Revising a novel gives me the same dread I felt when writing the saggy middle of my story. I was standing at the beginning of an unending cracked desert and had no idea how to get to the other side. Mouth goes dry. As does every impulse. But in order to get from a crappy first draft to a polished manuscript, you have to go through the storm—the parts that hold your story together, the big stuff. Luckily, I've pieced this process into three steps that keep me sane.
Maybe you have the meet-cute down, but struggled with the climax (ooh-la-la). Maybe your characters have wit but lack chemistry. Maybe the chemistry is hot, but the plot is lukewarm. Maybe you’re incredibly frustrated with not knowing what to revise. Or maybe you’re the opposite: You have a solid novel with just a few kinks. Whatever your writing woes entail, one thing is certain...
If you read my previous blog post on how to create your cast of characters, then you're ready to concentrate more on what type of protagonist you’re dealing with.
When I think about good stories, stories that last with me long after the last page was turned, it’s often the characters that stick with me. I feel I could know them inside and out as much as the people in my life. What they like and hate, how they would react to any situation, and the key to their happiness.
Have you ever been confused by these two writing techniques? Although mystery and suspense often work together, knowing the difference can help us understand which strategy we want to achieve in our story.
Mind mapping can be a useful technique for writers to add to their writing process. What it comes down to is- how do we grasp information? How do we organize our thoughts and ideas? Do we need to?
How do we start a story that’s been consuming us for weeks, maybe even months? Do we begin describing some backstory to give readers immediate context or do we throw readers directly in the middle of an action-packed moment?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the mantra “show, don’t tell” and I always want to shake my fist and say “not always.”
Once a day you take a photo of something you’re grateful for and write about it. This is a daily mental exercise, a personal journey, that forces us to observe and appreciate what happens around us and to us.
Stephen King had it right when he referred to “the boys in the basement” as a mode of creative process. The “boys” are the muse, the background noise of our consciousness, and a place where our imagination simmers.