Friday 24 March 2017

First Draft Completed. What Next?

Martian surface, courtesy NASA

How do you respond to your completion of a first draft of your novel? And what do you do next? Stuart Aken has been working on the second book in his Generation Mars series since 9th January and completed the first draft on 20th March with 112,061 words. He was, unsurprisingly, delighted to have reached this milestone in the creation of the story.
But, of course, this isn’t so much the end of the process as the beginning of the conversion of the raw story into a readable, publishable book. In his post on his website, he details the next stages and describes the path he expects to tread on the way to that final version of his story. With much research still to do, some considerable re-reading and a programme of known changes to make, it looks as though he’ll be busy with this project for some time to come.
The first book in the series, Blood Red Dust, has earned some high praise from reviewers, so he has a lot to live up to in this follow-up book!

So, what’s your working method and how do you approach the journey from that first draft to the finished product?

Saturday 18 March 2017

Food for Thought

As writers, we spend a lot of time thinking about the words we write, but are we *really* thinking the right things at the right level?

Hornsea Writer, Penny Grubb, takes a look at something that F Scott Fitzgerald once said about why writers write:

“You don’t write because you want to say something. You write because you have something to say”

and asks as she unravels it, if Fitzgerald is on to something that all writers ought to bear in mind.

Putting it more pragmatically (and less poetically) she suggests that if you can't sum up your novel in a sentence, then you might not be clear enough about what you are trying to write.

Saturday 11 March 2017

"Stepping" into Editing a Novel

It must be spring. Four members of Hornsea Writers are in various stages of finishing a novel. You'll be hearing about each of them in the coming weeks.

Linda Acaster has just added "The End" to Pilgrims of the Pool, the third novel in the Torc of Moonlight trilogy. But has she?

As she states on her own blog it's the draft that's finished, not the novel. A whole new side to the creative work now begins - the editing. 

If you think that entails a quick flick through with a blue pencil and an eagle-eye for spelling mistakes, you are seriously underestimating the process. On her blog Linda begins a series discussing what is involved; the opener lists the steps.

Saturday 4 March 2017

The Question: Why?

Over the past few weeks, Stuart Aken has been posing a number of questions on his website. These are not writing related but offer a change of subject and direction for both the writer and visitors to the site.
The issue here is whether these act as a distraction from the main purpose of a writer’s blog or whether they bring in new readers due to the variety of subjects raised. It’s early days yet, and no conclusion is possible. However, Stuart is persevering with the experiment, if for no other reason than it allows him to draw in opinion on subjects of interest.
Interestingly, comments are invited for these discussion topics and response rates have been quite varied. What is possibly a little frustrating from a blogging point of view is the way that responders make comments on other social media rather than on the post itself. So, for example, the latest question in the series related to religion. He posted a link to the blog post on his author page on Facebook. This was picked up by his publisher, who shared it on his own FB page. The blog post picked up 27 comments from a potential readership of 18,000, but the post on Facebook generated over 100 comments from a recorded readership of 329. This may be an intriguing insight into the motivation around commenting. Perhaps those who commented via FB hoped and intended that their friends would see and respond to their comments, whereas those who made their comments on the blog were content to have only the specific followers of the blog notice their remarks. Who knows? One thing has become clear, however; the nature of the questions has actually increased the numbers following the blog.
Stuart will continue this occasional activity to encourage discussion of topics both trivial and serious. So far, there have been just 3 such questions posed, under the generic title of ‘I’d Like to Know: Why?’.
The list runs as follows: #1 Why Make it Hard for thePostman? #2 Why Do They Keep Terminal Sufferers Alive? #3 Why Are We Requiredto Respect Religion? Click on the titles to reach the appropriate posts.

What’s next? Well, you’ll have to follow the blog by clicking here to discover that, as Stuart produces these items on impulse, rather than in a planned manner.