As I continue seeking to be better at description, I took on a new task for me: Beta Reading. It’s funny – I can see the issues in this other person’s story, but I can’t catch the same types in my own writing. I am hoping that learning to critique the writings of others will help me to become a better writer. Perhaps I can rewrite with an eye towards finding those types of issues in my own writing. Not long today…just letting you know that I haven’t stopped trying to grow.
One of the things that separates the author from a writer or a story teller is the craft. Craft inovlves the way you put together a story so that it works together, paces well, and generally flows well. It’s knowing when to show and when to tell. I am going to be working on craft as I continue my writing. The first area I’m going to tackle is description. I love reading well written description. It makes the scene come alive to me. I just have not felt comfortable writing description. When I write it, I feel like it’s overdone and “hokey” if I can use that word. The only way to work on description is to do it, so, I’m planning on working on description in a few different ways. Over the next week (?) I’ll be doing some descriptive writing. I’ll be posting it here for you to critique. I’m pretty good at taking criticism and try to use it as a springboard to grow. I’ll include my feelings about the writing after the selection. What I eventually want to hear is “Nailed it” (and not like those pinterest memes.) I don’t expect to nail it at first, so I would appreciate any feedback. If you have any ideas to help me as I go through this journey: websites, techniques, descriptive exercises, good examples of descriptive writing – please share them. I appreciate any and all help. Thanks in advance!
A number of years ago I wrote a book. I think I told a pretty good story. I wrote two sequels so that now I have a trilogy. I have no doubt that if I had tried to publish them as they were, a few people might have bought them and enjoyed the stories. I might even have made a little bit of money. But I want to publish them the right way. I want to make sure that the stories hold together. I want that world to be consistent. So, I rewrote Book 1. You’ve seen some of the ARC chapters here. I was in love with the story so the book didn’t change a whole lot – I did try to shore up some areas that I realized were weak. I sent the book out for query and to beta readers. 1 agent has already told me “No.” I expected that, to be honest. I got back the reactions from one beta reader.
While enjoying the overall story, he pointed out some weaknesses and omissions. Most of the weaknesses I think I knew, deep down. Perhaps I thought that they weren’t really weak parts of the story, especially after I tried to strengthen some; perhaps I thought that those parts were weak because of my own insecurity and that others wouldn’t see them. He saw them. So, I have a couple of options: I can choose to ignore those parts of the criticism that would require a lot of work to fix and remain a story teller, or I can choose to become an author.
The first and second draft were the basics of the story I had in me. It was a nice story. The comments from my beta reader will make my “nice” story become a much stronger book. In order to follow this reader’s advice and become an author, I’m going to need to do a major re-tooling of the book. Plot points that hinged on one aspect of my main character will need to be completely re-written. My villain will need to be shown as more sneak and conniving while at the same time his positive qualities will have to come out. I will have to throw out parts of the story that I loved. I will have to make a much more determined effort to build and flesh out the world in which this story takes place and use ::shudder:: description – one of my weakest points.
Today I begin to become an author instead of just a story teller or a writer. I won’t begin by re-writing again. I will begin by getting to know my characters even better. I will begin to flesh out my world. My hope and my prayer is that by the time I finish this process of re-tooling this writing, it will be more than just a good story – it will be a book that I can be proud of. Join me on the journey. Give me suggestions as I walk…now…onto the work.
(Edit Note: All of these posts will be found under the “Journaling” Category)