for February, 2014

7 stages of rewriting a novel.

February 28, 2014

I have an announcement to make: I just finished (re)writing Martyrs (again)! I started rewriting the book a few months ago, and due to a few factors–one being work and another being that even rewriting a book is hard fucking work–I didn’t manage to finish when I’d hoped I’d be able to finish. C’est la vie. As it stands, I’ve done enough rewriting to recognize that there are distinct “stages” in the process. One: The Decisive Stage. The first and one of the most uncomfortable stages of rewriting is deciding you need to rewrite. I knew I had to do a rewrite for a while, but I didn’t “decide” to do one until about two weeks before I started, mostly because the idea of rewriting a 100,000 word novel is borderline terrifying. Usually, the Decisive Stage comes about because of a big revelation about your writing or a massive scene change that requires a rewrite and more or less takes […]


When writers should blog.

February 27, 2014

A friend of mine is a freelance journalist in the Austin area, and he posed a question to Facebook the other day: why do writers who blog feel like it’s important? He was considering starting a blog himself, and while I’m usually on the “writers should blog” train, there are exceptions. Not all writers really should blog. In fact, only writers who want or need to accomplish certain goals really need to bother with it. Here’s the thing, there are plenty of writers out there who do not need to create a personal blog. Writers who are already write all the time, for example, may not need to. Writers who are so busy with their writing careers they can’t afford to lose the time to personal writing, as well. Many writers don’t see the point in spending so much time building a blog when it takes so long for a blog to really pay off (it really does–building a successful, […]


The little details: why we let them hold us back.

February 26, 2014

Yesterday, I had a lot of conversations about outlining. For one, my critique partner is going to start outlining her next novel soon, and I’m always there to offer encouragement (and to try to talk her out of killing off my favorite characters). Additionally, a friend of mine and I were discussing how getting caught up on details can not only slow a story down, but totally derail it. That got me thinking about my outlines, my stories, and how I got to where I am today. That sounds super cheesy. Let’s start again: When I talk about outlining, I usually discuss three certain key advantages: outlines keep the story consistent, the characters realistic, and the flow smooth. What I don’t often talk about is the added advantage of an outline that is actually one of the main reasons I began outlining Martyrs to begin with: it makes sure you don’t lose steam when you’re working on your project. That […]


Cleansing the marketplace.

February 25, 2014

Yesterday two of my Facebook friends asked for my opinion on an article that makes a few extraordinary claims: one, that adults should not read or enjoy a book series written for middle-grade and young adults (Harry Potter); two, that JK Rowling should “keep writing for kids” or her “personal pleasure,” but that she’s had her turn for the adult market and should leave it alone; and three, that JK Rowling is responsible for why so many new writers can’t get found on bookshelves because she’s taking up so much attention by writing for a new genre. I’ve written an article already about JK Rowling’s writing–one that pretty much makes the exact opposite claim the woman who wrote the above article made. I don’t want to see JK Rowling confined to children’s books. I don’t want to see JK Rowling confined to the Harry Potter universe. I want to see JK Rowling stretching her wings and exploring other genres, other […]


Writing Exercise: To be or not to be?

February 24, 2014

In rewriting Martyrs (five chapters away! Woot woot!), a lot of what I’m doing is simple. Sure, in the first half of the book I did a lot of major revamps of certain scenes and chapters, but for the second half, the half that was already more or less on par with what I wanted the plot to be, I mostly tweaked the writing to make it stronger. In the chapters I rewrote today, I focused a lot on tightening language. I noticed myself using a lot of verb phrases that include the words “was and were” (or any other form of “to be,” really). Think of it like this: “Dane was walking down the alley toward her,” or “They were speaking quietly amongst one another.” These are “to be” verb phrases, or verb phrases where the auxiliary verb is a form of “to be.” “To be” verbs include is, was, am, are, and were. This is commonly mistaken for […]

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