February 26, 2015

What's Up

It's been a while since I've posted anything about my current writing projects. That's because for much of last year I was frustrated by how little writing I was accomplishing. It was difficult to think what to say on the topic, and easier and more fun to talk about the many books I was reading and the awesome stories I wrote 30 years ago.

But writing has gone much better in 2015, so I think it's finally time for an update. I'm working on two projects right now: yet another revision of the completed novel and a detailed plan for the next novel.

Another revision? Scary, but true. I received a lot of interest and encouraging comments during my agent search last year, but so far nothing has panned out. After spending a year away from the manuscript, I gave it a hard look with fresh eyes (if that isn't scrambling a metaphor) and saw room for improvement. I'm making another pass with a focus on tightening and shortening, and then we'll see how it goes. I'm pleased with my progress on this revision so far. I don't want to get into the details of numbers and timeframes and so on, but I will try to corral my thoughts and advice about reducing word count into a post at some point. In the meantime, check the Good Stuff for someone else's tips.

For the next novel, I've decided to try a completely different process in hopes of cutting back on the number of revisions required. I'm doing very detailed advance planning and plotting so that I can identify problems with the story and make improvements while it's still in the outline stage. This method works great for some writers and not at all for others, and while it's a new strategy for me, I'm finding it useful. Of course, the ultimate test will come when I start the actual writing, but by then I should have a firm grip on the story and characters. No plans yet on when the actual writing will happen. I'm deliberately working slowly on this, only spending a little time on it each day, so that I have plenty of space for contemplation and random flashes of brilliance as I go along. I'm sure I'll post more eventually about my experience with taking this approach.

In addition to these major endeavors, I'm also pondering other short and long writing projects I might undertake. And I'm getting excited about attending FOGcon in a week! There's a fabulous list of panels lined up, and I'll be moderating one on apocalyptic fiction, one of my favorite genres. Again, I'm sure FOGcon will be the subject of an upcoming post.

That gives you the general idea, though. If you've been politely hesitant to ask about my writing lately, now you know that things are looking up.

Good Stuff Out There:

→ At Fiction University, Jodie Renner outlines steps for shortening your novel: "Delete or condense scenes that don't have enough conflict or change, or add much to the plot or characterization. Condense parts where scenes drag, eliminating the boring bits. (Take out the parts that readers skip over.) Summarize transitional scenes or chapters in a few sentences to tack onto another chapter."

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