Edits!

I re-read my earlier post about not writing during edits, and realized that the word “editing” covers a wide variety of tasks for me. There’s the initial quick-edit of a piece after the first draft is done, just to get in those changes I don’t want to forget. I generally think of this as finishing up the first draft. Then there’s the first round of line-edits and whatever re-writes are necessary after it sits on the shelf for a few months (if my schedule allows for it). This is what I think of as the real editing – the intensive stage where I find it very hard to be writing something new. Then there’s the final polish before sending it out.

Now, I’m entering an entirely new stage of editing – working with an editor (Holly Atkinson!) on Wandering Soul! It is extremely exciting, and I can’t wait to learn more about this part of the writing and publishing process.

I’m also excited to be returning to the world of Wandering Soul and getting to spend more time with these characters that I love so much. The foundation is laid for both sequels, with plenty of back story written out (close to 20,000 words worth!). The outlines for the next two books are nearly complete. The books occur during the same time period, with events affecting both plot lines, so I need to be sure to get their continuity straight. The second book is speeding along, and I hope to have the first draft finished sometime in February.

Now I get to see how well I can jump back and forth between editing with Holly and writing a new piece. I’m keeping plenty of notes on the sequel in case I need to shelve it at any point during the editing process. No matter what I do and learn, I plan to have as much fun with these stories as I can. Wishing you all tons of fun with your stories and characters, too!

A Season of Light, A Season of Darkness

I love that so many cultures celebrate light during the darkest days of winter. We string up electric lights, snuggle near fireplaces, and gather around the hearth to share food, drink, and stories of our experiences.

A few years ago, I realized that people often overlook the darkness surrounding them in the colder months, and the gifts it brings. Restfulness, sleep, and dreams are all helped by darkness. Sitting in a pitch-black room, the darkness is almost palpable. Without sound or light vying for my attention, my mind has a blank canvas to project perceptions onto. The inky void around me feels like it goes on forever, and my imagination ignites.

Rilke said it best:

rilke_you_darkness

Conversations with Characters

Most of the people close to me write. We all have wildly different methods for writing, varying experiences with this creative art. It is extremely fun to talk about and learn new ways I might try to approach things, or even hear about techniques that I know will not work for me.

When I’m writing, it’s like I’m watching scenes from a movie and trying to get everything I notice down as quickly as possible. We even do multiple takes if I need to figure out more of what a particular character is feeling or thinking, or if the action in the scene doesn’t make sense. Sometimes, the characters break the fourth wall, or if a scene is too intense, I’ll imagine that it’s a movie set, and I’m the director, and I’ll yell, “Cut! Great job, everyone!” and we’ll all shake it out before moving on.

I also sometimes have meetings or conversations with characters in my head. I might write them out or just let them play out in my head. Either way, it helps me learn more about them, the story, and my writing. It immerses me in the story, and keeps me excited to write it down.

What about you? Do you ever interview your characters to get to know them better? What’s your writing experience like?

Series Arcs in Miniature

My project list is long, and there are pieces I’m very excited to get started on. I’m getting closer to being ready to start the long paranormal romance series that started my love of writing the genre. And the sequel to that series!

I’m going to finish my current paranormal erotica novella series project first for a very particular purpose. It’s condensing many aspects of writing a series into a short time span, giving me a chance to sharpen skills needed in writing a series. Two of the books have overlapping action. I would much rather figure out techniques for managing that when working with 18,000 word novellas than with 80,000 word novels.

Working with shorter pieces allows me to see everything at once, to figure out where I’m missing the mark and develop tools and practices for making a series tight and entertaining. Plus, they are incredibly fun to write! Two weeks to a finished rough draft? Yes, please. And when I’m done with this series, I’ll have honed the skills I need to make the series arcs of my novels sing.

To Write, or Not to Write

I’m finding that I can either write or edit, but not both. Different parts of my brain engage for each activity. When I’m editing a piece, my critic is in the forefront. This is when she gets to do her thing. But it takes time to get her to stop when I sit down to write. The words don’t flow when she’s standing at the edge of my brain, saying, “That could be tighter. That’s a weak word choice. You’re using the same word too often.” Ugh. Helpful during edits. Not so much during a first draft.

So here is my new plan: when editing, give myself time to refill my creative well instead of continuing to pull from my reserves. Go for walks, draw, rest. It will all help prepare me for when edits are done and it’s time to write again.