Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…
There is a lot written out in writer circles about opening pages and hooking the reader. Openings are a challenge for me, to be honest, but I am learning more and more as I go (including the ever-struggle of creating an immediately “sympathetic” character) about what that opening hook must include. Author Amy Sue Nathan adds in something useful: readers should have an idea, right away, what your story is about. Will your story change along the way? Sure, but readers like to know where they’re headed with your protagonist and I think this can shape all the rest of those key elements to hook them.
In the agent-querying universe, agents might request material and some, on rare occasions, might reject, but then offer what is called and “R&R” – revise and resubmit. It means they see something there that could really change their minds about really liking a manuscript to loving it. The challenge behind that is this kind of request really means re-write, not just revise. Author Laura Heffernan shares what common mistakes querying writers make with R&R requests, but for my part, I think there’s a lot more to take away for the everyday writer. I know that for me to get the message that there needs to be some fundamental changes, it takes me a long time to figure out just how to achieve that rewrite vs. revision or edits. Again, learning a lot!
Speaking again of creating sympathetic characters (lets consider both genders), I really appreciated author Sarah Callender’s post about changing out “but” for “and” when considering the nature of our characters. This simple change in how we look at them with “and” can make them richer, more complex. Do click out and see more of what this means with a lot of great examples.
When in doubt, write what you love, author Chuck Wendig says. He uses it to help with ways to deal with burnout, and it’s great advice. Right now, I am not suffering burnout, but I have been going through a long road of discouragement, and to combat it, I’ve gone back to my first novel and decided I was ready to re-write it. Almost completely. I adore my characters in this book and their story. I am a stronger, better writer now and I have truly loved re-visiting and turning this book into what it needs to be – what it can be. And when I finish? Who knows? At minimum, I know I’ll be ready to go back to another project I began a few months ago and give that renewed energy.
Author Beverly Cleary turned 100 this week. I liked learning a bit more about her and some of the origins of, say, Ralph the Mouse. 🙂
Song of the Week:
It has taken me almost 2 weeks to write a difficult scene in my WIP. I finally got it down and am now struggling with the follow-up. When I first wrote this novel, I discovered Christina Perri’s “Arms” during a later draft of it. This song captures so much of the scenes I’m writing now, it’s like Pandora KNEW. It’s been on repeat for me quite a bit as it keeps me grounded in the necessary emotions of the scenes.