Tag Archives: writing fiction

How Do You Draft?

hand

About two weeks ago I started a second draft of The Halley Branch, a novel I wrote for the blog in real time in 2015 (I wrote and posted a new chapter every day).  Last night I was talking to someone about drafting, and we were thinking slightly different things.  I am a little curious on people’s opinions about how to draft.  I know, each person does things their own way, like the old arguments about being a Planner or Pantser when writing the first draft, but I am still curious.

I see two major styles of drafting, Old School and Edited Draft.  OK, I made up that last one because I didn’t want to call it “The Lazy Way”, particularly since that is my current technique.  I’ll give you a definition as to how I see these methods. Continue reading

A few Notes on Genre

fireborn-005

I’ll admit that I’m a person who does not like to pigeonhole.  I don’t believe creative endeavors should have boundaries.  My favorite music often is in the cracks.  Yes, there are people who classify this same music with exactness, but if you actually listen to the music, or study it (which I have), you find that it just doesn’t fit.  I don’t think imagination should be boxed in.

And yet we do need those classifications.  Would you really buy music if you had zero idea what it was about?  The same, of course is true in fiction.  Genre is important.

As a reader, I have very eclectic tastes.  I’m sure you’re surprised ;)  I hate sticking to a single genre.  And truthfully, I very rarely pay attention to sub-genre.  I recently read a sci-fi book.  After reading it, I looked at reviews and was a little surprised that every review talked about the sub-genre and how well the book did, or didn’t fit that sub-genre.  Can’t you just freaking read the book for itself without pigeonholing it!?  I didn’t even know that sub-genre existed, and yet people were up in arms about it.  I thought it was a good book, so why argue that as a purple-western-star-bong sci-fi book the main character would never have said, “Hello”, she would have said, “Well, Howdy, fandango!”? Continue reading

First Chapter of The Fireborn

Fireborn

Yesterday I had a post about first chapters.  At the end I said I would put up the first chapter of the first book I wrote, The Fireborn.  Read it and let me know if you didn’t like/wouldn’t read the book even at gunpoint/think it’s terrible, or, hopefully, that you liked it and want more!  Warning – this is very long.  Remember, it’s the first chapter of a book, not a short story (Oh, and I left in the section header):

Part I

Then the Irish kindled a fire under the cauldron of renovation, and they cast the dead bodies into the cauldron until it was full, and the next day they came forth fighting-men as good as before, except that they were not able to speak. –  Anonymous Medieval Welsh, Branwen the daughter of Llyr, Second of the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (The Mabinogion)

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Elliot Everett-Jones stepped out of his ancient Jaguar and headed towards the cluster of tents across the makeshift car park.  He was thinking that they were more temporary structures than tents per se, when the door of the largest one opened and a man walked out.  Elliot stopped in his tracks and let out an involuntary little gasp.  For half of a second he almost believed his father had come back to life, but then recognized his brother, William.  It surprised Elliot that he had never noticed how much William had become the spitting image of the late Dr. Everett-Jones, though he had to admit that William had changed in the year since he had last seen him.  Elliot waited, letting his brother come to him.  As he watched, Elliot realized that William had also inherited their father’s mannerisms and walked with the same steady stride.

William gave a short “Hullo” as he reached his younger brother.  Taking Elliot’s outstretched hand and slapping his shoulder, William smiled broadly and said, “Great to see you, Elliot!  Glad you can still drive on the proper side of the road after all of those years in America.  You made good time.  Did your rusty old Jag even touch the ground?  Everything coming towards you have a bit of a blue tint and everything behind shifted to the red, huh?”

Elliot returned his brother’s large grin and held his hand in both of his own.  “If I’d known what a nasty, barren plain you were dragging me to, I wouldn’t have hurried.  What a desolate hole you have here!” Continue reading

Upcoming – The First Chapter

My Book

The first chapter of a book is the most important chapter.  If you don’t catch the reader right away, there is no second chance, they are gone, even if the rest of the book is the greatest book that has ever been written.  A lot rides on that opening statement.  Unfortunately, sometimes we can be intimidated by how much weight there is on it.

When I started writing The Fireborn, I wrote a few chapters in the middle and then continued by doing a quick outline to connect them.  I wasn’t planning on actually writing at the time, I wanted to plan and outline, but I had these ideas and I had to put them on “paper” just as they were in my head so I wouldn’t lose them.   The problem was, as I tried to outline the blanks between the chapters,  I did it by writing new chapters.  Sigh.  So I finally gave up, and decided to start from the beginning.

