thinkinglazy

Aspiring author and random thinker

Tag Archives: novel

On Writing: language and syntax feedback observation

I started reaching out to people to read and review BoK:SoU, some of them just samples and other the entire book, and I got a few responses so far. Because of not having gotten the book edited – a grave mistake which I intended to do to test something I will share later – there were a decent amount of spelling and grammatical mistakes, mostly oversights.

Now here’s the fun part, I’ve been studying quite a bit during the past few years and writing a shit-load of reports. When you edit a dozen pages or so, its easy to peal through each word and make sure it conveys exactly the meaning you want, thus in that case you can reduce such mistakes to none, or a mere few, during an entire paper with little effort.

With creative and long writing, however, it’s not as simple a task as it takes time and is extremely boring, especially when you get to the fifth edit. Naturally, some mistakes here and there sneak in, and naturally you’re overwhelmed with grammar, characters, story development and other aspects of the book.

So that’s why it’s important to get an editor if you’re serious about it. Even better if you get two.

Going back to the grammar mistakes that were picked up by the readers. Just going through the latest edit, in the first chapter, I picked up some debatable mistakes, which you can blame on style or so, and a few complex grammar mistakes, namely the ‘Past Perfect’, which very few people use accurately, especially Americans for some reason.

None of the reviewers picked up a single ‘complex’ tense rule error, let alone a ‘simple’ tense rule error, while they seemed to be enraged by the other simple typos (Eg: leapes instead of leaped). Now I find that ironic; grammar Nazis don’t seem to mind the mistakes in the rules they don’t know!

PS: I am grateful for those who point out the mistakes and only wish that everyone would be as constructively critical. If I conveyed any negative tone during that post please know that I had no such intention.

On Writing: Book III

The second book is undergoing a final revision and should be ready to publish within two weeks, if not sooner. However, I can’t sit idle while this little process goes on. So I decided to prepare the third book – which I had planned in my head for a while now.

I’ve learnt a great deal from my first two stories, and from two dozen short stories which yet remain to be published, but I don’t expect any of my work to be of high-enough standard for traditional publishing (I read somewhere that once you reach your 1,000,000th word you start writing well enough for traditional publisher standards – I am at my 300,00oth word so far).

Anyway, this post is not about publishing, rather about the process I am using for this third book.

Anyone who has been reading my posts so far knows that I am currently focusing on epic fantasy, yet reading a wide spectrum of genres. Nevertheless, I believe that my process is not tailored to the genre, except for the map-making process which helps me keep track of the events.

I picked an approach very similar to that of the third part of the second book, a fairly detailed modular outline which includes most major elements of the story. The outline serves as a guideline for the story, but I often deviate from it should a better scenario or idea arise. The modular approach is great for keeping the writing process interesting and making it amiable enough for any future ideas that might develop. It also allows for a chance to alter the story to a more interesting direction than the intended one and keep it coherent in terms of events.

For example, I have already prepared the outline for the first part (5 chapters) of the book and started writing the story (4,000 words so far). However, while I was working on the writing process itself, after the initial and only intended outline was complete, I found that the sub-chapters would make more sense if juggled around.

The outline itself is split into two parts for each chapter. The first is a clear bullet-point format for the following (6) elements, the goal of the chapter, the idea I wish to convey (I try to conform to a short-story format during the chapters to always have a distinct idea to convey at the end of the chapter – usually political or philosophical), the requirements necessary for the accomplishment of the goal, the methods by which the goal is to be completed, the conditions required for the fulfillment of the goal, and any key explanations I intend to convey (these are usually elements occurring in the timeline which do not directly stem from the actions of the main character/s). The second part is a summary-like version of the sub-chapters (I usually number the events by their sequence). With the combination of these two outline elements, I get to breeze through the story writing a possible 1,000 or 2,000 words an hour, depending on the mood. However, the outline itself takes a day to finish for each part and an additional day or two to revise.

Finally, I decided to skip the dramatis personae because, unlike the second book, there are a few new main characters. Nevertheless, I keep a short one prepared to record any necessary information about the characters as I write. For this book, I work on the dramatis personae preparation process in parallel to the writing process.

