Monday, March 29, 2010

Major Surgery

I'm working on edits of my good ol' work in progress, and I have discovered that I'm in need of an operation.

A few of my characters need work. And by work, I mean they need to get completely sliced out of the book. So somebody hand me a scalpel. I'm going in.

I had thought of the prospect of this, sadly, when I was writing the first draft. However, that's not the way I work. I had the idea worked out before hand, and when I'm writing, I charge forward bowling over everything in my path. Sometimes, that includes the common sense of "That really should get changed." I don't make changes when I'm writing, since I save that for the editing process.

But now I'm at the editing process, and this is no small task. There are a couple of characters that just don't fit, so I think they've got to go. On the other side, there are a couple of characters that really need to be involved more - that I think are more important and need more face time.

I am a pretty liberal editor, and that helps. When it comes to my WIP, my hacking and slashing would make Jason Voorhees blush. But this is a major undertaking, chopping people out of a story. I have to make sure I do it right.

I've talked before about how the editing is a painstaking process. Now my next few sessions are going to be filled with removing these characters and patching it up. My vision is better without them, but as with all surgeries, this is probably going to take time before I'm completely happy with it.

I just hope there aren't any scars. But if there are, I hope they look cool.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

More reading options

Since I've been reading so much, I figure I might as well offer up a couple of other good resources I've stumbled upon.

I read fiction almost exclusively, but these are from a list of books to help your writing. They're both very good, and they have been helpful in the past. That's why I read them again. I may have mentioned them before, but I repeat myself at times. Especially when I have good things to say.

The first is ZEN AND THE ART OF WRITING by Ray Bradbury. This one offers tons of help on getting the most out of your writing, which is something I've really needed help with lately (in case you've missed my previous post). I had forgotten how good this thing is.

The other is WRITING TO SELL by Scott Meredith. This one goes over everything, plotting, character creation and all that good stuff. It's a very good resource and a good starting point for writers that don't know how to go about tackling their projects.

Every time I read these, I pluck something out that I can use. They're short, but they're like text books. You can keep learning and learning as long as you're willing to keep wringing them out.

Of course, I can't have a post like this without mentioning ON WRITING by Stephen King. If you haven't read it, stop reading this post right now and go to a bookstore or and purchase it this instant.

If you're reading this sentence, you have 1) Read ON WRITING; 2) don't take orders from the likes of me; or 3) are just plain sneaky.

No matter which option describes you, I still like you.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Time to shake up the bag

Writer's block is something I used to laugh at. Now it's something I stub my toe on. I still write, to be sure, but I don't like anything that I'm writing these days. I don't know if it's because I am busy with my real job as a reporter, because I hate my job as a reporter, because my good ideas are all locked away in hibernation, or because I simply am out of my groove. Whichever way it's going down, my writing/editing time has turned largely into a sighing/swearing time.

And whatever the reason, it's frustrating. The days of yanking a piece of paper out of a typewriter with loud ZZZZZZIIIIPPP! might be gone for me, but the act of highlighting a giant chunk of text on my laptop screen has the same, dizzying affect.

One positive of this whole thing is that my reading has shot through the roof. Since Jan. 1, I've read 14 books, and am halfway through No. 15. That has me cruising (unintentionally) toward roughly 60 books this year. I try to read between 40 and 50 each year on purpose, and I'm blowing that pace right out of the water.

These two things are no coincidence, methinks. Subconsciously, I feel like I'm trying to dig up whatever I can out of these numerous books, furiously flipping through pages to find the switch for that light bulb over my head.

I'm so tired of the frustration, that I've decided to jounce the limb a little bit to see if this slump can get knocked to the ground. And I'll do whatever it takes.

I'll change my routine to write during different times of the day. I'll write without looking at the screen for an hour and then check out what I've got when I'm done. I'll write groggy from just waking up in the morning. I'll write groggy with sleep late at night. I'll write drunk. No matter what happens, though, I won't quit.