I've been getting emails asking me what it is I do as a writer and editor so today I thought I'd share with you some of what I do in my writing day.
My writing day is very short: between one hour and three hours a morning so I have to get as much done as I can in that time, then my normal working day (day-job and farming) begins.
As I've said before I love to help others get published and along the way I learn and grow in my writing too.
Here's an extract of an email I got this morning from one of my regular contacts.
Have you had your tea yet?
I had planed my novel to have three more stories. Do you think it could sell as a serial?
I thought I had gotten all the tense problems out of it, guess not. I've learned so much from you, but it always seems I need to learn more.
I have a lot of dialogue in my stories, is it too much? I like to have interaction with my people, but do I sacrifice action? I'm trying to understand my voice, so I can grow.
By the way in your story, you have a great voice, and strong. I could read anything you write, and not know in the beginning you wrote it, but by the time I finish, I would know it was you. We've just got to get you writing more.
Yeah, I’ve had my cup of tea. It was nice. I had the strangest dreams before waking.I always like to remember my dreams. Dreams are like storytelling without the writing part and they flow and happen right there before your eyes with all the drama and excitement of any action movie. I am also one of the lucky ones that dream in color.
I like that you have three parts to your novel. I reckon you could sell anything you wanted to it’s just IF anyone will buy them ;)
If you do sell them then you will be able to say to the publisher that you can write the next one and so on. The trouble with serials for the publisher is that the advance is often given up front for the next book and then the publisher has to wait and wait for the author to write the next book. At least the publisher would not have to wait so long for yours, and that would be a good thing.
You are a good writer and storyteller.
Writing is not something you become good at overnight. It takes years and years (and years) of learning and changing and learning and adapting and finally finding what works for you and just when you think you’ve nailed it – duh!- It WILL happen for you.
Don’t worry about never being perfect just always put your best into every single word. If you do this the rest will happen. The best advice I got from someone was, “words have meaning”. If you think about this statement (really concentrate on it for a few days) then every word you use in writing has a job. That job might be to show a characters POV, or it might be to explain the exact meaning behind a particular point that the narrator wants the reader to know, or it might be to give the feeling behind one of the characters voices. It’s okay to write a cute little story out in five minutes using stream-of-consciousness but to really write a good story that will compel people to keep reading it needs to be so well written that every single word has its job to do. If you can think like this when you are writing (yes, Skipper, it will slow you down somewhat) you will produce much better work. Writing is not a race, it’s something you work at word by single word.
You are finding your voice Skipper. In fact, I think I can describe your voice a little now. The dialogue in your stories is very much a part of your voice so don’t fight it. If you enjoy dialogue in your writing then chances are your readers will too. Remember, if you are enjoying the story and there’s a smile on your dial and the world disappears for the ten minutes or ten hours then chances are your readers will enjoy your work as much as, or even more than you did writing it. If this happens, WOW!
As for sacrificing action, the plot is what determines the action and the characters discussing their situation shows the reader the action so again don't be too worried about the action. It will come. It needs to blend into the story in such a way that the reader is never jolted out of the reading experience.
What just happened?
A lot of reading feels like meditation. We read and enjoy and then the story is over, and we either feel cheated, contented, disappointed, sad that the story has come to an end but happy we read it, or any other emotions depending on how good the book was written and whether the plot and characters held our attention for a while.
Thanks for saying my writing was interesting. I agree I need to write more. I am working on it.
So, there you go people, a little bit out of my day... What happens in your writing day? I'd love to hear about it.