When I sat at my computer, staring at my manuscript for the umpteenth time, there was a part that would still hold me up every time I’d read it. It was in the first couple chapters and it slowed down the flow of the story to little more than a crawl. I had to find a way to jump my readers into the story so they’d make it past those first pages, or I’d lose them right at the start.
As writers, we all have certain tendencies. There are things that we each do when we write that should be avoided, yet we are helpless to stop ourselves from doing them. These are our crutches in writing: the things we need to look out for while editing, because we know they’ll be there. They always are.
We’ve all heard of the thesaurus. We used them in school, the old Merriam-Webster ones that could have doubled as giant door stops. Now and again, we would pick one up to try and figure out what a word meant, based on other words that could be used in its place. I know I did.
Since I began working at the library over six years ago, I have been involved in several side projects along the way. I’ve made posters for Bike to Work Day and Earth Day events; created a shadowbox fish tank with illustrations that fit over a book cart (a future post to come on this project) for Staff Development Day; and my most recent venture which had me creating a video for another Staff Day where I created sock puppets to be the actors for the story.
Fear of rejection. Putting yourself and your work out into the world is hard enough, now we have to get used to being rejected too? That in and of itself has caused many writers to stop the story they are working on to move on to other ventures.
For writers who want to go the traditional publishing route, at some point, you will need to write a query letter. A query letter is a one page letter to a literary agent or publisher, giving specific information about the project you are trying to get published.
We all have different stories to tell. Some of us stay in the realm of Fantasy, writing for kids who love to visit the worlds created in our books. Other writers stay truer to life and the reality that surrounds us.
If you are a Pantser like I am (see blog post Plotter vs. Pantser), then you are perhaps more familiar with the idea of listening to your characters. In other words, letting your characters guide the direction the story you are writing will go.
Most of us make lists for grocery shopping and reminders of things that need to be done around the house; why should your writing be any different?
Editing. The point after you’ve finished creating your manuscript when you revisit your writing to see how much more work you really have to do. Editing is taking your rough sketch, drawing in the final lines, and adding color to turn it into a masterpiece. Editing is where the magic happens in writing.