Update Day

Hey all! Welcome to yet another update day! It’s scary to think that next month we’ll be half-way through the year.

For those of you who don’t know, I have a list here of people who have big goals and every month, we update each other and the world on how we’re doing. Anyone’s welcome to join, so do go sign up! 
So how did I do? 
Basically, I gave up on doing any edits this month about half-way through, since my mind just wouldn’t fall into line. So instead I got back to doing needlepoint with my writing music blaring in the background. And I did farm-related work (of course, being my job). Also, I pretty much got into the car whatever opportunity I got to escape for a few hours. 
You’d think I’d be here saying that once again, I got absolutely nothing done. 
You’d be wrong. This month I finished cleaning up The Vanished Knight for publishing and revised nine chapters (out of 26) of The Heir’s Choice. 

So, still not at last year’s levels of productivity, but hey, I’ll get there. At least I can say I got started. 
Hopefully I’ll be able to finish this round of revisions within the next two weeks. If I do, I definitely want to get some drafting in. It’s way past time. 
Which means, my year (past and planned) looks like this: 
How are you doing? 

Some editing thoughts…

I guess I’m doomed to never enjoy simple projects.

Okay maybe “doomed” is a too strong word. I actually like challenges. I thrive on them. That’s why the first book I ever finished was Doorways, and why splitting it into The Vanished Knight and The Heir’s Choice wasn’t daunting.

It’s what compels me to buy the finest canvas for tapestry work, what makes me want to do bridgework on cakes and what makes me want to paint complex things in oils on canvas.

However, it’s the same thing that compels me to look at The Heir’s Choice, know that I need to change something big, and have no idea how to work it into what I’ve written.

And now, as I’m writing this, I’m sort of thinking that I really don’t need to change that thing. Maybe the real change should be something else entirely. Maybe I just wanted to change the impossible thing because it’s a mental exercise for me, and not really what needs to be done.

One the other hand…. this something else is promising… hmmm….

Anyone else editing? How’s it going?

Finding the Write Path

Hey all! I stumbled across this blogfest a while ago and thought it’ll be a nice, inspiring activity to take part in. Except, well, here I am on Friday and I’m not quite sure what to say. So instead, I’m going to just start and let the dice fall as they may.

Carrie, you’re welcome to use my letter. 🙂 

Info: 

Name: Misha Gericke
Writing Blog: http://sylmion.blogspot.com

Right. Now it’s time for me to get into the letter… wish me luck!

Hey Kiddo,

I’ve been grappling with what to put in this letter and.. Honestly I still am.

See, this is a letter to tell you about stuff you could do better, should do better. Things you should jump for and things you should change.

And you’d think there’d be a lot. I mean, you’re thirteen and I’m twenty five.

Except there’s not.

The book you’re writing right now… It’s going to get lost when your parents rip out the mother board and insert your grandmother’s so she can write. And that’s okay. Because you’re going to write it again, and lose the rewrite when you’re twenty two. And that’s also okay because you’ll rewrite it again and realize you learned so much that you would have been embarrassed if that book had actually been published.

You’re going to write seven false starts before writing the book you’ll publish. And your publisher will turn out to be more than a little sociopathic. But that’s good, because you’ll learn that no amount of validation is worth the pain and fear that comes with the thought that you’ll lose the rights to a book you worked on for seven years. To any book, for that matter. And you’ll act accordingly.

You will learn that you never finish first drafts to books if you plan them. You’ll also learn to cling to writing because that’s what keeps you sane. You’ll learn to be (even if I say so myself) amazing at writing and editing, and you’re going to learn it all by going through all these bad things that happened.

You’re going to be strong. And we will succeed. 

And all of this will be thanks to the lessons you learned. So do stupid things. Dare. Find what doesn’t work so you can work out what does. Keep striving. Keep going. And yes, do keep getting pissed off at negative people who act like they know about writing when all they’ve ever written was an e-mail.

Because you are better than what they say. And you knew the day you started writing the thing that I still know now:

You’re awesome, and awesome people write awesome books.

Love,

Me.

I’m still alive. Just… not really in a place where I’m finding something to blog about. I mean, I already discussed my goals at length, as well as the fact that I’m struggling to get myself back on track. 

This not being able to get on track is still getting to my blogging, since my life’s not helping me generate new content. I mean… there’s only so many times I can say “I’m struggling” without sounding like a broken record. 
I’m not putting the blog on hiatus, though. I’m just going to be sporadic about my posts until I’m back into my groove. Because yes, my writing and edits have to come first every time. 
I will be trying to get to more blog visits, though.

Introspection

As you know, I’m a very goal orientated person. (And if you’re new to my blog, my blog title alone refers to my five year goal.)

I have short term and medium term goals, set out because they’re what I do want to see done. Because I know that I want to succeed at this writing thing, and so I put down goals that I believe will act as paving stones to possible success.

However, the thing with goals can be that I forget to be flexible. Sure, I think I’ll still see and jump for an opportunity when I see one, but right now, I’m being almost unforgiving toward myself about my goals.

