Monday, May 7, 2012

Dust It Off Bloghop - Day 3 (and a writing update)

I'm a little sad for the end of this bloghop. It was nice revisiting old memories (and hearing all your kind words about them!). I'm sorry I've been such a slacker about visiting others and commenting. I'm hoping to spend some time catching up this week.

Thanks again to the bloghop hosts, Cortney Pearson and Theresa Paolo. You can see Day 1 and Day 2 at these links.

The Dust It Off Bloghop will be three days, May 3rd, 5th and 7th.

We've all had those manuscripts that we poured our heart into, fell in love with the characters and still think of them at random, but unfortunately had to shelf. Now it's time for a little spring cleaning. Take out those manuscripts and Dust It Off!

The first day, May 3rd: We want you to post a 1-2 sentence pitch (Great way to practice pitches) about the shelved WIP.

The second day, May 5th: Post your favorite excerpt (300-350 words)

The third day, May 7th: Post what you learned from this WIP. You become a stronger, more rounded writer which each manuscript and we want to know what this particular work taught you.

So what did I learn from Three Left? In short, everything. This was the first long project I ever wrote, the first time I put my mind to a big task and completed it. It took years (I don't remember how many), and I think it was the first time I ever showed a commitment like that. I learned about focus and about finishing what you start. I learned how to take a critique, and that most critics are not out to make you cry; they just want to help your story be better.

I also learned so much about the technical aspects of writing. Hell, I learned a lot about Microsoft Word (I'm pretty sure we'd just gotten the first version of Office when I was writing this). I learned about characters' voices and the importance of names and how to make accent marks using keyboard shortcuts. I learned about weaving a plot through the story and how to make bad things happen just to see what the consequences will be. I learned that the insert key lets you put facts back into the story, instead of just sticking them in whenever you think of them.

And I learned about what I couldn't do. When I started the very first paragraph of Three Left--even when I came up with the title--I expected that not all four of my MCs would make it to the end. Ultimately, I decided I couldn't kill off a main character, not one I'd spent so much time getting attached to. So I altered the meaning of the title to avoid that possibility. I'm not saying I'll never kill a main character, but I know it's something that's particularly difficult for me to carry out, even though I think about it at least once with every book I write.

Most importantly, I learned that I could write, and it might even be coherent. I had a lot of problems when I was a kid because my brain worked more quickly than my fingers did. Once I learned to type properly on the computer, that helped a lot. I could finally make sense of all the words constantly careening around my head (seriously, I wish you all could see it in here. It's like a Moon Bounce). I could edit things so other people would understand them too.

I'll probably never do anything with this book, but it's always going to hold a special place in my heart as my first. And the lessons I took from it are invaluable.

Also, quick writing update: When we last left our writer, she was sitting by the broken mess that was Defenders crying and cursing, vowing to only work on Bex until she finished it. Well... um... things have changed. Midway through telling my most awesome CP/friend K.S. Lewis that I was putting Defenders on hiatus, I had an epiphany (seriously, I think I was mid-sentence). What if it's not a five-book series like I'd planned? What if it's just one book? One dramatic, action-packed book, instead of five drawn-out, slow-building books? It was like the brightest, shiniest lightbulb went off. Of course it's only one book. I never had enough material for five. No wonder the first book seemed painfully slow and plotless.

So that was on Thursday. On Friday, I started editing/rewriting the 12 chapters I'd finished so far. I'm up to chapter 10 now, and I haven't hated myself or my writing in days. I actually have things about the future planned. It's amazing how one little (okay, kind of big) change can make all the difference.

So Defenders isn't on hiatus. But I am still working on Bex (and Angels) at the same time. I'd really like to finish the 1st draft of one of them before NaNoWriMo, but we'll see how that goes.

Anyone else have any exciting news to share (about writing or anything else)?


  1. Killing off a main character is something that would take a LOT of courage.I don't think I could do it either!

    Congrats on your epiphany!

  2. Yay, epiphany! They're the best, just when you have no idea what you're doing and don't know why you're even bothering, BAM epiphany. And everything in your writing world is good again :)

  3. I am one who didn't learn a lot of technical stuff from my Dust it Off WIP because I set it to the side to work on other projects and am now returning not quite 2 years later. But I will take all that I've learned and now apply it to my WIP cause I'm excited to get back into it.

    1. BTW: I don't think I could kill a mc either. It'd be very hard.

  4. I wrote a YA horror, and it was a lot harder killing people off than I thought it would be!
    Congratulations on your epiphany! And good luck! It sounds like you have a lot of projects going right now. You are one hard working woman! I'm impressed.

  5. The last ms I wrote and am currently querying I killed one of my main characters. I knew it was coming. I knew I had to do it since the plot revolved around it, but it was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I cried the entire time. Cried so bad I had to stop typing because I couldn't see the screen or the keys. It took me eight ms's before I had the courage to follow through with killing a MC. I don't know how people do it in almost all of their books. It is awful!

    And congrats on your epiphany!!! Good luck and thanks for hopping with us!