Posts Tagged ‘ perspective ’

Knowing Your Length

This past Thursday I began working on the revisions to Project X after getting it back from my second beta reader. In reading her comprehensive and detailed notes, I realized something important: You must pay attention to length!

In working on Project X, I’ve focused strictly on word count and not number of pages. My go-to, most favorite writing software Scrivener doesn’t even understand page numbers as it’s designed to work in small chunks. Only when compiling the WIP into Word do I see where I stand. This seems to have bitten me in the ass.

My second beta reader liked the idea and the execution but felt the story was very front-loaded. It took me 12 pages just to get to the action! The entire manuscript was 29 pages, so this is a glaring issue. It was also a surprise to me since in my Scrivener world, I had three documents broken down to about 1,100 words each that lead up to this action. Broken down, it doesn’t seem like much. Combine it all into real-world formatting and BOOM I’m dragging my feet on the story.

It was only by viewing my writing in a linear format did I see areas that needed improvement. My advantage here was having Scrivener AND Word open side by side. As I read through the WIP in Word (and staying mindful of what page I was on) I was able to make the appropriate edits in Scrivener. With just a few hours of work, that pesky page 12 action was bumped up to page 6 with some shuffling of scenes and cutting fat off the WIP as a whole. Even reading it mid-revision, I see the story is a lot tighter and significantly improved.

Sometimes we need multiple viewing angles to see what needs to be done and that requires multiple tools. While I’ll never do my primary writing in Word, I’ve now seen it can be valuable for analysis in the editing process.

So how do you change your setup and approach when shifting from the writing stage to editing? Sound off in the comments!


All Out Of Sorts


Hey CN-ers out there! Talk about a busy and unexpected day yesterday. I was going to post a few things here about writing, freelancing and most importantly progress on Spirit Hackers. I was surprised to see that my wife took an almost full day off of work (I say almost because she went in for 2 hours) and we got to spend a whole Monday off together. Luckily I had a ‘future-post’ set and you guys got some Kindle goodness to read.

The day started off planned out and then we decided to go out and get some lunch. Four hours and some shopping later…. my initial plan was shot, but it didn’t matter as I hadn’t had such a great day with my wife in a long while due to us working opposite shifts.

So…. where does this leave me and Copious Notes? Really it’s just a day behind. I had a post planned for today and plan to post that in just a few hours. I’ll work on Monday’s items for tomorrow and then I should be back on track for everyone.

I hope all your writing is going great and you are all keeping stress-free in this time of busy shopping and planning for family visits!

The Weekender: Oct 18 – 19

This weekend, I want to delve into a two-part ‘Weekender’ that I think everyone will want to chime in about: writing method. This is something that everyone who writes has an opinion about and more importantly a style they follow.

In the past with everything I have written, it has been organically. My philosophy has been ‘I don’t know what is happening in the next paragraph’ in all my writing. I literally didn’t have a clue what my characters would be doing next and I would let the story go where it wanted to go. Most of my work wasn’t read by anyone so I really never got feedback on this aspect of my writing. Additionally, I only wrote short stories or got stuff out in ‘free writing’ sessions.

Then I decided I wanted to write a novel. This desire came to me after seeing the author Jodi Picoult with my wife. Every year at the same time, she comes to a well-known bookstore in NY and talks about her latest novel. Listening to her book and seeing what was happening, awoke a sleeping beast. I thought “hey, I could do this” and the next day I began my Robert book. I had no outline. I had no plan. All I had was a very basic idea and an ending. I didn’t really care how the book progressed as long as I got from point A to point B. Looking back on it, I’m surprised I got anything down on paper. 50,000+ words later I had a book!

It was around this time that I was in a writing group and got some actual, real feedback from people who not only cared but actually knew what the hell they were talking about. Besides some classes in college where we didn’t share work with each other, I never had someone tell me how my writing was. I remember the first comment said to me as clear as day: “Let me say first that you’re writing is really good.” That was the best validation I’ve had in a long time about my writing. The next part was getting torn up with critiques, which is cool with me. This comment didn’t pump up an ego but gave me a drive to think that I could actually continue with this journey that I had started not too long previous.

