‘Writing Process’ Category
April 27, 2013 by kristin
I got the idea for my historical fiction novel five years ago after I quit my magazine editor job to work from home. I stumbled across an obscure historical incident and decided if I tweaked it a bit, it would make a good story. I wrote an outline and 15,000 words or so.
Then I got bogged down in the research. I wanted everything to be as close to the truth as possible, and I froze.
April 22, 2013 by kristin
A while back, I wrote a post on my editing process, but I forgot to mention one of the more important steps I take when I’m trying to get to a polished manuscript. I call it the Kindle edit.
First, I save my Word doc in the “Web page, filtered” format. Then I use Mobipocket Creator, a free tool, to turn that html doc into a .mobi file. There are still some formatting issues in this format, but it’s good enough to give you the effect of reading it in a somewhat published-looking format on the Kindle.
Comments Off on Book Brain
April 17, 2013 by kristin
I’m not known as a punctual person, but one area I do manage to do things on time is paying bills. That is, until recently. I completely forgot my car payment for two months in a row, until they sent me a “Hey, remember us? And here’s a late fee for ya” notice.
I blame this on two things: baby brain (the condition in which a mother is so sleep-deprived and hormone-addled that she forgets her own age and her cousin’s last name) combined with a special dose of book brain (the condition in which a writer is so obsessed with her book that half her brain is living in 1864).
Comments Off on My So-Called Final Edit
April 8, 2013 by kristin
My sister, beta reader extraordinaire, is nearly finished reading the so-called “final” edit of my manuscript, and after our enlightening discussion of it over lunch the other day, this edit suddenly seems much less “final.”
I love beta readers. Without them, I might want to cling to every boring passage of my novel, just because it had a pretty turn of phrase. I might want to be lazy and leave secondary characters undeveloped or scenes clear in my head but muddled on the page.
Okay, I wouldn’t WANT to do those things because I’m an obsessive editor, but I could convince myself they weren’t so bad.
But when a beta reader comes along and says out loud what I already knew was wrong in the back of my mind, that’s harder to ignore.
March 18, 2013 by kristin
Cross-posted from KirbyHowell.com, where I was the guest blogger this week.
I love writing, but editing comes in a close second. Very close. Writing is like mining for gemstones, but editing carves them into sparkling facets.
So when my dear friends, Dana and Jessica, who make up the writing team Kirby Howell, asked me to edit their YA novels, Autumn in the City of Angels and Autumn in the Dark Meadows, I was happy to oblige. Editing their work turned out to be not only a favor to them but to myself. It helped me develop and solidify some new editing techniques, and it drew my attention to potential problems in my own work.
I want to pass on some of what I gleaned from the process to those who might not find editing the natural delight I do. 🙂
March 13, 2013 by kristin
Some writers absolutely must listen to music when they write. Others absolutely must NOT.
I recently read an interview with historical YA novelist Ruta Sepetys in which she was asked if she listens to music when she writes. Her answer: “Never. I know a lot of writers do, but it would distract me. Music isn’t background ambiance to me. I sit and listen intently to every note and aspect.”
Ever since, I’ve been trying to figure out why I, though not a particular music aficionado, or a music talent agent by day like Ms. Sepetys, fall into the “never ever ever listen to music while writing” camp.
March 7, 2013 by kristin
I read somewhere years ago that every writer has to purge at least the first 100,000 words before she can get to the good writing of which she’s capable. That every good novelist has at least one really bad novel tucked away in a drawer or hard drive somewhere.
(Maybe it was Sol Stein in Stein on Writing who said that? If it wasn’t, he said plenty of other smart things, and I highly recommend his book.)
My really-bad-novel was a thinly disguised coming-of-age memoir, and a rambling mess with no proper plot.
Comments Off on Old House Inspiration
March 6, 2013 by kristin
I have long been an old house lover. It happened some time in childhood, when I devoured everything L.M. Montgomery at the local bookstore and wanted to live in a slanty-ceilinged nook of a room like Anne Shirley.
Several years ago, I convinced my husband we should buy a Victorian house in a tiny town off the beaten path. We lived there happily for several years, bashing out 70’s-era bathroom tile on the weekends.
March 6, 2013 by kristin
I wrote the bulk of my historical fiction novel in 40-minute chunks the summer my first baby turned one. Never a fan of sleeping, she went her entire first eighteen months of life napping exactly 40 minutes a day. The moment I heard the deep sigh that signaled she was truly asleep, I’d tiptoe-run from the room, close our creaky old-house door carefully behind me, and race to the keyboard.
Even two rooms away and with a white noise machine humming in her room, she might wake up if I sneezed or made a phone call or typed too loudly. So I worked in tense, waiting silence, typing lightly but swiftly. When the clock crept toward 35 minutes, I’d type faster, because I knew what would happen when my 40 minutes of peace were up.