Posts Tagged ‘Kit’s shenanigans’

Obligatory Nanowrimo Post 2015

Ah, Squiders. It’s October. Best month of the year, of course, for many reasons, but it being October means it’s almost November. And November means Nanowrimo. And so October, these days, also means getting bombarded by Nano everywhere you look if you are a writer.

I do mean everywhere. Oy vey. And I apologize for adding to the madness, but I’ve had a bit of a headache and blog post topics are scarce at the moment.

(I got an email this morning from a woman who runs writing groups out of the local library about Nano prep, and she mentioned she’d done Nano five times, and I was like, “Well, I’ve done it eleven” and then I figured it was time to get off the internet.)

(If you’re interested in previous Nano adventures, feel free to search the “nanowrimo” tab here on the blog.)

(Also, the reason why there’s a year in the title is because I suspect I’ve already named a previous years’ entry this.)

(Help! I’m trapped in parenthetical phrases!)

Freedom!

Anyway. My Nano news this year is that I’m not doing Nano, so if you are sick of Nano stuff, after this entry you’ll be safe until next year.

Unlike 2013, where I waffled back and forth about whether or not I was going to participate since I had a book release on Dec 1 (2013 was the first year I missed since I started in 2003), I’m sure about this point. 2013 taught me that it was okay not to participate if it didn’t align with my current writing goals.

I’ve got a completed draft due to editors on Dec 1, so while I might feed off Nano to make sure things get done (I’ve got ~25K left to do, though I hope to have less by the time November hits), I’m not going to do it in any formal sort of way.

What about you, Squiders? Nano, yes or no? Sick of seeing it everywhere, or does that get you raring to go?

Story Soundtracks

My first ever novel attempt was in middle school.  I started a few more in high school (the longest, I believe, is 18 pages) but I would always get bored and wander off in the middle, or frustrated by something, or what have you.  I took a few years off for my senior year and the beginning of college, and then began what I like to call my Adult Writing Career in 2003.

That being said, I didn’t really become a writer, someone who more or less was working on writing projects year round, until the beginning of 2006.  At that point I was in slogging through the middle of the first draft of a middle book on a trilogy and was in desperate need of inspiration, so I started joining writing communities on the internet.  And I came across the idea of listening to specific music when writing – of having a writing soundtrack.  I picked up songs from different places and tried them out (Paperback Writer by the Beatles continues to be a favorite) but nothing was really working, so I assumed I needed silence to write and moved on.

Flash forward to the beginning of 2007 when I discovered a new genre of music – symphonic metal.  I fell in love and started listening to it exclusively, and I discovered that, if I was listening to it while I was writing fantasy, it was a huge source of inspiration.  As time has gone on, I’ve discovered different genres work better for different projects.  Hard rock works better than symphonic metal if I’m writing grittier stories.  Eurodance is fantastic for editing. 

But then, when I was working on a project late in 2008, I discovered that not just the genre, but songs themselves occasionally jump out and match a story.  I found a few songs for that novel (most notably Velvet’s Mi Amore) that seemed to fit things perfectly, and sometimes playing them when I was stuck would help.

Now I’m working on a trilogy (and have been for awhile – on and off since 1998 – which was high school for those keeping track – and more seriously since 2004) and somehow I’ve ended up with an entire soundtrack.  Not just a few songs here or there, but ones specific to characters, ones specific to relationships, some specific to certain books.  I can’t really explain it – I don’t know if I listen closer to songs now when I hear them, or if it’s just an intuition thing – because often times a song I’ve heard a dozen times will suddenly click into place.  Whatever the reason though, it is fantastic.  By taking the songs in the soundtrack and playing them together or in different combinations, I actually get flashes of scenes.  I get dialogue and action and even the odd plot point.

I don’t know if it’s just this story because I’ve been working on it so long, or if it’s a skill I’ve been developing, but it’s definitely been a huge help.  Plotting out one book is hard enough – a trilogy with multiple arcs needs all the help it can get.

(For the curious – here’s a handful of songs from the soundtrack:
Within Temptation – What Have You Done Now
Dreamtale – Between Love and Hate
Skillet – Awake and Alive
Cascada – Can’t Stop the Rain
Linkin Park – What I’ve Done)

Editing Process

Each author’s editing process is as individual as their writing process is.  Here’s mine.

Step 1.  Write a book.  (This takes anywhere from two to ten months depending on genre, how much I actually know about what I’m making up, and whether or not my day job is trying to kill me.)

Step 2.  Secure readers.  (I know some people don’t like people to read their first drafts, but I don’t like to edit without knowing if I’m missing major plot issues that I am blind to.)

Step 3.  Create Master Copy. (see picture)  I hate editing on the computer.  I hate reading on the computer, for that matter.  So I always print out the draft and bind it.  This costs somewhere between $15 to $30 depending on length of book, what you’re using for the cover (I prefer vinyl over card paper), and what kind of binding you get.  (For the love of all that is Holy, do the coil.  It’s more expensive but it’s so worth it.)

And you may call me Mistress Kit.

Step 4.  Put all reader comments INTO the Master Copy.  Hence the name Master Copy.  I try to color code my readers.  If they’re responding to specific lines, I’ll put their comment right next to it.  Plot comments get put where I’ll remember to do something about it.

Step 5.  Read and free-edit on Master Copy.  Basically this entails me reading the story and leaving comments as they occur to me.  It’s more of a readthrough than a true edit.

Step 6.  If any major rewrites are needed, I’ll do them at this point.

Step 7.  Print out another copy of the story.  (The poor trees.)

Step 8.  I go through, chapter by chapter, and edit.  Editing at this point includes a readthrough with comments, then the cutting/rearranging/rewriting portion.  Then I reference the Master Copy to make sure I haven’t missed anything major that myself or one of my readers has noted.  I then do a polish on the chapter, make any notes of things that affect other chapters (usually in the chapters in question in the Master Copy), and move on to the next.

Step 9.  After I finish the entire book, I do another readthrough and fix anything (hopefully minor things) that I missed during my in-depth edit.

Step 10.  Find readers (hopefully a mix of people who read the first draft and people who did not).

Step 11.  Repeat steps 8-10.

At this point I start the submission process, but that’s a topic for later posts.

What’s your process?