Since then, the Robert book is in flux and I’m trying to learn lessons from that endeavor. In dealing with Spirit Hackers, I’ve seen that having a game-plan helps so much. Knowing at least the direction a chapter or group of chapters needs to go, helps keep me on track and I think paces the book better. Of course I won’t know this until someone actually reads it, but I have a feeling the caliber of book will be much better than the Robert book.

The bottom line is that there are tons of people who write organically and it works best for them. I am at a crossroads right now where I honestly don’t know which method I will use but this whole structured writing deal may be the way for me. We’ll address the ‘outlining method’ next time. For now, I’d love to know what you guys think.

Who the Frak Are You?

Good Wednesday C.N.-ers out there! I hope everyone is enjoying the great fall weather and ready for some interesting politics tonight with the final US Presidential Debate. I also hope you enjoyed the video review I did of the MacSpeech Dictate software. We’re not here to talk politics though today, I want to talk about something much more important….Me.

I’ve seen on various blogs that people ‘open it up to the floor’ for questions as to who they are and to know more about the person who’s blog you’re reading. I’ve wanted to do this for a few weeks and figure now is the time. So…. I put my blog in your hands to ask me anything you want to know about me. In typing up this post, I realize I haven’t given much information about myself as to who I am. I think it will be interesting and I will do my best to let you guys know what I’m all about.

Additionally, I’m open to any writing prompts you would want for me to try out or anything else to challenge me in the writing realm. I may just take you up on an offer!

So submit your questions, queries, challenges, etc in the comments section by Saturday and I’ll begin a series of posts about yours-truly. Enjoy!

The Weekender: Oct 10 – 12

It’s Friday evening and time for another analysis of the writing world for everyone out there. I first want to say thanks to everyone who posted their thoughts and comments for the inaugural edition of The Weekender and I’m glad it got everyone thinking. As always, you are welcome to post your thoughts and responses to this entry. It is through an open discussion that I hope everyone can enjoy their stay here at Copious Notes.

This week I want to talk about the economy of writing. We’re hearing so much about how the US financial sector is hurting so bad, but how does that affect a writer? I will preface this post by telling you that I have limited investments and I do not own a house. I am sure most of you are in a different boat.

So the DOW is below 10,000 in volume and we’re losing money left and right. If you are a writer, do you worry? I look at the financial situation going on and attribute it to not just poor judgment by banks and financial institutions but also poor decisions of people taking out loans and lying to themselves. If you write for a living, you may work for yourself. You’re employed by your book advance. Perhaps though you work for the NY Times or the Washington Post that is dependent on people purchasing your product. If people don’t buy the newspaper, you’re out of a job. If you publish a novel and it’s a bad economy, does that mean you need a day job?

Paying the bills is always a constant concern for everyone and I really wonder how published authors got to the point where they were able to say adios to the 9-5 and spend their days at home in front of their computer, typing up the next breakout novel. When is that jump okay to make? Can someone realistically make that jump and not fall behind in life? I also look at it backwards and wonder if there is a time a published author needs to go back to work due to hard times.

It all comes down to money. If your book doesn’t sell, what happens to your advance? I am sure that you also won’t get much of an opportunity to publish another book. The money isn’t there for you to earn. I’m sure freelancing opportunities are out there also, but if you want to write books, is that an option? There are questions abound in this facet of life that intrigue me. Perhaps one day if I make it out there in the book world, I will have answers to my questions. Quitting the day job may be an option if I can ‘make my millions’ but knowing when to make that jump is something that only time and wisdom will bring.

