The past few weeks I’ve been pushing on word count on the Green Acres 1 novel to the detriment of the fact that I haven’t gotten my ACFW Genesis contest entries in yet. Deadline is ticking!
I’d had both sets of pages critiqued in January but I’ve mostly ignored the results until the past ten days, when I’ve been trying to snatch bits of time to tighten the entries based on my partners’ inputs. One of the things I’m good at noticing in other peoples’ writing is that an opening scene with only one character in it is a difficult sell. There just seems to be too great a propensity for ‘navel-gazing’–inward thinking–in this type of scene.
So what had I done? Tried to limit the length of the opening scene in which my character was alone. Made sure she did things instead of just sitting around thinking. But the result was the same: a lack of dimension.
Chopping out that scene hurt like crazy. I LIKED it. But you know, it needed a good change-up. I brought in a secondary character to interact with my heroine and instantly she got more purpose for being there. Now to go back over the scene and tighten again. Thankfully much of the second scene can stay put!
What are your writing pet peeves that you find in your own writing when you least expect them? What are your rules for getting a story off to a quick start?
I write in reverse, or warm-up mode. Whatever I write first, just needs to get deleted, and then I start with the second paragraph. Or if I cut the first sentence of a paragraph and start with the second, it's strong. I'm learning to be more aggressive and to just dive into the major stuff.
I'm learning aggression, too, Dawn. But still I keep hoping that I can LEARN to write more cleanly first draft. Seems to be an urban myth!
Then you're censoring your muse, aren't you? And if you try to control what's coming out, you might be losing something. I know we want to improve, but there's something about improving what can come out wihtout thinking about it, hence no censoring, and keeping the crap at bay which takes us out of "output" mode.
Have you been keeping up with Holly's Talysmana? I'm actually pleased to find her typos and sentence fragments and missing punctuation. It makes me feel better about the things that come out in my first drafts.
I don't know, maybe I'm still a beginner. 😀
I prefer to think of it as trying to teach my muse to be more efficient. No? You're not buying that? 😛
No, I haven't been following Talysmana. I'm too busy following myself in circles, seems like.