Tag Archives: first drafts

Challenge Your Writing

12 Jun

Challenging your writing is important, but what does that mean?

It means trying something new—attempting a project outside your box of comfort—or switching everything up entirely. Challenging yourself can be a big or small adventure. You can try a new genre in a short story rather than a novel, for instance. But pushing yourself to try a new genre, tone, perspective, etc. can only benefit you. As an example…

I mainly write YA SFF, and I have done so for ten years now, but recently, I set out to write a historical novel. Not only that, but it is my first serious project written in third person. Why? Because I’m challenging my writing…and myself.

Challenge: Try a new utensil. If you normally type your books, try a pencil. See if that changes your perspective.

You see, I’m comfortable with first-person science fiction and fantasy. Almost too comfortable. I find myself flying through drafts and ideas—and I love that, don’t get me wrong—but I can’t help but feel like I’m missing something more. A hurdle. A bit of fear. A semblance of discovery. By challenging myself, I can learn more. I might even fall in love with a new style, genre, or voice. The possibilities are endless.

It’s easy to write with your strengths, but what about overcoming your writing weaknesses?

I struggle with romance, for instance. Though I love first-person, I find it a bit narcissistic, so concentrating on feelings on top of the I, we, me, etc. has always been uncomfortable for me. So, I thought, What about third person? I had no idea if third person would help me overcome this hurdle or not, but hey, I set out to try…and sure enough, I learned a lot about myself and about writing those more emotional scenes. In fact, I look forward to learning even more about my writing through this challenge, and I look forward to future challenges I set out to overcome.

Granted, challenges come with…well, challenges.

Normally, I would be 60,000 words into this first draft, but I’m currently sitting at 42,000…and it’s a messy 42,000. (A really messy 42,000.) But I’m also in love with the mess.

I have never been so unsure of my writing in my life, but I still believe in the manuscript. I still believe in the challenge. And even if I never finish this book, I already succeeded at reaching my original goal: Learning something new.

Constantly challenging myself helps me learn more about my writing and about myself. So I challenge you to set a challenge for yourself today.

Try a new genre. Write from a new type of character’s perspective. Attempt a different perspective entirely.

Just go on an adventure. Make mistakes. Overcome obstacles. Try again.

You might discover something amazing.

~SAT

 

#MondayBlogs Confessions of a Slow Writer

9 May

I’m a slow writer. There. I said it. I’m a slow writer. (Just for extra measure.)

You see, I used to think I was a fast writer. “I can write a manuscript in two months,” “I wrote that novella in a few days,” “That short story took me an hour.”

Okay. So, I’ve never actually said the last two, but they sound similar to the first one…which I have said. And it isn’t a complete lie. My average speed for writing a manuscript is three months. Ish. But, what I don’t say, what I can’t deny to myself, is that manuscript is not truly written at all. It’s not even close to written. It’s a jargled mess of incomprehensible crap. (And I’m being nice when I say that.)

bogslow

My first drafts might take me three months, but that’s exactly what they are: first drafts. I almost ALWAYS rewrite my novels two or three times. In fact, I just finished one I’ve been working on since I was 19. That’s five years in the making, almost six. To some, the writing process – about one month – seemed ridiculously fast, but in all honestly, I already had 62,000 words written, and while most of it changes, the world was previously built, the characters were already made, and the overall plot was ready to go. That being said, something about the manuscript was not quite right, so it was rewrite after rewrite, year after year. And I’m okay with that. I’m okay that I just figured it out, that I JUST finished the draft that will move into the editing stages. Some might say I should’ve abandoned it, moved on, or simply turned it in as is, but you know what? That’s not me. And I like being me, ten rewrites and all. It might have taken me five years to figure it all out, but I finally feel like this manuscript’s draft is the one I can be truly proud of.

I’ve learned to accept I go through many phases while writing a novel. It normally starts with a dream, moves into an out-of-order screenplay, then an in-order screenplay, then a first draft, then a second draft, then a third and fourth draft, and then, it’s done!

