At first I was a bit heartbroken to learn that the edits to my novel’s first chapter were lost in the recent hard drive failure. I have the original thanks to a colleague / beta reader. Then I moved into feelings of relief that the whole nonfiction manuscript wasn’t lost (one chapter’s edits didn’t seem so bad). Now I’m trying to look at it as a good thing.
It was taking me forever to do these edits. I clearly wasn’t feeling them or I would have plowed through. I don’t plan on editing every chapter as I write the novel. The first was an exception because it has a lot of influence over how I write the rest of the book.
That makes this mini-crisis a second chance to improve the first impression I’ll make on readers. And I’m thankful for that. Fiction writing will be a much bigger part of my work life in 2012, and I want to get off to a good start. At the same time, I’d rather learn a hard lesson about backups with one chapter’s edits than with half a manuscript sitting on the drive. Does that mean it’s a good thing I was lazy and putting this project off for other things? Nah. But it does mean I feel infinitely less guilty about it. You have to love a silver lining.Read More
Do you have any projects that are currently shelved? I do — plenty of them. How do you decide when it’s time to dust off one project in-the-works while leaving others behind?
There are many reasons you might choose to shelve a project. For example:
- You want time away to review it with fresh eyes (such as with a book draft).
- You lose inspiration temporarily and move onto something else until you’re ready to get back to it.
- You have a lot going on, and have to prioritize other things.
- You run into a personal emergency that takes time away from your work on something.
Some of these projects might never again see the light of day. Others still have a lot of potential and just need a little bit of our most precious resource — time.
As I was working on my current mystery novel draft the other day, I was reminded of some of my shelved projects. You see, this novel isn’t my first foray into fiction.
I have three novels outlined and another fleshed out into an almost-complete screenplay (which I decided would be better suited to novel form). I sketched out these novels not only because I intended to finish them, but to review different novel drafting and outlining techniques for my old book writing and marketing blogs (now merged with the freelance writing and indie publishing blogs).
I have one crime novel / mystery, two stories in the paranormal horror area, and a lighthearted novel in the mix. I don’t intend to jump back into those projects in the foreseeable future — at least not until the nonfiction book is released and the first draft of the current mystery is out of the way. There just isn’t enough time in a day. But when will that change? Is there ever really a perfect time to move a project off the shelf?
How do you bring projects back to life? Do you simply re-prioritize, or do you wait for your schedule to open up a bit more? What was the last project you shelved, and why? When do you think you’ll get back to it? Share your thoughts, stories, and examples in the comments below.Read More
In addition to finalizing the new theme for my social media blog which will soon rejoin the world of the living, I launched a new site today. This is an author website for the pseudonym I’ll be using for writing mystery fiction.
The new pen name is Aria Klein. You can check out the new site / blog at AriaKlein.com if you have an interest in reading or writing mysteries or if you want to learn more about the Murder Script series I’m working on.
In other news, two related sites (which you’ll see linked on the new author site) will launch soon:
- MurderScripts.com — The site for the Murder Script novel series and murder mystery party games that I’ll release later this summer
- QuickMystery.com — A mystery blog featuring rougher short stories and works-in-progress that might later be expanded and more professionally published
Be sure to stop by and say hi. And if you’re interested in keeping in touch on these topics, feel free to follow me on Twitter @AriaKlein.Read More
I’ve been struggling much more than expected with the opening of the first novel in my new series. Here’s the deal.
- I outlined the book assuming the 3rd person POV with three viewpoint characters.
- After outlining the book I’ve done more reading in the niche. The last three books all happened to be written in the 1st person POV.
- I found that the 1st person POV books seem to have better pacing — I get sucked in and care more about the characters. They’re from different authors by the way, so it’s not a case of one author simply writing well in the 1st person POV.
- Now I’m reconsidering my approach.
I could stick to the story as outlined. Or I could change it to a 1st person POV approach and drop the other two viewpoint characters (not completely — just rework those outlined scenes to be something from the protagonist’s POV).
Evelyn Lafont had a good suggestion: write the opening both ways and see which works best. So that’s what I’m working on this week as far as fiction writing goes. I’m going to come up with a 1st person POV version of the opening and then compare the two. And hopefully by the end of this week I’ll finally have a solid grip on my approach for the rest of the book so I can plow on through the draft. That’s where things stand. Cross your fingers for me and with a bit of luck and a lot of hard work I’ll finally make some real progress on this first draft.Read More
I recently finally moved beyond the outline for the first novel in my mystery series. And I ended up beating my head against the wall over the simple issue of formatting. Should I use Courier New or Times New Roman as my font? How far down the page should I start a new chapter? What font size should I use? You get the idea.
After all, I’ll spend the next few months staring at this document for hours each day, most days of the week. So I toyed with it for a while. I looked up manuscript guidelines from a few publishers. I looked up guidelines from books and other authors. While there are some consistencies (like double-space and start with a title page), there are plenty of variations too.
Then it hit me, and I was able to relax and just get down to work. You see, it doesn’t matter what publishers want from manuscript formatting. It doesn’t matter what other authors think is best. All that matters at this phase is that I set up a document format I can work with. That’s a perk of being an indie author. I don’t have to conform to others’ guidelines. And it’s refreshing to remember that sometimes. Sure, I’ll have to tweak formatting later before sending things to an editor or sending things out for typesetting. But if doing things a little bit differently up front helps me get through that first draft faster, then I’m all for it.
What about you? As an indie author do you hold yourself to the standards of traditional publishers while drafting your books, or have you found your own style or methods to get the work done more efficiently?Read More