tags like that, with his blood still stuck between the ridges of his name.” I wondered what kind of story would start with that kind of line, and Steve was born.  I read children’s literature almost exclusively, though I tend to read a lot more YA than MG. (Of course, I’ve tried to change that since I started writing Steve…)

 

So, what about other writers out there. Do you read the genre you write? What’s your favorite?

WIP Coaching

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

 

First: Good luck to all those in the A-Z Challenge. I was a little overwhelmed about taking it on, so I didn’t. Now I’m thinking it’ll still be overwhelming because so many people on my reading list are participating and for April. Google Reader is going to fill up quick! How do I keep up?

 

I announced last week I won a Gabriela Lessa’s Best Future Manuscript Contest, which means I get the chance to have Gabi be my writing coach.
 
WIP Coaching. What is it?
 
A writing coach helps you finish your manuscript by making you stick to deadlines, helping with plotting and tightening your writing and anything else you might need during your writing process.
 
I had my first Skype session with Gabi this week to discuss CHLOE. AT that time, I was at 21,000 words, have the beginning and middle planned, but not the end. My big question/decision was, what direction did I want to take with CHLOE?
 
The issue was whether to add a mystery angle to my story, making a suicide into a murder that Chloe discovers? After talking with Gabi, I feel confident saying no to the mystery angle. This story is not a full-blown mystery and so throwing that in sort of complicates not only the genre, but might create too many other issues. I think just talking about it aloud helped figure out things, because I’d never been set on making into a mystery.
 
So now I know this story is about Chloe’s life and how she finds herself as she’s discovering the horrible things that lead to her brother’s suicide.
 
That settled. Whew-but I still don’t know the ending yet. I’m writing my ideas down, but not sure exactly what the climax will be.
 
The next thing Gabi suggested doing was an outline and learning about plotting, because that was one of my big writing issues: plotting and pacing. I can recognize my writing weaknesses, but plotting and pacing issues are not so easy for me to see.
 
Do you outline before you write?
 
I don’t, being more of a pantster. When I’ve finished a big chunk of writing, I’ll sort of outline, writing down the order of things. Then I might look at how to change the sequence, but half my ideas don’t come until after I’ve started writing.
 
These are my next things to accomplish. (Along with continuing to write)
 
*Outlining. I tried setting up an old-fashioned outline in Word. Why is it so darn hard? I’ve given up and decided to do it in Excel. I assume every author does thing differently, so my outline will be sparse—as in the general idea of a chapter/scene.
 
*Learning about plotting. I’m actually going to get some books and read about how you should plot novels. I found one book on the Marshall Plan—that is so not for me. But I’ll also look at the three-act structure too. Of course I won’t write according to these ideas, but I’ll probably get my story written and then see how it fits into these plot structure ideas. It may then help me see my problems and issues.
 
Anyways, I’m curious about other writers. For those planners out there, do you carefully follow a plotting style? And for the pantsters, after you’ve written your story, do you analyze your plot according to a certain plotting style?