I mean… I’ve excepted that most of what I planned to achieve will have to be shifted to next year. However, I still plan to publish three books before December. One’s done (Birds vs Bastards). One needs to be cleaned up for re-publishing (The Vanished Knight) and one needs to be revised and edited (The Heir’s Choice).

And… well… I still haven’t finished cleaning up TVK. It’s become this huge thing in my mind that it’s half way through May and I didn’t finish what I’d set out to do in April. But then I sat back and thought.

I spent the better part of four months out of the groove. Getting back into it isn’t just going to happen right now. It takes getting used to.

So as of now, I am still actively editing, but I’m giving myself permission to rest when I want to, at least until I’m officially back in the swing of things.

How are you doing?

A Mystery/Thriller trend I wish would die.

So I had a rough day today and did a crit for Unicorn Bell, and this was the result. I’m posting it here too, since it dovetails nicely into a topic I’m currently enjoying a lot: Genre Trends I Wish Would Die.

However, I would love if you were epically awesome and here instead. And please feel free to look around while you’re at it. It really is a worthwhile blog to visit for info on both indie and trade publishing and writing.

Okay. To the post….

Well that didn’t work out to plan. See the point here is for someone to send me something to critique, and if there was an interesting thing to point out, I focus on that, especially if I had to crit a chapter, since chapters plus my crit would probably run too long.

However, I just finished reading a short story someone sent me to critique and… well… there wasn’t much wrong. I had one suggestion to improve the big reveal (it’s a locked-room mystery), but then, even as it is now, the reveal has a surprising (although it makes perfect sense) twist that makes the reveal worth-while, even if it could have been a bit more of a surprise.

Would you like to read the chapter? Sure you do. Here’s the link.

Ooh. I actually do have an interesting point to raise coming from this crit. Plot twists and how they work. (Sorry if this is rambly. I had a 13 hour day thanks to a wedding where I have to arrange flowers. But I’ll try to remain lucid enough to get the point across.)

Right. So everyone loves plot twists. They make readers scream, squee, cry, laugh with glee…. They take readers from one emotional extreme to another, making the reading experience feel like a roller coaster the reader wants to take again.

The thing is, plot twists have been exploited so many times that they do lose some of their effect. Especially the “It’s a twist because you didn’t get to see the main character doing something incredibly important to the plot. Get it?”

No… No I don’t.

Mmm… I’m probably saying this because exhaustion lowers my inhibitions, but hey, it’s my opinion, so here it is:

Those aren’t plot twists. They’re cop-outs.

And they kept being used again and again. Oh sure, they do take the reader’s from extreme to extreme. But instead of: “OMG. OMG! OMG!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Ah AWESOME!!!!!” or even better: “OMG. OMG! OMG!! OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OH SHIT!!!!!”

These “twists” are more of an: “OMG!!!………………. Oh.”

Horrid, horrid use of exclamations, I know. Guess they’re all escaping while my inner editor sleeps. Point is, taking readers to high stakes and massive tension and then dropping them on their asses is just lame. Really.

Sadly a lot of your run-of-the-mill bestselling thriller writers employ this tactic. I think people get dazed and dazzled by the adrenaline high followed by the crash after. Maybe it’s like eating candy. After a sugar crash you crave more sugar, don’t you?

Plot twists done correctly elevate stories to other realms entirely. It’s like 80% dark chocolate compared to a cheapy milk chocolate (I.E. fake twists).

Sadder than the fact that these fake twists get abused is the fact that with a tiny bit more effort, a much more effective twist could be achieved.

All it takes is leaving breadcrumbs of information, leading readers right where they think they’re headed, except you as the writer would be leading them somewhere else entirely.

Simply put, people are used to all sorts of information creeping into a story. So if  you put all the building blocks to your big twist out for them to see, in a way that makes them seem unrelated or unimportant, the reader will only see the whole picture when you reveal the twist, which basically acts as a way to put all the pieces together. And if that twist has mind-blowing effects on the characters/story/stakes… even better.

And truly brilliant writers can do this without hiding anything from the reader. A plot twist should be a moment of clarity when the reader sees everything they missed before, and is shocked because 1) s/he missed the clues and 2) at the MASSIVE repercussions those clues actually have.

So yes, PJ, if you’re reading this: I called you a brilliant writer.

A late IWSG Post

Hey all! Isn’t is amazing how one has less time on a public holiday than on a normal day? No idea how it works, but somehow I got home at 10 pm, too exhausted to think, so I crashed and woke up twelve minutes ago remembering that it was IWSG.

So what is IWSG? Basically it’s a bloghop where writers can share their insecurities or encouragements for other writers. So if you need something like that, click here.

Maybe that’s why I forgot to post. I’m just not that insecure at the moment. Right now, I see the publishing path I’m set to follow, forged out in front of me. It makes me happy, and it means I don’t really have issues.

Now all I have to do is hope it stays that way at least for a month. 😀

How are you doing?