novel

Hello Again

Posted on Updated on

It’s been over two years since I last posted.  So here’s a little recap.

For a while, I took a break from writing.  No inspiration was coming and I was struggling with some learning problems and writing was too taxing on my brain for the moment.

Then, I started outlining an novel idea I’d been having for about a year and wrote the first 50 pages of that story.  In December, I send those first 50 pages to Ellen Brock, an editor (who I really recommend). She told me it had promise but needed some major structurally overhauls.

Basically, this was the problem:

My main character was pretty pathetic and most of her ‘conflicts’ she created for herself and there was no clear motivation behind her actions.  

My antagonist wasn’t antagonistic enough.

This created a story without conflict and story without conflict is no good. 

So, I was discouraged for a bit.  Then I decided to revamp my story, but keep some of elements I liked most about my original story.  I forced myself not to write anything for at least 9 weeks as a I outlined and ironed out all my plot problems and figured out why my characters were doing what they were.   I cut some scenes, I changed some scenes.  I made some of the main characters more minor and took some away completely.  I also decided to write in third person limited with two POV characters instead of first person.

So it’s been about 7 weeks now, and I have a pretty good plot plotted out.  I have a list of scenes that follow the goal, conflict, consequence pattern.  My main character, Rebecca, has more personality and a definite reason for her actions.   It’s really amazing what focused time each day can do for a writing project!

So my next goal is to write my the first 50 pages of this story and send it to the editor again.  I’m hoping she sees improvement.  After that, I will continue writing (or re-plot if she feels that’s necessary). Of course I’ll be discouraged if she still sees flaws in my story, but I want my debut novel to be as good as it can be because you only have one chance to be a new author in the industry.  I want to make an impression.

I wish I was an Artist…

Posted on Updated on

paintbrush imageAs I’m finding inspiration pictures for each my characters I’m thinking it would be really great to be a skilled artist.  Then, I could find an inspiration picture and redraw it, changing the parts I don’t like or that don’t fit the character.  Or I could  start from scratch, and draw them how I envision them in my head.

I’m so jealous of Burdge-Bug.  She draws the cutest fan-art for her favorite books.  If I could draw like her, I would include my drawn pictures of my characters in the back of my novel (even though it’s not published yet).

 

But, I’m far from an artist, so I guess I’ll have to be content with modeling my characters after actors and actresses or random people I find on Pinterest.

What are your favorite ways to find inspiration pictures for your characters?

Using Review in Word

Posted on Updated on

I found a great way to edit a novel or short story in Word.  I found it because a few days ago, one of my friends asked if I’d read a short story she was writing and give my opinion on it.  I was so excited to be able to critique someone else’s work.  I used review in Word to make comment bubbles to put my notes in.  This is helpful for either putting notes in someone else’s work and emailing it to them, or putting notes in your own work to look at for the next writing day.

sample page image
This is one page of my friend’s short story, with my notes on the side.

 

Here’s a super easy tutorial showing how to use review in a Word document. 

1. Open a word document.

2. Click on the tab that says ‘review’ at the top of the document.

review tab with arrow image

3.  Highlight the word or words you want to add a note about.

highlight word image

4. Click on the ‘new comment’ icon.

comment added image

To delete a note, first click the note, then click on the icon that says ‘delete’ next to the ‘add comment’ icon.

Viola! Enjoy adding notes into your Word documents:-)

A Snippet of my Novel

Posted on

“Are you hungry?”

“Yes, I haven’t eaten all day, and I’m feeling a little sick from it.” Chas answered.

“Then come with me, I’ll show you a good restaurant where you can eat. I have already eaten.”

Simon led Chas to his black car and they got into it. Chas sat in the passenger seat.  Simon drove to a small, dark looking restaurant.  Chas thought it looked unappealing, but he was very hungry, so he didn’t complain.

They picked a booth in a quiet corner.  Simon sat slouched down, with his elbows on the table.

Soon, a waitress with long auburn hair walked over to their table.  Chas ordered his food and Simon ordered a bottle of wine and asked for a mug.

The waitress returned quickly. “Your wine and mug, sir.” She said, placing Simon’s order in front of him.

