August 30, 2013

Inching Ever Closer

Great novel progress this month. Among the recent achievements:

→ Every morning, I continue to be quite enthusiastic about getting down to work. (Okay, nearly every morning.) It has really made this whole endless revision thing far less painful than it was becoming.

→ I've sprinkled in a bunch of new backstory that either makes all the character motivations much clearer or bogs the entire story down. Can't wait to find out which!

→ I spent a long time studying TV Tropes (warning: not safe for productivity) in an attempt to figure out whether a particular scene in my novel is inadvertently an uncomfortable cliche. Still not sure, and I went back and forth about a thousand times on whether to remove it. Keeping it in for now, with the recognition that whatever it is, it's no longer inadvertent.

→ Remember how at the Squaw Valley workshop I received a suggestion about adding a prologue to better set up my novel? I wrote one, and I think it's pretty cool, but it's possibly just as problematic an opening. I've sent it off to a few of my workshop buddies to get some reactions.

Again, so much obsessing over paragraph breaks.

That's all I have to report this time. I can almost see the end from here!

Good Stuff Out There:

→ At Jacket Justice, book cover designer Allison Strauss analyzes the covers of bestsellers and suggests improved designs.


Henri Picciotto said...

As you know, I don't write fiction, but I love the guideline I use for paragraph breaks. As many paragraphs as possible should end with something new and important. (The corollary is that the beginning of paragraphs is about connecting with things the reader already knows.) This is from a fantastic article by Gopen and Swan, which you should find and read, as it includes many ideas about effective writing.

The above paragraph more or less follows that basic scheme.

(Actually, G&S's piece is about nonfiction writing, but I suspect much about it applies to all writing.)

Lisa Eckstein said...

Henri, this is great advice! I think it describes what I do instinctively (in many cases, at least), but I've never thought about it in those terms.

This is probably the article you're talking about: "The Science of Scientific Writing" by George D. Gopen and Judith A. Swan. Looks fascinating!

Christopher Gronlund said...

Why did I open TV Tropes?

Glad to hear progress is good; here's to September!

Henri Picciotto said...

Yes, that's the article. By far the most useful thing I've read about writing. One thing that makes it different from everything else is that they based their advice not just on their own beliefs, but on observations of how things actually play out for readers.

Note that this particular idea (that the end is the "power" position) also works for sentences!

Lisa Eckstein said...

Christopher: Hope TV Tropes didn't prevent you from having a very productive long weekend of writing! :)

Henri: I read the article. Very helpful ideas!

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