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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Readers Wanted

Say it with me... Nine Thousand Words! 

I thoroughly enjoyed myself the last couple weeks as I have hit my stride while writing this fight scene.  It has been a lot of fun to visualize the actors in the scene and to describe it along the way.  In the process, not only did I finish the scene, I hit another milestone, passing 9000 total words.

Now, I'm nearly ready for friends to start reading.  I will read through the scene over the next few days do a first pass of editing.  I want to make sure it sounds right to me.  I also want to format it into something that can be read easily on a computer or e-Reader.  After that, I will package it up and post it to the blog here for anyone to read through and give me feedback.

What kind of feedback should I ask for?  There are a few items that concern me most. 

First, is the scene enjoyable?  This is key obviously. 

Second, does the scene flow cleanly?  I want the pace to be consistent and not get too slow anywhere.  I hope that there is a sense of action and urgency in the pacing of the scene.

Should grammar be a focus at this point?  I know I use the passive voice a lot, and I try and rewrite passive voice sentences.  Any other grammar pitfalls you might point out would be helpful.

What other types of feedback should I request from my readers? 

Your comments are appreciated!  Please feel free to post below.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Too Busy Writing!

I realized today it has been nearly a week since I last blogged, so I need to get something up here.

I don't have a whole lot to discuss this week.  The problem is, I've been too busy actually writing!  I broke the 7000 word barrier (as those who follow me on twitter already know *wink*) this week as I've been continuing to flesh out this battle.

I am still surprised by the number of words devoted to this one particular scene.  I'm still not done, and can easily see another 1000 to 2000 words devoted to it.  It's already over 3200 words as is (10 pages, 8x10 with generous margins and spacing between paragraphs). 

My plan at this point is to finish the scene before I go back and do anything to change it.  I haven't even read it through myself.  Once it is done I will see if it flows well.  I will also send it out for others to read and give feedback. 

My assumption is a book should start out around 100,000 words.  It has been very uplifting to think I'm already nearing 1/10th of that goal.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Getting Over It

I rewatched the Lord of the Rings movies this week.  As I watched, I was reminded and struck by the amount of detail and complexity J.R.R. Tolkien wrote into his books (and some of the more interesting and complex characters and side stories were even left out of the movie!).  I am very tempted to pick the books back up and reacquaint myself with Middle Earth.

I get down on myself as I try and write my own "epic fantasy."  I struggle at the selection of every word along the way; worried that what I write will fall flat.  As I've mentioned before, this over-critical nature does nothing to help me reach my goals.

I remind myself that I am not J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, R.A. Salvatore, J.K. Rowling, or any of the other great fantasy writers I look up to (though as a side note, I wonder if I need to change my writing name to J.R. Potnick?).  This story should stand on its own if it's worth writing at all, right? 

I guess it leads me to wonder, what standard should I be trying to write toward at this stage? Obviously, I look to other writers for inspiration, but if I keep trying to write at their level, I assume I am dooming myself to failure.  Plus, if I try and write like them, the writing comes out forced and inauthentic.

Why do the answers seem so simple to explain, yet so hard to act upon? I can tell myself that over and over, yet I continue to sit down and stall out. I write a sentence, hate it, erase it, and repeat.  Constructive writing sessions are much farther apart than I hope for.

Do other writers feel this way?  Is that what the editing process is supposed to be for? 

Thank you all for reading my wanderings from time to time.  I have found that asking questions eventually leads to answers!

Don't forget - follow me on Twitter - @Ryndaria

Friday, February 10, 2012

First Milestone and First Battle

I spent the last week on a business trip to China.  Before I went, I decided I needed a goal for the story while I traveled.  There would be 30+ hours of airplane rides and many hours of downtime in a hotel for the week.  I wanted to make sure I would stay focused and make time to write.

My goal was simple - break the 5000 total word barrier.  The goal was designed to be simple and attainable.  I've been struggling getting words typed out, so I wanted a decent target in front of me to work toward.  Before the trip, I had about 3500 words already written, so it meant getting about 1500 words down.

Well, I can let you all know that the goal was achieved during the flight home!  I have attached a screen shot showing 5014 words total written!  I'm pretty excited about the milestone.  It is already motivating me to keep writing.

I decided I would focus in on one particular scene for the majority of the writing for the week in order to reach the goal:  my first fight scene.  I began by mapping out the battle on paper.  I drew the combatants and their positions at various points in the fight in an attempt to choreograph the whole thing. 

It was actually very helpful to draw it all out before writing it down.  It helped me visualize where each character is and how they each move throughout the fight.  It is easier to describe what is going on now that I have a picture to work from. 

In the scene, Trezl and four companions encounter a new type of enemy.  As they fight, they have to deal with an unexpected twist, further complicating the fight. 

Honestly, I'm really nervous about writing it all down.  I hope the words flow so the whole thing feels compelling and exciting to the reader.  I'm also a bit surprised at the length.  It is taking a lot more words than I expected.  I'm up to about 1000 words for the fight and it is just really beginning.  I hope that it does not feel too drawn out or overwritten.

I hope to finish it in the next week or two and share it with some of you to let me know what you think.