Friday, March 12, 2010

Crosspost-it from my LJ: Epiphany! Albeit a little one

Thank you to those who read that very long post below, reviewing The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer, and The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley--I enjoyed both and I don't always realize how much I'm writing until I'm scrolling through it after it's posted. But if you like mid-grade, fantasy, time travel, or fairy tales (especially fairy tales in the modern world), then please read the review, because I think these two series could appeal to you.

Moving on, I posted the following to my lj the other day, and realized it would connect very well to the purpose of CoffeeQuill, i.e. sharing my process on the road to and through publication. So here it is, with a few additional thoughts afterwards.

***

Okay, so, as in geometry, there is a given. Every writer works differently. Given that, I do think it behooves writers to read a lot. Not necessarily the same genre they write, hopefully not just research, but in soem form or another, ingesting the words, the stories of others.

Last night, I was getting ready for bed, and reading a few pages in a fantasy novel by James Owen (lj coppervale), "Here, There Be Dragons." I only read about 2-4 pages, closed it at page 24 to finish getting ready for bed, and I took a moment to think about how much had happened in those first two dozen pages. In my head, I started to list the big pieces of action and after just the first, had an idea on how to improve Hounds, my faerie UF.

I've known it needed work, much like its query I could see something wasn't right,, but didn't have a firm idea on how to fix it. Now I have at least one part. Get to the park faster, and see Din's death. It won't fix everything, but the risk will be more evident right off the bat, the reader will see the danger rather than just being told it's dangerous.

Like I said, not a magic bullet, but it's a start, and it'll make the first chapter or so stronger. Already I can feel the story whittling down into a sharper, clearer form in my head. Too much is going on in it that's unnecessary, I just need to go through a hard copy and start slicing.

[This is something I knew I had to do, and was going to do it after I did the same for Harry's Skin, but now I feel like I'm in the right place mentally to view the story more objectively. I was too close to it before.] <-- The one positive point about being unpublished is that I can allow myself the time to do this, and to wait for when I'm ready to work on something.

Also, I am toying with two new story/world ideas. Well, new to me. I'm going to try and let them percolate for a while, though.

***

After I wrote and posted this, I was listening to volume 1 of the Glee albums. A line in one of the songs hit me, and though it didn't seem at all related, made me reexamine another issue I was having. I tend to populate my novels with large casts, and in this particular story, I think it's too much and at least one character, a private detective, can go. Even after mulling it over, I still haven't decided whether to keep 'Det. L' or not, but more and more I think his actions that need to be there can be attributed to someone else, and the rest can be dropped. But it's just sort of funny how part of a song can trigger an idea for a story about a completely different subject matter.

Happy writing everyone,
Sabrina

3 comments:

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Jennifer Ambrose said...

Hurray for new insight into your story! It's funny how those epiphanies can come from such random places. I find that reading other books--even if I don't like the book--can give me perspective on my own writing.

Incidentally, I loved the title and premise for Here, There Be Dragons, but ended up really strongly hating it. Would love to know what you think when you finish it!

*Happy Writing*

Sabrina said...

Absolutely. I actually prefer it (as much as you can prefer something you can't really control) when those epiphanies occur in/from a book or experience outside of your genre.

I'm still early in HTBD--I actually paused in it to read Peter & Max, a Fables novel by Bill Willingham--but I will let you know how I feel about it when I'm done. It's sad to buy a book and dislike or hate it by the end. Peter & Max though, has me thinking a lot about the balance between present action and flashbacks, since it's mostly the latter. But it works well.