That, for me, is when my novel is born. Finally. And more often than not, a few years pass between the initial idea and the collection of words sent off to my editor. I’m okay with that. I am. But don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t always okay with that.

There is a lot of pressure in the industry to be a “fast” writer, to release a new novel every few months, to use less curse words, to have more sex, to avoid clichés, or add romance. There is pressure everywhere—sometimes conflicting pressure—but I think it’s more important to not break under that pressure. I believe it’s important to be you and to be the best you that you can be.

Stand your ground. Be yourself. Write slowly.

Original posted August 22, 2015

~SAT

You can officially sign up for Bad Bloods Book Blitz through Xpresso Book Tours! I hope you’ll sign up to support this little author out. (You might also win some awesome prizes while you’re at it!)

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wattpadMicheleAlso, the next short story in the Bad Bloods Prequel released on Wattpad! If you didn’t get a chance to read it, check out Michele’s story today. Who is Michele? Well, in Bad Bloods, she’s the “mother” figure of the Northern Flock, but in the prequel, she’s just a kid. A kid with a gift. And her prequel story actually shows up in November Snow, so reading her story will give you more details when you read the novels this July….which brings me to my next point.

If you want to find out what happens to Calhoun, Daniel, Adam, and Michele – the four characters so far discussed in the Bad Bloods prequel – you can pre-order both Bad Bloods books today! 

November Rain, Part One, releases July 18, 2016

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November Snow, Part Two, releases July 25, 2016

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#SATurday Confessions of a Slow Writer

22 Aug

I’m a slow writer. There. I said it. I’m a slow writer. (Just for extra measure.)

You see, I used to think I was a fast writer. “I can write a manuscript in four months,” “I wrote that novella in a few days,” “That short story took me an hour.”

Okay. So, I’ve never actually said the last two, but they sound similar to the first one…which I have said. And it isn’t a complete lie. My average speed for writing a manuscript is three months. Ish. But, what I don’t say, what I can’t deny to myself, is that manuscript is not truly written at all. It’s not even close to written. It’s a jargled mess of incomprehensible crap. (And I’m being nice when I say that.)

bogslow

My first drafts might take me four months, but that’s exactly what they are: first drafts. I almost ALWAYS rewrite my novels two or three times. There’s one in particular I’ve been rewriting since I was 19, but something is just not quite right, so it’s rewrite after rewrite, year after year. And I’m okay with that. Some might say I should abandon it, move on, or simply just turn it in as is, but you know what? That’s just not me. And I like being me, ten rewrites and all.

I’ve learned to accept I go through many phases during a novel-writing episode. It normally starts with a night terror, moves into an out-of-order screenplay, then an in-order screenplay, then a first draft, then a second draft, then a third and fourth draft, and then it’s done!

That, for me, is when my novel is born. Finally. And more often than not, a few years pass between the initial idea and the collection of words sent off to my editor. And I’m okay with that. I am. But don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t always okay with that.

There is a lot of pressure in the industry to be a “fast” writer, to release a new novel every four months, to use less curse words, to have more sex, to avoid clichés, or add romance. There is pressure everywhere—sometimes conflicting pressure—but I think it’s more important to not break under that pressure.

Stand your ground. Be yourself. Write slowly.

~SAT

Book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy, Seconds Before Sunrise, releases in 3 days! 3! You can pre-order at the usual book-loving places, including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. If you haven’t had the time to check out the first book, get Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, while it’s FREE on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo, and spread the Dark to your friends by sharing the opportunity around. ::wink wink::

As a thank you, Clean Teen Publishing still has giveaways going on, including this Goodreads Giveaway for Seconds Before Sunrise, and the CTP Find Your Next Read Facebook Party on August 28. I – along with five other authors – will be giving away all kinds of goodies. I hope to see you there!

Stay Dark and Enjoy This Teaser,

~SAT

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