recently renewed sense of purpose and a desire to write I've decided to give that story an overhaul and again work toward seeing it published. So, if for extended periods of time I disappear from creating brilliant and witty blog posts that manuscript's my excuse for absensce.
Last week I stuck with my goal of 7 hours/week of writing time; I hit just over 7.5 hours. This week I've done less blogging and a lot more of just knitty gritty nitpicking at my drafted novel. I did previously have the manuscript read over by a professional editor (thanks to my supportive parents), but besides the actual grammatical and spelling errors which have already been brought to my attention, I want to give the whole thing a makeover.
Here's my current plan (someone see that I stick to it, please):
- Reread my entire manuscript through, like I would a book written by another author, trying to judge it objectively. (As I am reading through I am taking notes and jotting down potential ideas and edits, but for the most part I am trying to read it with the eyes of a young adult reader)
- Actually make change & polish it up to its very prettiest
- Publish (right now looking into self publication methods as a starting point)
- Passive voice over active. I made the mistake of greatly overusing a passive voice, rather than one of action (Example:"She began to think" or "He was starting to" versus "She thought" and "He started"). Not only does passivity unnecessarily bulk up my word count, it also sort of drags the story along at a slow pace. I want to rewrite all those points in the story to accelerate the overall flow and drive the story with more force.
- Too much internal dialogue. The story is written in the third person omniscient form of narrative, meaning the reader has insight into the character's -mainly the protagonist's- thoughts and emotions that the other characters do not. You, the reader, are all knowing, while the characters, like us in real life, cannot see into anyone else's minds. Nothing's wrong with that form of narrative and I will still be using it, but I want to lessen my use of literal written out thought processes going on in my main characters head. I sloppily overused "she thought to herself" type moments to reveal the plot; I would rather the plot be shown as it unfolds in a natural way, not told. Reader's are smart. If it's well written, they will figure out what I want them to see without being told to pay attention.
- General laziness in description. I don't want to just tell a reader something about a place or character and then just move right along. I want to make a reader feel and see and known things, like they are there experiencing them. Again, showing, not telling.
- Arbitrary and unnecessary fantasy. I write fantasy, therefore it's fantastical. I don't have to play by the rules of the real world, and that is fun. However, it can also be a crutch. I have a couple instances where major problems are "magically" solved because, hey, it's a fantasy book and I make the rules (Not from my book, but a hyperbolic example would be something like "Oh darn, here is a locked door and we need to get in now! Wow just so happens I have a mystical key which can transform itself into the shape of any lock in my pocket, and I failed to mention it up until now"). Sure, it can be fantastical, but it needs to make some sense within the story line or I will lose all credibility. Can't just be pulling my "fantasy card" left and right if I want my story to be taken seriously.
- Any cliche. Fantasy is a genre that has been done and overdone, but fortunately it can always be made fresh. While I am adhering to a rather "typical" good versus evil type plot with a female heroine of the "chosen one" type persona, I want my story to be new and still unpredictable.