Since I knew the importance of the first chapter, I decided to write a placeholder.  That freed me up and I just started writing at the beginning and didn’t stop (except to insert the aforementioned previously written chapters) until I wrote “The End” two and half months later. Continue reading

Serial Story?

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Back in the late summer of 2015 I serialized a novel, The Halley Branch.  For the first couple of weeks I wrote a chapter and posted it the next day.  Later I spent a weekend and finished the whole thing in one sitting ( about 20,000 over the weekend) and then posted at my leisure.  I found some very good and some very bad points about posting like this.

One good part about it is that I always have a post ready!  When I start a new writing project, I stick with it (or have over the last 4 or 5 years, before that, no ;) ).  It is also great to get immediate feedback.  I actually wrote two of my best chapters for The Halley Branch in response to comments, chapters that added depth to the overall story.

But then, what about my blog readers who don’t want to read a serialized novel?  My guess is that the majority of you out there really don’t want to read a new 2,000 word chapter every day, or even three of them a week. And also, when it’s time for me to start doing revisions and pounding it into shape, is it good thing to have the first draft lying around? Continue reading

Weekly Smile 62 #weeklysmile

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile

Weekly Smile #WeeklySmile

I have mentioned a few times lately that I am in a writing phase.  There have been times in the past that I’ve been more prolific, writing the Halley Branch in less than a month comes to mind, but I have been writing quite a bit of fiction, not all of it making the pages of my blog.  A couple of things, though, stand out for this week.

A few stories have come up lately that remind me a lot of The Fireborn, the first (still unpublished) book that I wrote.  Last week I pulled out the 4th full draft, the latest, and did a quick read through.  I forgot how much I liked it!  I do need to brush up a few rough spots.  And then I will need to do some deep editing, sending it out for other eyes.  But in its present state, it is almost ready to go.  Of course I did do three major revisions and a half a dozen read-throughs in the year after I finished the first draft.  With all of that it had better be pretty close to being ready!  My current plan is to put it out in the late spring or early summer. Continue reading

Drafts

Fiction

When you read a story here on Trent’s World, you are usually reading an unedited first draft.  Well, maybe not 100% unedited – I usually will take a quick read-through and correct the most obvious mistakes, but it is almost always a first draft.  And you know what?  I’m fine with that.  This is not a literary magazine and most people reading the stories enjoy them.  If I spent the time to get them all “publish ready”, I would have posted closer to 20 stories than 200.

I am bringing this up now because I am in the process of doing another read-through of the short stories that will be included in my short story collection. Continue reading

A Bit of Truth Behind the Fiction

Baby Eagle

Baby Eagle

I had lived in New Hampshire for a little over a year.  I was having job issues and wasn’t sure what was happening in the near term.  I took walks and they became longer and longer every day.

One day as I was walking through the woods I heard an awful, pitiful cry.  A large white pine was straight in front of my, the trail turn as it reached it.  High above the trail there was a large bird on a branch with another large bird a bit above it on another branch.  I couldn’t tell what they were, but my thought was immature bald eagles.  They were huge.  Between the two birds was a squirrel.  The squirrel was screaming at the birds.  He obviously wasn’t ready to be bird food quite yet.  As i approached one of the birds flew off.  Not wanting to upset the balance of nature I quickly walked on.  For the next few months I looked for that bird every time I walked by that tree.  After two or three months I moved and have never been back to that trail (moved to a different part of the same town). Continue reading

A Question of Names

woman portrait

When you write fiction, how do you come up with the names of your characters?  As I’ve been reading through my short stories once again I’ve been looking at names.  As I look at the names, that question about naming occasionally comes up.  Why did I choose that particular name and what would happen if I changed it?

First a few little details.  Between the short stories I’ve posted here, including the flash fiction and 100 word “Friday Fictioneers” stories, and the stories I have not posted, there are well over 200 stories that combined to more than 250,000 words.  Of course, if I toss in the two books I’ve written, at about 80,000 words each, we are talking about a lot of names, a huge number of names, perhaps thousands of named characters.  Sometimes it bothers me when I find a repeat, but over all I think I did a pretty good job keeping unique names. Continue reading