When Do You Just Move On…

When do you just move on from a project?

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I’ve been writing for over 6 years now, not very long in the grand scheme of the world, but pretty long considering I’m only 32. I love writing, and I would like to make a good stab at traditional publishing. In order to do that, I’ve got to actually finish writing a novel–or, finish a good one.

I’ve heard that your first novel will suck, and that most likely, your second novel will also suck. Well, I’m kind of in limbo here. My first novel, a scifi romance, sucked. I’ve rewritten it twenty times, it still sucks. I’ve moved on–for now.

My second novel, an urban fantasy, doesn’t suck as much as the scifi. In fact, I think it’s got great potential, but I’ve been working on it for a few years now–on and off–and I’m starting to wonder if I should just chalk it up as a learning experience and move on.

I have a third novel in the works, another fantasy. It’s got great potential, and as far as structure and characters, is the best thing I’ve done so far. I’m writing it in thirds. I started it as a short story for a serial fiction site, but quickly recognized it could be a full length novel. I’ve done some plotting for the middle-third, but I haven’t actually started writing it yet.

Refining Sylver Official Cover

My dilemma is, should I just give up on my urban fantasy? Shove it back into that drawer and never look at it again? I feel like if I jump into my new fanasy, I won’t go back, and I’m just concerned that I’m leaving something worth persuing on the table…

Maybe there’s no right answer to this conundrum. But I’m hoping my fellow writers out there will have had similar dilemmas and be able to pass along their experiences and advice.

I’d like to be a professional writer, and I worry that I’m being too emotional. My pro-oriented mind says move on, my heart says stay.

Any advice friends? Please leave a comment. We’re all in this writing thing together.

Scene Checking

I’m finally back in the blogging saddle, so this week’s post on self editing focuses on scene checking. (These are my notes taken during the Agile Writer’s Conference back in January.)

  • Look at the big picture:
    • Is the scene necessary? Does it move the plot forward?
    • Does it flow?
      • Make sure things flow smoothly from scene to scene; don’t give readers whiplash.
  • Point of View:
    • Be consistent. Don’t change POV in the middle of a sentence/paragraph/chapter. POV changes should be separated by scene breaks or chapter breaks.
  • Whenever possible, don’t open with scenary. There is probably some other aspect of the story that is more individual to your MC that will not only entice readers, but make for a more original/organic opening.
  • Use prologues sparingly. Most of the time, prologue info can be dissiminated throughout the body of the text.

And that’s it folks! I have to say that scene checking is such a hard thing to do sometimes. To spend hours writing something that’s brilliant, only to realize later that it’s unnecessary, is so frustrating.

But alas, it’s part of the process. So what’s your biggest obstacle with scene checking? Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing thing together!

#WriterMemeMonday

So…this exactly.

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Since I got sick two weeks ago, I’ve let my writing fall aside. Last week I was totally well enough to write, but I decided to lay on the couch and watch HGTV instead. No more! I gotta get back on the horse if I’m ever going to finish my fantasy novel!!

Self Editing and Formatting, Part 2

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The way someone reacts to bad punctuation.

Last Friday I posted about curbing the most common grammar mistakes, click here! This week, you guessed it, we’re focusing on Punctuation.

  • The most basic/common punctuation mistakes:
    • Irregular comma usage: the most important thing is to be consistent. If in a list you put a comma before” and” then do that every time (serial commas). If you put a comma before “too” at the end of a sentence, do it every time. Be consistent, or you’ll drive people crazy.
    • Misplaced Quotation marks: completely enclose dialogue and punctuation (at the end of a sentence).
    • Overused Exclamation marks: use sparingly
      • instead, use words that convey the excitement of what’s happening (ie: he yelled)
    • Periods and Question marks mix-ups: be sure you’re using the right one at the end of a sentence.

That’s all I got in my notes from the discussion I sat in on at the Agile Writer’s Conference back in January. Short and sweet, just as any lesson on punctuation should be.

So tell me, what punctuation mistake do you most often make–me, it’s not putting the quotation marks after the period at the end of a sentence, but I’m doing better. Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this writing-thing together!

Be sure to check back next Friday for tips on scene checking.