Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Aspiring Writer's Pledge

Twitter is a great way to meet new friends. I've met several writers there and have found their blogs to be helpful and motivational. Today I met Liz Allen over at Writing Mommy. She just posted a pledge for a community of writing help. This is pledge is for the entire processes - drafting, finalizing, editing, seeking publishing and (hopefully) seeing your name on the cover of your first book. Now, I'm taking this pledge too; a promise to myself and my supporters, that I will take the steps necessary to further my writing and my career in 2010.
I, _Charity Bradford__, take The Aspiring Writers Pledge to write (finish revising) a book in 2010 with the intent of publishing. I promise to update my progress weekly, ask when I need support and encourage others to complete the task at hand.

I added the revise part ;) because that is what I REALLY need to do. My last post was followed by two days of crickets chirping. I would like to say that I kept my cool and didn't let it bother me, it was after all a 1st draft from Nano '09, but I think every aspiring author would know I was lieing. There are really good days when I feel the muse whispering in my ear and I can feel confident that what I have written at least has promise. Other days reality whaps me up side the head and I realize how much work I still have to do.

The last few days have been of the discouraging sort. I love my story, and as a whole it is pretty good. It is currently at 84,844 words. Last week I deleted 2000 words worth of background information and then added about the same number of words in new "showing" scenes. At least I hope they are more show than tell. The problems are in the details--the word crafting (in spots), setting descriptions (almost non existant) and transistions (some are really choppy). My characters are real to me, but there are spots in the story that I know I have not done them justice.

Here is a list of what I feel needs to be worked on/answered before it is ready to be is a long list.
  1. Change my dragon to a female. (long story, but it will solve several pinholes in the plot.)
  2. Rewrite Shishali's dream from Talia's POV
  3. Fix the "telling" background info dumps that slow down the first few chapters
  4. The end "snowballs" so add some tension relief, perhaps with conversation or scenes to fill in the lost background that is important.
  5. What will Talia dream about once the threat of the Draguman is over? Will she continue having prophetic dreams? Can I use this to open things up for the sequel in my head?
  6. Go back through and "show" people's reaction to Talia. Instead of talking about how alone she is, how different she is, have people react to her in a way that the reader feels it without being told.
  7. Why did Jaron teach Landry some things by mind sharing, but never Talia? (this one is easy, it is one of Landry's talents, not Talia. I just need to explain it better.)
  8. Make the Draguman more of a threat.
  9. Write scene where Jaron expells the demon. (1st draft written last week)
  10. Write scene explaining how the Dragnot and Draguman made contact with each other (draft of this in 09 Nano)
  11. The dream about Shishali and Talia did not go anywhere. Should they meet? If Shishali tried to kill Talia, how would Talia survive? Win? Would she kill Shishali? How would that affect her? (I'm working on this right now)
  12. I spend three paragraphs talking about the creation of a magical counsel to help regulate the use of magic. I need to expand this section since it is very important to the sequal.
  13. There are still rough spots where the writing is almost listing...she did this and he went there...Show don't tell!
  14. Look at each scene. Why is it important? Does it have an arc? Does it move my characters forward, show change? If not, cut it.
  15. Look for and answer the "So what?"
  16. I did not cry anywhere in this book. I like to cry at least once whether it be in sadness or joy. Maybe I should work on that? There is lots to cry about in the sequel though, so maybe I don't need to cry in book one?
There are probably more things, but that list is long enough to make me want to curl up in the fetal position and suck my thumb. I think that is why I've started writing all kinds of other little stories the past month. I feel overwhelmed and incompetant.

I had hoped to end this post with positive things, but that may have to wait for tomorrow. :( There are good things about my novel, and I know that if I'm willing to put in the work it could come together very nicely. I think I'm just tired this week because unfortunately I have many "jobs" and the last week of the month is when they all dog pile me.

Tomorrow is a new day, however, and if you would like to join me in taking this writing pledge, copy and paste the pledge in your blog (Facebook, Twitter, whatever) and link back to this post and/or on Writing Mommy. Be sure to subscribe or become a follower here as well and then comment to introduce yourself so others can start following your blog as well.