It’s been a busy few weeks with dilemma after dilemma; do I go jogging to stay in shape or focus on editing? Can I do both? Not really, or maybe I can with more balance, though if I am running I am not writing, if I am writing, I’m not running. Perhaps they compliment each other in some way.
Jogging has been critical to this process at times, allowing my mind to wander into the plot, away from other distractions so I can logicise. I am now heavily into editing and this takes time, a lot of time. It’s not something you can easily do in a few hours, because you re-read, edit, re-read, edit, sleep on it and edit again the next day with fresh eyes and a clear head. It is guaranteed you will make further changes.
Writing can be a wicked beast, reading the same thing over and over and over, convinced it’s not good enough and trying to fix it with much needed feedback, surviving those initial multiple wounds to the heart. I find that conflicting feedback on a section can leave the decision up to you on whether you make a change or not, but when you get correlating feedback on the same section from people that have never met, it’s definitely time for change.
Overall, this will be my second draft, then I will go back to the beginning for the third and final draft to ensure it’s as good as I can make it. I decided to take this approach for a few reasons,
- I am getting consistent feedback on the second draft from a willing and reliable volunteer, and do not want to lose momentum (thanks Thomas!).
- I am editing more exciting sections of the story, where gradually, the reveal is taking place.
- I am introducing important characters into the plot.
- There is a lot more action.
With a very active young daughter and a pregnant wife due in a few months, the clock is ticking and commitment to get through the second draft is crucial at this point. I also have a lot of plans to share writing resources that I have collected in this blog, but that will have to wait for a little while.
I’d like to talk a little about author platform, as I originally started off this blog with great excitement. I took time deciding to use WordPress, then I took time crafting the blog and how I wanted it to look, having to learn about php (among other languages). I added a forum, thinking I could attract feedback on interesting topics and I took the quirky approach of adding soundtracks, focusing on music that inspires writing certain types of scene. A lesson for me was that none of these were necessary.
I stripped back what I had, to keep it simple and focus on writing. You can read a great article about author platform here from Eric Smith of P.S. Literary and you can follow Eric on twitter here (@ericsmithrocks).
Eric always has helpful advice for writers as a professional, and talks about how important it is to work on your platform offline, through participating in talks, publishing short stories and journalism. Twitter is great for getting advice if time is of the essence and I recommend anyone writing to ensure they follow a decent number of writers, editors and agents. What is a decent number you ask? How much time do you have?
Do some research and find out who you have some affiliation with in terms of your genre, check their profile and see if their tweets are up to date. There is some great advice online, you just need to spend some time researching and finding it.
Lastly, the Singapore Writers Group (Sci-Fi, Fantasy & Romance) organized a workshop with David Farland (https://mystorydoctor.com/) in September. Before it starts, we will watch a number of pre-recorded video’s, where David discusses the various facets of writing (setting, character, plot, emotion and more).
I’d recommend newbies (like myself) take a look at this. It will give you a good idea of the amount of time, work and effort needed to create the foundations for your book.