Posts Tagged ‘writing books’

Already Distracted

So, yesterday, my spouse woke up and was extremely upset about his lack of camping and specifically backpacking this summer. And I said, “Look, we’re super busy this month, so the only day we have to go is, well, today.”

So guess who had to go backpacking out of nowhere yesterday.

(Also just after we booked the campsite we got a freak hailstorm, which shredded all our plants and also flooded our basement, so we got out of here late to go backpacking. Yesterday was…something.)

So we talked Wednesday about World’s Edge being done finally, and how now I need to either revise Book One or outline/write the novella I owe Turtleduck Press or both.

And then I proceeded to do neither.

One because choices are hard, but, two, because I have two writing books out from the library. You see, a month or so ago I was going through some list of recommended writing books, and I thought I might actually read some of them.

But not now, no, that would be crazy.

So I put some on my To Read Later lists on my library card, or downloaded some samples to my Kindle, but there were two that my library did not have/were not available on the Kindle, so I decided to request these through my state’s Interlibrary Loan program, with the idea they would show up at some point but probably not soon.

(It’s been a year on my request for The Man Who Was Thursday. I know it’s still in the system because I check with the librarians periodically.)

So of course they came immediately.

They are The Story Grid, which is a revision technique, and a book called Plot Perfect, which is about plotting, as the name implies.

Now, the issue with Interlibrary Loans is that you get a single renewal. Six weeks and then they go back from whence they came, do not pass Go, do not collect $200. And from last year when I was attempting to read a writing book a month, I know that it is not fast to go through a writing book. You have to sit and absorb them, or sometimes do exercises. You have to try out the content, or what is the point?

Anyway, I’ve started working through The Story Grid. It proports itself to be a system that allows you to pinpoint what’s wrong with a story so it can be fixed in revision, which sounds like a lovely idea, and maybe will be helpful with my Book One revision.

I’ve mostly just made it through the set-up part of the book (because backpacking) but hopefully we’ll get into the process here soon. I admit to being a bit skeptical that this or any system is going to be able to pinpoint exactly what’s wrong, but here’s hoping!

My revision process works pretty well in general, but I’ve already run Book One through it once, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to try something new.

So, it’s kind of like I’m working on my revision? Very kind of.

But it does throw a wrench into things, because I do still need to get to my novella and if I’m going to try out a new revision technique, it may mean that it’ll be longer before I can switch projects. I mean, you don’t want to stop something new in the middle. That way lies madness.

Sigh. Dang it, occasionally efficient library system.

Have you tried the Story Grid technique, squiders? Thoughts on stuffing both projects into my schedule?

Also I just realized we’re less than a month from MileHiCon. Oh no.

No, no, I’ll worry about that next week.

Hope you’re having a lovely weekend!

Learning to Write

Over lunch this past weekend, my stepmother mentioned to me that she’d been talking to someone in college who had decided he wanted to be a writer and wanted some advice on becoming one.

Well, there’s really only one way to become a writer. You have to write.

You can read writing books, take creative writing courses, and plan out stories all you want, but until you sit down and start writing on a regular basis, it’ll never happen.

You may understand, on some level, how putting together a story works, but until you try it yourself, you won’t get it. And sure, some of the stuff at the beginning will probably be terrible. You may look back in five years and want to burn everything.

As Stephen King said, it takes a million words of crap before you get any good at it.

So, if you want to be a writer, just start writing. You don’t need an English or a creative writing degree. (Some people even say that you shouldn’t get a creative writing degree if you want to write fiction, but your mileage may vary. I have two engineering degrees so I have no opinion on the matter.) You don’t need to read every writing book known to man (of which there are more than you can read in one life-time anyway) – and you shouldn’t, anyway, since they don’t work for everyone. You don’t need to deconstruct your favorite novels to see what makes them tick.

What you need to do is be able to sit down and complete a story, start to finish, without getting bogged down by details and frustrations that can be fixed in rewrites.

If you want to be a writer, write.

End of story.