The Weekender: Oct 3 – 5

Hey C.N. crew! I was thinking of starting up a new series here for everyone to enjoy during the weekends. Inspired by the NY Times, The Weekender is a series where I want to talk more in-depth or critically about writing, reading, current events that are writing related, etc. I hope that by posting a critical piece, it will not only be a good read but also be a post that will inspire you guys to post your thoughts and reactions. Additionally, I hope to invite guest bloggers to come over and participate. If you feel so inclined, please feel free to e-mail me or comment and we’ll go from there. I plan on posting The Weekender on Friday afternoons and have it encompass Copious Notes for three days. As for now, I hope you all enjoy this new series. Your feedback is always appreciated and encouraged.

“The writer’s duty is to keep on writing.” -William Styron

I think Styron was onto something when he wrote this. I wonder at times why we do what we do. Why do writers write? I’ve been trying to answer this question for months and I suspect that I am far from alone in this quest for answers. At times, at least for me, the drive is motivated by different things. Sometimes I can envision my work on the bookshelf at a store and it’s as clear as a picture in front of my face. At other times, the ideas and characters are screaming to get out of my brain and onto a piece of paper. Finally, yes sometimes I do think about the financial aspects to possibly not having a day-job and getting to realistically live with my craft as my income.

I think that secretly everyone wants to be famous. Everyone follows celebrities so closely and in my opinion it’s due to living vicariously through them. We want to have that Mercedes and the large house in L.A. We want to go out and be recognized. Personally, I think being an author is the best of both worlds because we get the money and the name out there, but we can still safely go out to the supermarket and not get mobbed. For me, that could be ideal.

Why do I write? I write because I have a desire to express myself creatively and the hopes that someone would actually pay money to have it. I have a drive to get my ideas out there and have them validated. We all want to be told we’re good at something. If it’s something we can create from nothing, I think that is a bigger validation than just doing good at the day-job. I also write because I know I can write better than the average person. I am not saying this to sound conceited but I do believe that my skill in writing is a cut above the rest. I believe that most of you Copious Notes readers on on-par with me or even better. I also believe you would agree that you can write better than the average person and you have a skill that most do not.

We all have drive and desire. One interesting thing that I think about is would my hand get really tired if I was conducting a book signing? Do people who autograph things use their actual signature or do they have an ‘autograph signature’? Odd things like this permeate my brain at times and I do laugh when I think of them because they are so odd. Being notable is nice but I think the fact that legitimate success is achievable by doing what we do is the ultimate goal. Again, it’s taking nothing and making it into something special and amazing.

I often think of Dan Brown sitting at a desk with a blank Word document in front of him. At some point in his life, he was just another guy surfing the ‘net and maybe even reading the AW forums to be involved. That blank document would become the Da Vinci Code and I have amazement that his great books at one point were just Word files on his computer that no one but him saw and it lived & died on this computer’s health. Did he ever lose part of his story? Did he know what he was writing would bring him lots of success?

I write because I want many things, but I also want self-satisfaction. To say that I have written a novel gives me great pride and I know this is something that most people only say they’re going to do and never do it. I’ve done it and I’m already working on the next. These accomplishments make me feel good and I hope that I can one day share them with the world.

So you tell me….. why do *you* write?

The Impending Feedback

One of my beta readers has sent me back my manuscript for the Robert book. To my surprise, this reader left me with over 500 comments in Word! Talk about feedback! While it does seem overwhelming, this type of feedback is vital to making this book a reality and giving it the best chances when I shop it to agents later this year.

I’m at work right now and so I could only go over some of the notes and such, but I’m glad I was ready for the feedback because it’s honest. This is the best thing I could ask for and I will say it’s not harsh. I won’t lie and say it doesn’t hurt a little and it does burst my bubble but it’s reality and I am by no means a bad writer. Like everything else in life, it needs work and refinement.

One of my other beta readers gave me a sample page of suggestions and thoughts, to see what I thought. I really liked the feedback and encouraged that person to continue. So far, the feeback I’ve gotten is going to help a lot. I know that within a couple of months, the Robert book will be refined, tight, flow, and most importantly be the best Frakkin’ book it can be.

I now know and understand the feeling a writer has when they get a reality check and see their story isn’t the polished gem they thought it was. This just drives me to work harder and make it work.

PS- I still don’t have a damn title.

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