Thursday, September 01, 2011

Things I've learned after writing this book...

Once again in honor of Molly and her love of lists I thought I would put together a list of everything I learned from writing this last book. Which if I prevail will be turned in after this weekend. (I always ask my editor for that extra weekend – this time I was super sneaky because it included a holiday.)

1. A book is easier to write when you are writing consistently every day or every other. When I take breaks between writing chunks… it’s disjointed and sucky.

2. Writing for an hour consistently every day allows for more pages than trying to do major chunks of time only on the weekend. I will commit my mornings to writing. I will. (Damn you double alarm clock which always gives me an out…)

3. I can’t start a sentence without And or So. I must also include the word “that” and “just” in every sentence. It simply is what it is. Thank goodness for Find and Replace.

4. I believe 20 percent of my sentences are fragments and I have a passion for the “…”.

5. My favorite parts of writing are the spontaneous things which come out. Not brainstorming, not executing a chapter the way it appeared in my head, not editing it certainly. It’s the things which go where I didn’t know they were going, which surprise me, which make me ask - Where in the hell did that come from? - which excites me the most. I never realized that until this book.

6. I’m too linear. I can’t get far enough away from the book to pick out the big things I got wrong. I can’t move chapter 11 to chapter 2 or insert chapter 2 ½ between chapters 2 and 3. Thank goodness for my editor.

7. Thinking about GMC actually helps. Funny story… I had no idea what that acronym stood for. Molly sent it to me in an email regarding a book I had asked her to read. I was like what the heck… oh no – I bet it’s one of those writer terms everyone should know. It was. Thank goodness for Google.

8. I need a little pressure when writing. Not a lot of pressure. I could never do a twenty four hour writing marathon. But sometimes I like to wait for the last moments because it lends a sense of urgency to the writing. I’m still putting my book together, still waiting for the word count to add up and I still have the final scene I need to write. I have to give it another read, then more editing. All of that in a handful of days. I think it makes me more focused.

9. I did not think I could write a book without killing someone. I was right. Someone in the book always has to die.

10. … I’ve run out but I wanted to have a 10 things listed.

And that’s it. So just what are the things that you learn too….

(See what I did there.)

3 comments:

Eileen said...

1. Totally true. Totally. I think the more consistently I write, the more consistently my subconscious is working on the book, too. Plot problems are being solved, dialogue is being written and layers are being added even while I"m doing dishes or editing investigator reports at my day job.

3. Oh, just just just. Every freaking frakking sentence. It's always there. I just hate it!


6. I'm not nearly linear enough. I know things need to happen, but I don't know when.

4. I've become way too fond of the double dash.

5. I had a moment like this yesterday! It was awesome!

7. Thinking about GMC can stall me from writing for days.

Sinead M said...

consistency is so important for me as well. And who doesn't love a great sentence fragment?

Me, I write unfinished scenes, and once I've figured out the way a book unfolds, I have a hard time re-imaginining it another way, so I really have to work harder on getting it right the first time.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Oh my god - this disjointed book is KILLING ME!!! Or maybe it's the burnout Sinead was talking about - whatever it is I know the giant break i've taken right in the middle of the book is going to kick my behind once I sit down to start working on it again. kick. my. behind.

All of my sentences start with he and she - I am a bad writer. Miss you guys.

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