Category Archives: Editing

Scary Stories for Writers | House Blog

Gather round, writers both young and old, for I am about to tell a tale that will chill you to your very bones…

 

Once upon a time there was a writer who had finished the first draft of her novel. She sent it off to her editor, who returned the novel with some notes. Upon reading these notes, the writer realized that there were three big problem areas that she needed to fix – one at the beginning, one near the middle, and one at the end.

The writer wracked her brain for ways to correct the problems. It required a lot of thought, but eventually she came up with fitting solutions and fixed everything that wasn’t working. After those three changes were made, she started going through the rest of the novel, working her way through other, smaller problems.

A few nights later she realized that she was nearing the end of her editing. Soon she would be finished and the novel could be sent off again. However, when she scrolled down to the bottom of her novel, she realized that something was terribly wrong. Continue reading Scary Stories for Writers | House Blog

NaNoPrepWeek | House Blog

The stars have aligned, Mercury is in retrograde*, and I’m prepping for NaNoWriMo!

I say that because this will be the first year I’ve actually done prep work for a NaNo story – and not ‘I’ve got a character name and an idea’ prep work, I mean ‘names, backgrounds, world-building, and outline’ prep work.

My first NaNo was a ‘fly by the seat of my pants’ affair, and since I managed to hit my word count I figured that this was the way to go. However, that story was also a really rough draft, consisting of many odd ramblings (when I’m desperately trying to hit a certain word count it’s almost like the ghost of Charles Dickens possesses me and I can suddenly spend paragraphs describing a lamp – good for word count, but not for content). The subsequent NaNos either had similar ramblings or failed to meet the word count**.

 

Nano-meme

Continue reading NaNoPrepWeek | House Blog

Trusting Your Brain | House Blog

Sometimes it seems like my brain knows more than it lets on.

Even when I don’t notice, it’s back there – constantly churning out story ideas, thinking about writing projects, and generally working in the background. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.

The thing that amazes me is that I think my brain is smarter than I am.

When I wrote The Six Elemental I was writing about Kit’s journey of coming to terms with being a living mythical being. It was only after I’d gone through my third draft that I realized there was an underlying theme of how outside influences can effect* how a person grows up. There’s a big difference between the person Kit is (growing up on Briton with a Humanist step-father) and the person Kit could have been (with a more accepting influence).

When I wrote The Fifth Queen (still in it’s editing stages), I was writing about a different character’s journey (plus a few familiar ones). After I’d written the first draft I realized that I’d done another parallel theme – this time, about accepting responsibility. One character accepts that they have a duty to uphold, while another character rejects it.

But I’d never thought about that when I was writing the story. That parallel hadn’t crossed my mind once while I was writing. Instead it was something that just happened to appear when I was going through the first draft.

My brain put it there because it’s smart, y’all. Maybe too smart…

So if you’re writing something and you’re not sure where your story’s going or what it’s all about, don’t worry about it. Just keep writing and eventually you’ll figure something out. Sometimes you won’t know until the end of your first draft (or maybe even the fifth), but as long as you’re telling a compelling story with interesting characters, eventually it’ll all become clear.

Trust your brain.

It knows – even if you don’t.

_______

*It’s too late** for me to care whether effect/affect is right, so this is the word I’m using. I’ll figure out if it’s wrong/right sometime maybe never.

**It’s only 11:54pm AST, so I’m not late! It’s still Sept 18th over here!

12 Hours | House Blog

On Wednesday at 1pm, I sat down in front of my computer, opened up the latest draft of the novel I’m working on*, and got to work. Other than getting up to refill my water glass, grab a snack, etc, I only took one actual break – around 8pm I took a half-hour to go get Taiyaki.

When I was finished, it was 1am. Over the past 12 hours, I had gone through the entire novel – almost 60,000 words.

Continue reading 12 Hours | House Blog

Flash Fiction Memories | House Blog

Back when I was in University I didn’t have this thing called ‘Facebook’.  No, I put off joining that for years (I still remember getting and ignoring a ton of ‘your friend is on Fb & you should join them’ emails).

Back in those days I had something better.  I had… Livejournal!

I mostly wrote about what was going on in my life and kept up with friends who were in different cities. Also, you could have .gifs as your profile picture. It was the best.

Another thing I used it for was writing drabbles, which are an early type of flash fiction. There was one group I joined called X-Men 100, where you could write drabbles about X-Men characters. Each week they’d post a word or phrase for inspiration and then you’d have 7 days to write and post something that was only 100 words long.

Continue reading Flash Fiction Memories | House Blog

Dude, Where’s My Character Sheet…? (AKA I am the worst at titles)

I have a very long To-Do List when it comes to writing projects. It’s so long that I’ve had to separate it into sub categories:

  • Ideas to develop further
  • Stories to start writing
  • Plays to start writing
  • Stories/Plays I’ve started writing and need to finish
  • Finished works I need to edit
  • What even is this idea/story/play and where is it going?

And, finally:

  • Reference binders to create

Continue reading Dude, Where’s My Character Sheet…? (AKA I am the worst at titles)

Writing marathons: Don’t take my word for it

I’m pretty excited about hosting a writing marathon in the St. John’s region this coming June. But while this is an easy sell for me, it may seem a little daunting for some. That’s why I decided to do an interview with writer Kaarina Stiff about her experiences with novel writing marathons.

Kaarina is a full-time writer and editor living in Ottawa, ON.  She has participated in three novel writing marathons and was the Young Adult category winner in the Toronto Novel Marathon in both 2015 and 2016. She was gracious enough to answer a couple of questions about the process so that I could share her experiences with potential participants. Continue reading Writing marathons: Don’t take my word for it