Tools And Writing Tips

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*I’ve just purchased a few books by the fabulous K.M. Weiland. If I find that they help out. I’ll post (with her permission of course) the process here. *

A compilation of things that I have found useful in my writing. They could help you too! Please note this is a slowly developing page. If you would like to suggest an addition, please use the contact me tab.

Outlining Help

My outlining usually consists of making a bunch of notes and organizing them in order of chapters. Although I do like the practice of making outlines (actually, I’m quite the pantster when I get going), most of my stories seldom follow them closely. I like keeping them lose and use them more as a guideline more than anything.

Here are some links that help tremendously with outlining.

http://www.creative-writing-now.com/novel-outline.html

http://www.how-to-write-a-book-now.com/plot-outline.html

http://pbackwriter.blogspot.com/2007/09/novel-outlining-101.html

Feel free to use some or all of these links. You can even take a little something from each and create your own way of outlining. Either way, having an outline can help keep you from pulling your hair out on some wordless nights. :)

I created a template that could be of some use to you. It helps me a lot with plotting and seeing where the story is going and where there should be more. I’ve created the template to include the prologue and the first five chapters. You can customize it to fit your font style and chapter length as well as practically any genre. No need to credit me. Use it and tweak it as you see fit. If you find a way to make it work better for you and would like to send it to me, just use the contact me tab. I would be happy to use your template and give it a try.

OUTLINE TEMPLATE

Character Names

I think this could possibly be one of the most significant steps in writing a book. Having the right character names in a story makes the character themselves more believable.

Here are some links that help with picking the right name.

http://www.rinkworks.com/namegen/

http://www.babynames.com

There should be some care when picking out names. Rumor has it that some sites have the meanings of names so completely wrong that it’s not only an embarassment to the author but an insult to the people who’s origins/languages were incorrectly used. Take care to research the names thoroughly.

Patricia Wrede’s Fantasy World Building Questions (Via SFWA)

http://www.sfwa.org/2009/08/fantasy-worldbuilding-questions/

My thoughts on this process…

It’s a soul sucker. Especially if you try to answer every single question before you start writing. I tried to do this for this year’s (2013) NaNo and gave up in the same month I started (September). It got to the point where I was virtually answering the same questions in different sections and made me feel creatively stunted.

However…

There are some questions that are wonderful and should be thought about when considering world building and what you want to include. Particularly the magic system questions and basic world questions. It helped to give me that foundation of which to build my world upon.

I think these would be great to fill in as you go, but certainly not to do before you even have an iota of what you are going to work on. And I don’t think all of these questions need to be answered or even in great detail.

But they do take a considerable amount of time to answer and it will suck the soul from you if you try to focus on them solely, like I did. Don’t do it. Trust me.  You’ll thank me later.

My Process

I’ve been asked numerous times about my process of writing. Really, sometimes its a nail-biting, hair pulling, bloodletting process, that isn’t as cathartic or therapeutic as one would think. It’s rather frustrating at times. And I feel like I have to be 100% honest if I’m going to do this post. So there it is. And the reason why I have these points isn’t because I do or don’t plot. It’s simply because I try too hard. I don’t turn off my inner editor and I’m simply my worst critic. I’m my worst obstacle to get over. But once I overcome all this, things are quite smooth sailing.

Alright, on to the process.

It’s pretty basic, really.

Sometimes I feel like I need to do a little more planning than others. Depending on the story. You can find more on that here. But more often than not, the first draft is all by the seat of my pants. I learn some of my best writing lessons this way. I get to know my characters better this way. The plots are often revealed to me this way. I get my best writing done this way. This doesn’t work for a lot of writers and that’s okay. But this is what works for me. And the planning and cards come later.  Often times, planning before ruins the story and it becomes too stiff and I find my creativity too smothered to be able to do anything worth while. I love letting my characters tell me where to take the story. I’m just the means in which the story gets told.

And that’s the first draft.

It’s not going to be full of a lot of detail. The word count isn’t going to be that great. It’s just going to be the basic story. The shell of what it is. Then, I go through and add the details of the characters, the scene, the settings. I fix any plot holes, and any other necessary details that come to me. Then, I do a read through taking additional notes of anything else that may need more details. Does the romance need more spice? Is the suspense intense enough? Are there any characters that still seem too translucent to me? Things like like that. I’ll do another rewrite, read through, then send it off to my beta readers.

Once I get all my betas back I print them off and color code them. I go through them, chapter by chapter, and make the necessary corrections. Once that is done, I do another read through, making sure things flow good. Then I send off to my editor. Repeating the same process as my betas. Send off to another editor as necessary and proofreader. From there, I format and publish.

The time frame from concept to publish depends on the length and type of story I’m working on as well as if I have any other projects going on at the time such as betas, edits, reviews, etc. typically 1-2 years if not more.  Understand that for those who do traditional publishing it takes much longer. I’m told the reason is shopping for a home for the work. I don’t really know. I like being an indie author, and though I would like to think of myself as finding a home for some of my work in a traditional pub house some day, I don’t see it in the near future.

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