Monday, January 7, 2013

Looking Forward to 2013 - Sort Of

As a writer I’m always juggling things I should be doing, and things I’d rather be doing, with things I plan to do. Writing this essay on the first day of 2013 is a good reason to give some thought to what I will be up to in 2013, as a writer.

First, there are the writer’s conventions that I should choose to attend. These are an excellent place to meet other writers, editors, publishers, and recharge ones creative batteries. They are also an excellent place to promote your own writing. In 2013 I plan to attend the same two as last year: KeyCon in Winnipeg in May, and When Words Collide in Calgary in August. Must try to get on a panel or three and do some readings. If you have never attended a conference, most cities host something similar. Get out, dip your toe in the creative water and advance that career you have always wanted to try, or the one you are already settled in. If you are a famous author your publisher will probably send you out to promote; if you are just starting out, or scratching the surface like 90% of us, do it on your own!

Then there are the actual writing projects. I still have some final editing to do on Knight’s Bridge (publication March 2013) and The Queen’s Pawn (publication April 2013) as well as get into the first round of editing for the three novellas coming out later in 2013 in the Housetrap Chronicles series. I have to admit I am not fond of editing. After reading one of my stories until I think I’ve memorized every vowel and punctuation mark, it is amazing how many errors can still be found at subsequent go-arounds. I think my foggy brain just substitutes the proper word or spelling and ignores the errors after a while.

What I really enjoy is the creative side of the business, setting out plot and breaking ground on something new. I want to discover how the story will unfold. I often know how a story will end, it is the adventures in the middle that can bring a smile or two. In 2013 I am working on the sequel(s) to The Dark Lady. They are in the hands of my beta reader right now, and when she is finished scribbling on them they will go to my editor to see if they are worthy of publication, or if it is back to the drawing board. I have also started another Housetrap novella, mainly because I have fun writing these. I can allow my creative juices to run rampant. After all, if you don’t enjoy writing ... stop immediately! In 2013 I have some other "completed" manuscripts that need another look at to decide if they are ready to go out, or must be re-worked or altered.

Which reminds me, one of the best pieces of advice I ever heard given to writers was: "finish it!" I know of budding authors who have spent years polishing the first chapter or two, and never actually finishing their novel. If you are one of those people ... Stop that right now! Sit down, write the novel all the way through to the end, then worry about polishing and correcting. I started writing longhand, then graduated to a typewriter. Believe me when I say, it is a lot more simple now on a computer to change things on that first draft than it used to be.

The Dark Lady - February 2012
Housetrap - December 2012
Knight’s Bridge - March 2013
The Queen’s Pawn - April 2013


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

All good advice.

I don't mind the editing, but you are right; we tend to substitute the correct word without catching the error. I read slowly which helps, and yet...

Jude Johnson said...

There are two things that help me try to catch those cut-and-paste errors:
1) Read it aloud to someone you trust,
and 2) start at the end and work backward.

Going to writing conferences is a great way to stimulate those creative juices as well as meet wonderful wordsmiths.


Helen Henderson said...

Writers can almost never edit themselves. We are just too familiar with the work. That's my story for how Branin became brain and I'm sticking to it. Otherwise blame it on the word processor auto-correct changing what you typed.

And if you can't bribe someone with chocolate and wine to read the story aloud to you, a text-to-speech program works great. Now if I can just find a sexy male australian accent for the program.


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

Another thing that helps is to change the font. It makes you hesitate enough to catch typos, etc.