To make things clear, I have no idea how long this book will be, nor do I have any idea how it will end. All that I know now are the main idea I wish to convey, the theme of the book, and the events for the first part. These three ‘known’ variables you just read are all prone to change within limits, especially the main idea that I tend to downgrade and replace as soon as a better one comes up.

It is with great difficulty that I explain my process and record this journey, but perhaps it would be made easier once my book is available and these posts relate to something more than just a man behind a mysterious screen.

Good luck with whatever endeavor you seek to embark on.

On Writing: Reading Short Stories

I have been reading a lot of short stories lately and finding most of them rather disappointing. I believe that writing short stories would feel far less fulfilling than working on novels, but it would be great practice.

On Writing: Discovery vs. Outlining

My new tactic of outlining my chapters before writing them served me well while working on the first part of the book I am currently working on. However, as I dig deeper into the story, the strategy seems to loose both its effectiveness and efficiency. I am currently half way through the second part and its seems that I am utterly lost.

There are two options I am currently aware of regarding the new hindrance, (1) to work on completing an outline for the remaining half of the part, or (2) to take a break from the current project and start working on improving another aspect of my writing. Nevertheless, It is unlikely that I would be capable of taking a break from an uncompleted story.

PS: so far the book stands still at 56,000 words.

On Writing: Independent Publishing

Not knowing how pressed on time I will be after two months, I decided to contemplate pursuing several parallel courses of publishing for my book while I still have the time (How vague!)

Today I was contacted by Xlibris publishing, an independent publishing company which helps authors publish their work and assist in non-writing activities.

Assuming that the research I do about Xlibris does not convince me to dismiss them entirely, I am resistant to the idea of independent publishing for some reason. Although that I expect everything to operate in that way by the end of the century (Individual efforts rather than corporate ones), I am still highly affected by the traditional way of doing things.

What do you think I should do? Do I wait for a very small chance of being given a chance by a literary agent and a following traditional publisher? Or do I pursue the independent rout in parallel to the traditional one?

On Writing: Publishing Preparation

I spent the last two hours preparing a query letter and a synopsis to hand out to literary agents. Never had I imagined that two pages would sap all my energy reserves. Although I know that my chances of being accepted by a traditional publisher are close to null, I feel satisfied with the effort. If my book ever gets published, I promise to post both letters on this blog.

Twitter

I started a twitter account a few days ago if anyone is interested in getting notified about my posts via twitter.

On Writing: New Appreciation

As I held a book in my hands today and read from it, I realized that writing did more to me than provide an outlet for self-expression; it allowed me to appreciate reading far more than I used to. It is a strange feeling when you start seeing the world from a writer’s perspective. Suddenly, Everything I experience become observed in a different manner. Everything I read is a valuable source of knowledge and self-improvement. After writing over 160,000 words in a span of six months, I am starting to see the world from a different perspective. A pleasant perspective filled with emotion and admiration. Writing really makes you think.

I had a cousin visiting the past week and she told me that she knew some published writers in the US. After having a brief conversation about the topic, she offered to help get me in contact with a few literally agents (a huge step forward). Perhaps I would finally get to know how far I have gone in this writing endeavor.

On Writing: Progress and Notes

About a month ago I decided to start working on my second book and set a goal to write at least 1,000 words a day. Although it seemed an easy task to do, the process of daily writing is incredibly challenging.

Yesterday was one of my most ‘blanky’ days. I spent at least two hours staring at my computer in an attempt to squeeze out the outline of my first chapter (Since I have been preparing the outline for each chapter just before writing it as I mentioned before). Eventually I managed to complete a half descent one, but it did not please me, and I am contemplating re-writing it before I start working on the chapter itself. However, I do realize that at my low writing skill-level there is no way for me to complete a novel with no imperfect chapters.

The dilemma I am currently facing is to proceed or not to proceed (that is my question).

On Writing: Progress

As you all know, I started writing a new book to my Kayal series. I have been writing about 1,000 words a day and preparing the outline chapter by chapter as I write it. So far this has been the best way for me to write.