The Writing Long Jump vs. The Editing Obstacle Course

This article is posted in Page2Print.

I’ve found, increasingly over the last few years, that there are two completely divergent paths when it comes to “writing” and “editing that writing”. I have written two complete novels that each flowed out of me in a month. I have written two other as-of-yet unpublished novels that also took roughly a month to get the first draft completed. The editing for the first two novels was an uphill struggle with twenty-pound weights attached to my legs. It took five months to properly edit Something More, and it took six months to properly edit Our Crumbling Ivory.

As of this writing I’m gearing up to begin the third draft of Something More’s (untitled) sequel, so called because it doesn’t have a name yet. I spent about a month writing this one, followed by a couple months downtime, followed by another two weeks of writing. Then the second draft took another two months. I expect the third draft to take about a month, and subsequent drafts to take a couple of weeks each. At this rate (with some downtime between drafts to let my mind focus elsewhere and come back fresh) it’ll be the end of summer before I feel like it’s ready to show to other people, and then another couple of months while I go through a final revision using those people’s suggestions. Continue reading

My Brain is a Genie that Grants Everyone Wishes!

This article is posted in Brain2Page.

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I was once an insufferable little prat a teenager, discovering a lot about myself and the world around me in that clumsy way all teens have. I found out that women made me feel funny inside; that I didn’t really like slapstick comedy very much; that there was more than a surface level in books, movies, television, video games, and in people. I found that what I loved as a little boy (reading) wasn’t something a lot of people did (at least a lot of people I would come to know).

I also discovered that it takes a writer to make something a reader can read.

The very first time I can remember having written something that I genuinely enjoyed the process of writing it as opposed to reading the outcome was when I was in sixth grade, before 12-year-olds were considered junior high schoolers. My teacher was Mrs. Gardner, and we were given the assignment to write a short story about our lives thirty years in the future. Specifically we were told to imagine some technologies that might exist thirty years in the future, and to describe who we were as people in this crazy future world. Continue reading

I’m a Dude, Writing a Woman. I’m Gonna Screw this Up.

Alternate Title:

I’m a Chick, Writing a Man

What Can Go Wrong?

It’s hard to write a story without having both men and women in it. Even stories that more or less attempt this tend to just supplant some of one gender into the gender roles of the opposite sex.

See: Y The Last Man, Oz, and to a lesser extent stuff like 5ive Girls.

We are a gender-specific global society, whether men and women of the world want to admit it or not. Are we moving away from the idea? Sure. In some places of the world. In others, not so much.

But I’m not going to sit here and soapbox what makes men and women different, or even what makes them the same. This article isn’t meant to polarize one side or the other, and it certainly isn’t meant to drum up controversy, though that’s out of my hands the moment I hit Publish, I suppose.

But because we (global “we”) tend to have these gender-specific mindsets and roles, how the hell are you (the male reader) supposed to write a woman without making her dependent on a man? And how are you (the female reader) supposed to write a man without making him a big dumb oaf? Continue reading

Page2Print: Syntactical Symmetry – When The Hell Do I Use A Semicolon Anyway?

Writing has its ups and downs. Between the excitement of talking about and brainstorming a new story to the frightening reality of Getting Started. From that moment when you write something truly inspired to the frustration you feel when you have to cut your favorite scene for the sake of the story. From the high that comes with your first praise to the terrible low of your first critical beating.

You have to deal with them all, and failure to deal with any aspect of a writer’s lot with grace and dignity can lead to terrible fallout. Nobody (that matters) wants you to fail for reasons that have little to nothing to do with the writing process.

Editing is one of those steps that you will spend countless hours pursuing on your journey to be a published Author, whether it’s short stories or epic fantasy series. You have to be your own editor first and foremost.

Page2Print – What Is This?

Page2Print is what I’m calling my secondary series that is all about editing. Where Brain2Page is all about the initial writing process, and how to keep yourself moving and motivated and all that flimsy vague nonsense that keeps you from writing, Page2Print explores and focuses on writing rules and guides that I use when I take pen to page and begin the task of chopping my stories apart, or when I chop other people’s stories apart. Continue reading

Brain2Page: Maintaining That Momentous Momentum

In a previous blog post about the Muse, I explored capturing the moment and riding the wave of inspiration to its bitter, soul-crushing end. The reality is, of course, that you cannot always count on the Muse to guide your path and keep the words flowing. This is true for many more things than just the process of writing fiction, that sometimes it just isn’t working.

But if you only ever write when you feel the Muse upon you, you’ll find you hardly ever write anything. I certainly found that out the hard way, when I was in my early 20s and I had this very romantic, juvenile picture of the Author in my mind. This Author would write for sixteen days straight, hardly taking time to do anything else but eat, sleep, and maybe take a shower. This Author would put down his pen, stare lovingly at his Creation, and call it a day. Continue reading

Brain2Page: Taming the Senses – The Three-of-Five Rule

There are few things in the world of writing and revision that drive me truly crazy.  The first of these is simply that You Are Never Done. Which I will no doubt explore at some future point. But I’m not here to talk about that quite yet.

The second thing that drives me absolutely bats is description. Writing it, rewriting it, reading it. Anything that has to do with description really gets me into a bad frame of mind, because there are so many ways to approach description, and almost every way has merit to somebody. Continue reading

Brain2Page: A Muse Approaches; What Do You Do?

Sometimes writing floods the page, and your fingers can’t keep up with the deluge of content bursting forth. You’re so excited, you’re typing a page every ten minutes, you know it’s not perfect, but it’s something, and probably something good. You tell yourself this is the way it should always be. You finish another page. You finish another paragraph.

Then suddenly all that momentum, all that excitement, all that content just dries up. If a gremlin exists inside your head, he just rigged the floodgates. The last dribble splashes onto the page. You sit there staring at words you hardly remember thinking. You try to trick yourself back into the flood.

But it’s too late. That moment has fled. The page sucked up the words like parched ground drinks the rain after a split-second break from the drought.

You try to force it. You keep going. Nothing is the same. Everything you put down now is polluted compared to the wondrous torrent of just one minute ago.

What happened? What changed? How did you have the Biblical Flood come pouring out of your head one minute, and only bring up dust in the pail the next? Continue reading