This month has been spent in revision hell. I’m revising two novels and trying very hard to get them ready for a March 31 submission. One is a hard deadline; the other is self-imposed (important if we ever want to get our stories out there–there’s always a reason to not be writing if we let there be).

But there is no hell for the writer like Revision Hell.

I currently reside on the seventh level, the ‘this book sucks’ level where plot points and dialogue I thought were so cool in the first draft now strike me as vapid globs of desperation. Oh lord, deliver me from my woe!

–Writer Unboxed

Here’s this excellent post by Holly Lisle (my personal hero) on revising in one shot.

Here’s what she says on revision hell:

And let’s debunk one bit of writer myth while we’re here: Doing a seventeenth revision on a project does not make a writer an artist or move him above the writer hoi polloi any more than dressing entirely in black or wearing tweed jackets with leather elbow patches or big, black drover coats. These are all affectations, and smack of dilettantism. Real writers, and real artists, finish books and move on to the next project.

Because this is isn’t a real post, other than to gather resources I need (and you may need), here you go.

I hate revising more than anything in the universe. More than cleaning up cat puke. I am done with this book and do NOT want to work on it anymore.

This is where I’m at, y’all.

I wanted to share my post from the HSG blog this month because it’s about writing accountability. I have quazillioned my output this year and if you want to do the same, go read my post!

One of THE best writing articles I’ve ever read:

Simply put, in every social interaction, one person has (or attempts to have) more of a dominant role. Those in authority or those who want to exert authority use a collection of verbal and nonverbal cues to gain and maintain higher status. But it’s not just authority figures who do this. In daily life all of us are constantly adjusting and negotiating the amount of status we portray as we face different situations and interact with different people.

Novelists have the daunting task of showing this dynamic of shifting submission and dominance through dialogue, posture, pauses, communication patterns, body language, action and inner dialogue.

How to Raise Your Characters Above the Status Quo | WritersDigest.com.

Just… go read it. Print it out. Tape it to your wall.  It’s that good.

Alicia Rasley (blog) is a wildly talented writer and teacher who should get more recognition than she does. I bought her e-book in PDF, Discovering the Story Within, before people were even reading e-books. (My only complaint: it’s full of awesome worksheets, but the PDF is protected against copying, pasting, highlighting–anything you right-click to do, so filling them out in a word-processing program is impossible.)

Plotting

But, for today, and for GMC month, I’d like to point you to an article she did on her site called Plotting Without Fears.

In this article she tells you the quick and dirty way to plot a story. Find your one-sentence idea, your theme,  and your hero. Then, she shows you how to figure out what questions your story will answer and the goals and conflicts.  Finally, taking that information, she shows you how to use structure to form a plot.

There’s a lot of vital information packed in this article.

Motivation

This article, also by Alicia, on motivation is made up of three parts to help you get GMC right.  First, knowing the difference between your (the author’s) goal and your character’s goal. This is a crucial distinction. Nothing should ever happen in a story because you need it to happen; rather, it should happen organically from the character’s goals, motivation, and because of conflict with the antagonist.

Second, she says motivation should pro-active:

Pro-active: Motivating movement TOWARDS something. Success is a pro-active motivation because it draws the character forward towards itself.

Reactive: Motivating movement AWAY from something. Guilt is a reactive motivation because it propels the person away from itself.

Finally, she urges us to know the difference between external and internal motivation.  To help you understand the difference, she says:

External motivations tend to be more or less universal. Internal motivations are what will individualize your character. Most of us want success; the question is why? Your internal motivation for wanting success (to win the love of your father) might be different from mine (to get revenge against those who scorned me).

Then, she includes a fantastic list of some external and internal motivations that are worth the click there, just by themselves.

She concludes by distinguishing between story and backstory,  goal and motivation, motivation and action.

Motivation is the past.
Goal is the future.
Conflict is the present.

I urge anyone who writes, whether they’re just starting out or have been doing it for years, to explore the wonderful articles on her site.

Photo by Patrick Hajzler used with permission. Find Patrick on stock.xchng.

 

Character Development Series

Turns out, I had so much to say about developing characters, I wrote a series of posts. Here they are, in order:
Develop Characters Without Worksheets
Writing Free Form Character Biographies
How to Find a Character’s GMC?
My GMC “In the Wild”
Plotting and Motivation

When available, the author link goes to their Twitter page. If I tell you who linked me to the article, it’s so you can follow those clever people on twitter. Because I love twitter. And you should, too.

When available, the author link goes to their Twitter page. If I tell you who linked me to the article, it’s so you can follow those clever people on twitter. Because I love twitter. And you should, too.

How to write women if you aren’t one, the best movies about writers, and famous writers get their revenge by noting how many rejections they received.

When available, the author link goes to their Twitter page. If I tell you who linked me to the article, it’s so you can follow those clever people on twitter. Because I love twitter. And you should, too.

I was right.  Also, a whole bunch of info on how you’re querying and storytelling: you’re doing it wrong.  Well, maybe not you.  But a lot of people are.  And, how will I know if he really loves me…. no, wait.  That’s Whitney Houston.  How will I know if I found the right person to critique my writing?  Better.

When available, the author link goes to their Twitter page. If I tell you who linked me to the article, it’s so you can follow those clever people on twitter. Because I love twitter. And you should, too.

Busy week, so a little light on links today.  But, bonus!  I’m going to share more info on each link.  You’re welcome.  And through the wonders of the WordPress, I am away at a training as this post goes live.  In fact, I’m probably in class right now. Technology is kind of bad ass.

The point is, I can’t tell you how to succeed. But I can tell you how not to: Give in to the shame of being rejected and put your manuscript—or painting, song, voice, dance moves, [insert passion here]—in the coffin that is your bedside drawer and close it for good. I guarantee you that it won’t take you anywhere. Or you could do what this writer did: Give in to your obsession instead.

Think of it like a dating website, but ‘The One’ is your perfect critique partner.

-Ly Verbs: It is incorrect to connect a pair of modifiers with a hyphen when the first modifier ends in “ly.”
Punctuation: Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks; colons and semi-colons go outside.

There will be times when writing becomes a struggle. There will be setbacks and disappointments. Fatigue will set in. Writing a book is a delightful chore, but it is a chore nonetheless. There will come times when only your original fervor will pull you through.

When available, the author link goes to their Twitter page.  If I tell you who linked me to the article, it’s so you can follow those clever people on twitter.  Because I love twitter.  And you should, too.

A lot of good links this week from writing sex and dialogue to eReaders–good or bad? to sexism in reviews.

  • How To Promote Your Book – Politely by Derek Haines (via Jynnipher Olbert and Allan Douglas): Tips on promoting your book without making people hate you.
  • You Can Stuff Your Mary Sue Where the Sun Don’t Shine by Zoë Marriott: What a Mary-Sue character is not (any girl that annoys you), what it is, and a plea to stop the gender hate-on by using this phrase.
  • Guest post by Kristen Lamb on Scene Antagonists and Big Boss Troublemakers @ Adventure’s in Children’s Publishing blog: A LOT of manuscript problems can be traced back to an unclear antagonist.
  • Guest post by author Liz Borino on Writing Natural Dialogue @ It’s All About Writing: What dialogue should be doing and how to make it happen.
  • When available, the author link goes to their Twitter page.  If I tell you who linked me to the article, it’s so you can follow those clever people on twitter.  Because I love twitter.  And you should, too.