Letting go of the Prologue

September 14, 2009

In the Breakout Novel Workbook, Maass mentions that a prologue or flashfoward at the start is a red flag that the author doesn’t have confidence in their first chapter. My first chapter has had the worst growing pains. I always had problems with it and everyone who read it had problems with it. So I wrote up a prologue that starts with Nighthawk (the guy who seems to be almost everyone’s favorite 😉 ). And I know it was because I wasn’t confident in my first chapter.

But I was feeling good about some changes I made recently so coming to the critique meeting was awesome — to hear those specific changes pointed out as A+ and that it was really hard to find anything to critique. What helps more is that we found a solution to something that has been bugging me and it solves a few problems I didn’t even notice in addition to that! With that in place, I feel that not only is the prologue unnecessary but its a hindrance. It’s getting in the way of starting the story with the main character, it’s getting in the way chronologically, and reveals too much too soon.

Proud moment 😀

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Hooked on Critiques

July 15, 2009

Yay, three hour critique meeting! B&N staff had to drag us out kicking and screaming ;p It’s been awesome to see Tammy’s writing utterly transform from “nice” to “WOW!”

I think critiques are not necessarily about changing the heart of a story….but about how to get the heart across to the reader in a more clear, exciting way.

I’m more excited about the first few chapters of Deep Within now. I was definitely waiting for the axe of ‘It just doesn’t hook me’ to drop as it has done so many times with The Resistance. But I’ve learned so much working on The Resistance, that I’ve avoided a lot of mistakes.

Jess mentioned something interesting – ‘Publishers scan for white space’ – they look for dialog. There’s so much about writing style, character, setting, etc that you can get across through good dialog and honestly, I do the same thing. When I check a book to see if I want to read it, I’m not looking at the narrative. I look at the interplay between characters.

So I want to get into the dialog a lot faster in DW. I also noticed when editing Shannon’s that she starts out setting the scene and background then goes into the dialog. It was only a paragraph but that paragraph felt LONG compared to the dialog that was so instant and so GOOD that it would have made a great first sentence, the scene-setting just got in the way. It’s also fascinating how much backstory can be in a snippet of dialog… as The Fire and Fiction has for an example: “I hope you’ll enjoy some tea?” vs “Do you want cream for your tea? Nevermind. Of course you do. Your kind always does.”

We’ll see though, I have to balance that with description since people usually complain that’s where I’m lacking.

I need to make Mayuri more likable still–aiming for hilariously snarky– But it was fun for me that Mayuri wasn’t the first positive thing mentioned. The first thing the first critiquer mentioned mentioned was about Bones and EVERYONE lit up: ‘please tell me he’s okay!’ ‘he can’t die!’ ‘I LOVED him!’ I think it says something good that there was something in the first chapter that had so many people excited. There was that instant connection with everyone present. Plus there were some other very distinct emotional reactions people were having–positive and negative and I’d take that over lukewarm any day! Lukewarm has definitely been my bane with The Resistance.

So I need to sit down and read the detail critiques, maybe write CH2, then use what I want to of the detail critiques, theeeen send it to Karen & Co. my AbsoluteWrite.com buddies.

The critique meeting was based around the book “Hooked” which I’ve heard good and bad reviews of. Once it gets back to the library I want to check it out ^_^


Sell Out

June 4, 2009

Writing is stressing me out today T_T I kind of want to shelve the novel. I wrote it to defy some conventions that I dislike, to be to my taste, and I think in editing it I’m starting to take too much of the heart out of it. I don’t want to force it into the Sells Well formula especially since half the time I don’t even like the bestsellers that sell via the formula.


Once upon a time (again)

June 4, 2009

I’ve started several writing-themed blogs over the years but I always seem to revert back to posting in my super secret diary.  But I love reading Works in Progress so I feel like I ought to contribute my own.  Here I am again.  This time, I’m combining my writing blog and adventure blog.  Writing is totally an adventure (and also I don’t get to dance around the world on a daily basis T_T)

My current status is:  I hate twitter.

Okay, I don’t hate it.  It’s useful and probably great for honing my query skills but I want depth when I read something, I want MEAT.  I want a full course meal, none of this snacky stuff on the side.

My REAL status = BUSY.  ALL THE TIME BUSY.

I’ve got seven betas helping me with The Resistance aka Judgment aka Lightning Spliced.  Either I’m very smart or very masochistic.
I’ve got two very, very brave betas reading the rough draft of The Deep Within.

Due to the economy collapsing around us, the Grooming Business book is being put on hold.

I’m brainstorming aka daydreaming a delicious urban fantasy set in Savannah. Because Savannah is delicious.   Untitled but the main character’s name is Sierra.  Maybe.

I’m beta-ing four stories and a chapter here and there of four others.

And I’m teaching myself Japanese.