“Thank you.” Simon responded.  Then, the waitress walked towards the kitchen.

“I feel kind of confused from hunger.” Chas said apologetically, after she had left.

“That must be nice.” Simon said bitterly.

Chas was very confused.  “What do you mean?”

“It’s a comfort for me to forget my life……that’s why I drink.” He raised his mug carelessly, as he said this.  “You probably think we have nothing in common, you and me.  You may be right.”

Simon had a way of speaking that made Chas feel uncomfortable.

“I don’t think we are at all similar, except for in looks.” Chas responded, cautiously.

“You may be right. So…..what did you think of the pretty witness at the court?  She seemed to know you.”  Simon’s brown eyes lit up strangely as he said this.

“Who?”

“You know who I’m talking about, Miss Monet! Everyone in the court was looking at her….especially you.”  Simon said.  Then, he slammed his mug of wine loudly on the table, causing the wine to slosh.  Chas started.  At first he thought Simon did this out of anger, but seeing that Simon’s face was expressionless, he wondered.

The waitress came back with Chas’ food and he began to eat.

“Miss Monet will make some man very happy when she marries him, one day.”  Simon stated after a moment.

“Yes.” Chas said simply.

“Is her affection worth being tried for your life, Mr. Delacroy?”  Simon asked with a slight smile.

Chas looked uncomfortable and wanted to turn the conversation away from himself.  “Thank you for saving my life.” Chas said seriously.

“I don’t deserve thanks from you.” Simon said, as he refilled his mug with wine.

“What do you mean? You saved my life!”

“It’s my job; I’m a defense lawyer, that’s what I do. It doesn’t mean I care at all about what happens to you.  Now, let me ask you a question, Mr. Delacroy.”

“Ok.”

“Do you think I like you?”

“I never thought of it. I’ve had more pressing problems lately than to think about your feelings toward me.”

Simon laughed slightly. “Think of it now.”

“You act like you do like me, but I don’t think that you really do.”

“You judge well.  I don’t think I like you, either.”  he said nonchalantly.

Chas finished his meal and rose from his seat to say goodbye to Simon.  Simon stood up too, but did not say goodbye.  He had a strange expression on his face.

“Another question: Do you think I’m drunk?”

“I think, Mr. Carter, that you have been drinking.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you are drunk.” he replied, carefully.

“You know I am drunk.”  Simon’s lack of politeness was confusing to Chas.   Both men looked at each other in silence.

“I guess you probably are drunk.” Chas finally said.

“Do you know why?”

“No.”

“Because I don’t care about anyone and nobody cares for me either.   I’m very useless to the world.” he said sullenly.

“That’s sad.  You have skills that could be put to better use.”

“Maybe so.  But don’t be too proud of having your life together, Mr. Delacroy, it could change any day.”

Chas left this strange man, feeling disconcerted.

Don’t Pick Favorites

Posted on Updated on

I’ve been developing my novel writing skills by reading K.M Weiland’s blog, Helping Writers Become Authors, and her how-to write books.   I learned a valuable lesson this week from her advice.

simon
This is my inspiration picture for my protagonist. You can see why I’m a bit in love with him:-)

She believes that authors can’t have a favorite character when they are writing a book, and she tells you why in this blog post.  She says that it really affects your writing and I’ve found that this is true.  A few days ago, I was reading parts of my rough draft of my book and realized that it’s very obvious that my protagonist is my favorite character.  It’s also obvious that I’m not very interested in any of the other characters.  All my moments of brilliance in dialogue or plot came when I was writing about my protagonist.  The scenes without him are very elementary and boring.

I’ve learned that these things help you love all of your characters:

1. Give every character a back story. This really helps you understand why they act a certain way or make the choices they do.

2.  Spend the same amount of time and effort on all of your characters.

3. Decide to be interested in all of their lives. I try to find something interesting or endearing about all of my characters now, even the ones that don’t excite me.

Loving, or at least being interested in all of your character’s lives really does make your writing better and it will also make your story more interesting. I hope to develop this skill as an author.

Do you struggle with having a favorite character in your own novels?