Tag Archives: writing

How Do You Draft?

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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

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If We Were Having Coffee on the 24th of June

Hello and Welcome!  Come on in and I’ll get you a nice large mug of very strong French Roast, a cuppa tea or other beverage.  It’s a little odd out right now.  It is warmish and windy.  It is also cloudy and humid.  It looks like rain, but I’m not sure if it will hit us.  And where are we?  Some of you may recognize the photo at the top as coming from my cottage on Cape Cod.

Last week was very busy, but, again, I don’t have a lot to show for it.  One big thing, I am on vacation this coming week, so I spent a lot of time preparing.  There are also projects at work and other such things.

I also did quite a bit of writing.  I had sent my manuscript of The Fireborn to two people to edit.  One found a lot of typos and that type of thing, while the other pointed out more stylist things.  I’ve been going through their notes and am making corrections where needed.  I don’t always agree, but it is helping.  Actually, there isn’t as many problems as I expected.  On the other hand, I’ve done six drafts and over a dozen read throughs/revisions.  I’ve corrected a huge amount of mistakes in that time!  When I’m done with this, I’ll do one more quick read through to catch any other typos/misspellings/misused words/etc.  I started earlier this week and I’m a little over three quarters of the way done.  One long session or two shorter ones and I’ll be done (except the final read through).

Of course, after that part is done, the hard work has to happen.  In some ways this will be harder to format that Seasons of Imagination.  On the other hand, I don’t have to worry about a table of contents, which turned out to be a major pain. Continue reading

Doing Some Reading, I Mean Editing

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I have recently been attempting to edit my book, The Fireborn.  Notice I say “attempting to edit”, not just plain, “editing”.

When I edit, I find myself in one of three modes:

  1. Real editing!  I look at every word with a discerning eye.  I make changes.  I delete things. I add things.  I correct things.  I am editing!
  2. Proof reading.  I read through and pick up some of the more obvious errors and correct them.
  3. Reading.  I read.  I enjoy.  I continue to read.

I sit down for an editing session.  After two hours I’ve discovered that I spent 5 minutes on “Real editing!”, 25 minutes on “Proof reading”, and about an hour and a half just sitting back, reading and enjoying myself.

Hmmm, what’s wrong with this picture?   Continue reading

Poetry and Prose – A Divergence?

Mt. Lafayette

Mt. Lafayette after starting down the ridge

Two paths either diverge or collide, I haven’t decided which…

Early in the history in my blog I decided to post a poem every Tuesday.  This was my first regular feature and the only one that has lasted.  In the past several weeks I’ve occasionally gone back and read a poem or two or five.  I am not a great poet, but I do enjoy many of them.

People who have been reading my blog recently might know that I am in the middle of a writing streak.  I’ve been posting quite a few stories, have been posting a serialized novel and have been editing two other books off line. My prose writing is full-steam ahead.

OK, here is where it all goes wrong. 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)

-1-

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

Writing, Writing, Writing! (And Revising)

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I’m in a major writing phase right now.  I have been writing and posting more fiction lately than ever before.   Since the ideas have been flowing, I’ve been trying to go with it.  However, I may have to change writing priorities a little.  Here is a small sampling of what is going on and what I might change.

I’m sure you’ve all seen too many The Old Mill posts ;)  So far there have been 16 posts in the series, a total of about 23,000 (23K) words.  I have the entire story plotted out in my head, if not all of the details, and I would guess it will end up being at least 60 posts and 80K words.  Since this is really just a rough draft, that’s quite big for a first draft for me.  The first draft for The Fireborn was about 55K (now on the 4th draft up to about 82K) and The Halley Branch was about 50K (still in first draft form).  There are just so many moving parts to The Old Mill!  I have been putting up about four posts a week. Continue reading

What Do You Think? Goodreads

My Book

I have often said that I am a social media neophyte.  I am.  And, for the most part, I don’t care.  However, there is one social media platform that I’d like to know more about: Goodreads.  Yes, I am the only person in the entire world, perhaps the entire Universe, that does not have an account.  yes, I know that’s strange.  I know so very little about it…

Here is my understanding.  I put down the books I want to read.  I say which book I am currently reading.  I check them off as I read them and rate the books.  Then Goodreads recommends new books to me based on my likes.   It also lets me know what people I know are reading, have read or want to read.

Is that pretty close?  Did I miss anything?  Say anything wrong? 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