07 March 2014

Writing Exercises: Practice

Or "practise" for those who hold with British English. :)

Specifically, the challenge for today is to "practice in public."
  • Pitch a magazine you want to write for. Follow some of the templates in You Are a Writer. This article might help, too.
  • Ask a friend (or stranger) to guest post on his/her blog. Here’s another useful post.
  • Publish something on your blog you’ve never shared with anyone. Take a risk (we’ll be doing more of this soon).
  • Submit that book proposal. Don’t “work on it.” Finish it. Send it off. And say a little prayer.
Well, I don't want to write for magazines. I don't know that I have anything to guest post about, and my books aren't ready for me to submit proposals, so blog it is!

Technically, I've already done this, since I basically announced on here that I'm a writer and that I have written the first draft of my first book. The thing is, I'm fairly certain that I don't have a blog following, so announcements in empty rooms (and equivalents thereof) don't mean much.

To be honest, blogging sometimes feels somewhat egotistical. Sometimes I feel that sitting down to type out a post is basically saying, "I'm so very important that you should know how wonderfully important I am, too! Look at me! Look at me!" And then, being the introvert/hermit that I am, I cringe and don't post anything. haha. So to write this post about my books is not comfortable for me. It is, however, practice.

Unknown Source
There are times that words well up in me, and I simply have to write them down. There are times that I have had the words, failed to write them, and then regretted it. I didn't want the story in my first book to be one of those things. I had thought of a piece of the story line (though I think "was inspired with" might be more accurate), and I actually followed through and started typing it out. It was actually pretty good, so I told my parents about it. They each wanted me to read it to them, and then they each encouraged me to keep writing. In a fairly short amount of time, I had 21 chapters and a decent story.

I recently visited my parents, and they had me read the entire book to them. On the trip, I began the second book. One of the beautiful things about reading what you've written out loud is that you find out where the flow is broken, where the ideas don't work properly, and where you need more or less explanation, so that process helped me see that the book would need a rewrite. I began the rewrite yesterday.

In the rewriting process, I'm not scrapping anything and completely starting over. I'm actually building more detail and fleshing out what I didn't realize was bare bone until I read it aloud.

I had already had a list in my book journal of questions that had gone unanswered, of ideas I'd like to develop, of story lines that didn't come into play, etc., so now I'm adding to that list.

There are several story lines that I know are percolating that were either tangential to the stories in the first book, or didn't come into it at all. Those are books yet to be written. There are questions that I could have answered in the first book, but never quite got around to answering, so now I'm looking for places to pull those answers in-- and this feels, to me, like working a snagged, loose thread back into the garment where it's supposed to be.

Toward the end of writing the first draft, I got so caught up in the momentum of the unfolding events that I failed entirely to explain what was happening, even though I could see it clearly in my head, so now I'm going back and writing those scenarios more carefully.

There's an entire running metaphor that I pulled out of the first draft, because it wasn't working, but didn't entirely eliminate from everywhere it was mentioned, so now I get to deal with that. Do I rework it and put it back in? Do I erase all mention of it (which is where I'm leaning) and not even try to explain it? It's a conundrum, surely.

The biggest problem I have at this point is the fact that I don't yet know the names of the books or the series. I'm not saying that they don't have names. I'm certain they do. It's just that they haven't introduced themselves to me properly, so we're carrying on these deep conversations, getting to know each other intimately, but we're both kind of referring to each other as "you" and "um" instead of by name.

Anyway, this is more information than I've shared with anyone about my writing process and my first book(s), so if there's anyone reading this, welcome to my world!


{This writing exercise is the fourth from "15 Habits of Great Writers," which I came across on Pinterest.}

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