Thursday, July 5, 2012

More bombs good

WARNING: This is a writing update. I'm sorry if it's a little 'me-centric', but I'm hoping by blogging about my writing it might keep me more firmly on track when it comes to writing progress. Also, I might blog more consistently! Onward.

I can happily report that today I rewrote an entire scene and it is at least twice as awesome as it was before. That is not to say that it is now AWESOME, just that the previous iteration needed a lot of improvement.

I once wrote a blog post about dropping plot bombs. The basic premise is: if you feel like a scene is going nowhere, or lacking conflict/tension, there's one sure fire way to sort it out - drop in a plot bomb. Ask yourself, what's the worst that could happen right now to these characters? Be sure to throw in an evil cackle for good measure.

So before the scene went something like this: MC finds enemy soldiers (only three), kills two of them (one in cold blood) even though she's never killed anyone before, rescues girl, goes on her merry way (albeit a little depressed over killing two men).

Now: MC finds a group of around 20 soldiers holding a girl captive, she hides out until night and slips into the tent with the girl, kills two men in self defense and gets a stab wound in the side and almost strangled for her efforts, rescues girl and hightails it outta there with 18 pissed off soldiers on her tail. Will she make it?

Favourite bit today:

My eyes widened as the knife sunk into my side. I fisted his shirt and dragged him closer to me, staring into his snarling face. Victory glinted in his eyes. He thought he’d won. Perhaps he had.

Either way, I was taking him with me.

It's exciting being able to see improvements in your story, isn't it? How's everyone else's writing going?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Intern lessons: Take your finger away from the send button...

I've read a lot of manuscripts and written a lot of assessments since starting my internship with Entangled. I've seen the range, from great to 'did they just finish their first draft and call it done?'. The single most common thing I end up writing in those assessments is: the premise has great potential, but the execution just doesn't live up to it.

So often I see a manuscript that has the potential to be amazing, but the amount of work involved in making it so is just too much for a busy editor with a mountain of work already sitting on their desk. Often the issues with the manuscript are things the author could have fixed themselves, if they'd done a little research or sought the help of a CP or beta reader (or even just moved from draft 1 to draft 2). By not making that little bit more investment in their work those authors have lost a potential opportunity.

So, first intern lesson learnt: make sure you're sure, like really really sure, your MS is in tip top condition (and I don't just mean spelling mistakes) before sending it off to your dream publishing house/agent. Sometimes, when you've been working so damned hard on that story, it's easy to get impatient. If you're feeling impatient then find yourself a beta reader and use the time it takes them to read and assess your MS to take a step back and think about something else for a while. Who knows? Maybe they'll think your MS is ready too!

Mmk, I know that this intern lesson is one all my writer friends who read this already know. We follow the online writer community and educate ourselves on this stuff, right? (Surprisingly, a lot of the MSS I read with easy to fix issues come from authors who do have an online presence.) I've read a lot of agent blogs saying they wished people would make sure they were ready to submit before doing so, so it's not like it came as a surprise to me, but it is very interesting to see the trend in practice.

Have you every submitted or been tempted to submit, even though you know your MS isn't quite ready? What are your experiences with this?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Why do you write?

Quick question for you today, writer friends:

Why do you write?

I'm writing an article for a start-up magazine my brother is involved with. He's asked me to write about writing, and more specifically (in his words):

Why do you do it? Where is the magic? Is it the science of the plot? Is it falling for a character? Is it being able to create a world? Write something that might inspire a potential writer to try their hand.
Make it less about the nuts and bolts and more about the inspiration of why you chose writing - or writing chose you - as a passion.

Well, I know why I write, but I'm interested to know what's going on with you. What is it that grabs hold of you and pulls words from your brain to the page? 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Why I'll be back soon

As many of you know, since I've blogged about it a few times, I'm uhh ... kinda ridiculously busy at the moment. I don't have free time. This blog post is eating into time when I should be editing a short story for one of my internships.

I don't have time for blogging. I don't have time for writing. I don't have time for reading (unless it's a manuscript for my other internship).

The whole reason I decided to get into publishing in the first place was because of my love of the above things. I've decided something needs to change.

The thing is, I really enjoy both of my internships, and I get a lot of really good and valuable experience from them. The one part of my life that isn't making me happy at the moment is my job. Sure, it's in a publishing company, but... that's not enough.

Here's what I knew when I decided I was going to change industries: I'd have to start at the bottom, and I'd have to do some jobs I wasn't particularly fond of in order to get to where I wanted to be. What I hoped was that, while doing the jobs I wasn't fond of, I would get some sort of development, exposure to the types of jobs I wanted to do. Growth.

I'm not currently getting any of that in my job. The experience I get from my internships I value far more than what I get from my job (I don't want to be an administrator, I want to be an editor in a trade publishing company). But I can't keep doing it all.

So I quit my job.

From the 25th of May I will no longer be a publishing assistant. I will still be an intern at Entangled reading slush and writing manuscript assessments. I will still be an intern at Aurealis editing short stories and preparing the magazine for ePub. I love both of them. I will still be a student.

I will be a writer, blogger and reader again.

I'll be back!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Taking a moment

Sadly, I think I'm going to have to bow out of the A-Z. Dwindling posts over the last week probably clued you in to that already though.

Remember that post I did on energy and exhaustion? Well, that list just keeps getting longer (more manuscripts, MORE assignments) and all of my spare time is being spent trying to get through everything I need to do.

The A-Z has motivated me to be a more regular blogger though, but I just don't think I can afford the time to post every day at the moment.

I'm going to keep trying to get around to other A-Zers blogs, and I wish you all the best of luck in getting through to the end of the month. Thanks for popping in and commenting on the posts I did write.

Keep writing!