Sunday, December 23, 2012

Plot Points, Characterization, Descriptions, Oh My!

For the last year I have been doing everything I can to improve my writing.  This included starting a critique group with a friend (that has improved my writing more than I ever imagined)  Then we added Pen duels, where I send out two prompts, and everyone picks one and writes a short story (there's always rules to follow).  When we're all done writing we get together and read them out loud then give feedback.

All of these things are awesome, of course.  Every exercise we do helps me in some way or another, and as a result I find that my first drafts are getting better and better.  The biggest problem that I seem to be having now is that getting the book to a second or even third draft is far too difficult. And I think I know the reason.

I have been spending so long working on my writing (which isn't a bad thing, by any means) that I haven't worked on my editing skills at all.

Okay, I'm not horrible at editing.  I catch most of the mistakes, but I think the biggest problem I have is that I don't know how to find everything that needs fixing.  I need to figure out how to determine exactly what needs fixing in order to have my editing go better.

My solution: Get books on editing.  No, I haven't done it yet, but it's going to happen (right as soon as I have money again, which is definitely going to be after Christmas.)  I can't wait to get my hands on one and see what other ways I can edit to make what I'm doing more effective, and hopefully to cut down on the amount of time I'm spending on it.

So, this year I have a couple of goals (why would I want free time anyway?  That's just boring...):

1) Edit 4 complete novels!! (Hence the need to cut down on the time editing)
2) Participate in April's Camp Nano session (script with friends)
3) Complete all of the exercises in 'The 3 A.M. Epiphany' (201 exercises)
4) Participate in July's Camp Nano session (novel)
5) Write at least one novel not during Nano
6) Write 300k in November (One epic fantasy novel)
7) Attend WWC in August
8) Attend SIWC in October
9) See my boyfriend at some point...

Okay, I don't know if all of these are going to happen, but let's see if I can try!  All exercises I do from 'The 3 A.M. Epiphany' will be posted.  Either on my blog, or on my website (which is another goal for this year).

Do you have any goals for this year?  What's something that you need to work on when it comes to your craft?


  1. Well I know for me is that I want to finish the novel I'm currently working on, and start editing it like crazy. I know for me, I need to work on my editing skills as well, which is why I want to get some editing books just like you do. Did you get Angela Ackerman's book "The Emotional Thesaurus" at the WWC last August. It helps with expressing your characters without using dialogue, which I find helpful for me, since I like dialogue a lot. Anyway, I hope you have a lovely Christmas.

  2. To start off I want to say Happy Holidays!

    Like you my editing skills are something to be desired at least towards my own work. For some reason I have no problem editing other people's work. I'm thinking of getting books on editing as well, I already have a couple already and they do help when I remember to use them.

    As for goals I would have to say that my top 2 are finishing my novel (the one from the past NaNo) & having it edited by the beginning of October, so I can work on the second book next November.

  3. Dustin: I do have The Emotional Thesaurus, and I love it. I just need some really good books for editing.

    CLV: Thanks ^^ Yeah, editing is tough, and I think we all need to kind of learn how to do it, you know? Anyway, good luck with your goals! I know you can do it!