Archive | May 2013

Writing Marathon: Day 26

Whereas many writers hate to revise, Khaled Hosseini, the author of the bestseller The Kite Runner, talks interestingly about his love for revision. “It’s kind of like moving into a house. For me the first draft is all about carrying all the furniture, and the bed, and the armoire, and the cabinets, and all the mattresses, and shoving it in the house, you know, everything that you have, all these belongings—and it’s just hard, laborious work. But the revising process is like, OK, now you’ve got all the stuff that you need in here, pretty much—you’re going to throw some of it away—but now it’s a matter of arranging things in such a way that makes it feel like a home, that makes sense and is pleasing. … That’s sort of the way I work through it.” (WD, July 2013)

Well, come to think of it, that’s how I worked on my novel Without Thinking Twice. I had all the stuff—hundreds of scenes, narrated by four characters—that I had to go through, while tossing a lot of them out and letting the ones that fit stay. It was incredibly hard to part with certain scenes that I loved, but, for better or for worse, I did it. And it was downright painful to arrange all the scenes of two stories (of two married couples) as separate plots and coordinate them in relation to one another as well. But I did it.

This time around it’ll be easier because there are only two narrators, and the events taking place are pretty much linear, with some flashbacks, of course. Plus, everything happens within just ten days. Easy! 🙂

So now I’m accumulating scenes, just writing whatever comes to my mind on the topic, in a sort of stream of consciousness style. One scene a day—that’s my motto now. I did one today. It’s nowhere near “good” but it’ll do, for now. I may toss it out later anyway.


Writing Marathon: Day 25

After I read Outlander, the first in the series, I put Diana Gabaldon on top of my most favorite authors list. Her novels are so rich in style, language, and content, they are unforgettably magnificent. I remember thinking, My God, that’s how I want to write!

In her interview with WD readers, Ms. Gabaldon shared her work routine. Writing organically (without an outline), she creates scenes haphazardly, polishing them right away so that they don’t require any further revisions, and only then does she link them together in a plot. As much as I find her method fascinating, I have a hard time believing that she has no storyline in her head prior to writing, even if the steps aren’t in order yet. Surely, she must have a big idea in her mind that she eventually develops through those scenes.

Well, I realize that writing like Gabaldon is a dream totally unattainable for me, I at least can emulate her writing style—at this point. I can write separate scenes, then tie them together. Why not? Yesterday I created one scene; today I created another one. That’s a start. So…a new scene every day. Is it doable? So far, yes. Keeping my fingers crossed. 🙂

Writing Marathon: Day 24

Today I was down in the dumps, staring at the screen, hoping for a miracle. Then I grabbed, luckily, the latest issue of Writer’s Digest, read interviews with two interesting writers, and whoa! I was fueled with energy.

Joe Hill recalls what his parents advised him: “Finish the book. Finish the book, regardless of how bad it is. You can make it better in a rewrite.” Great advice, especially coming from such seasoned authors as Stephen King and Tabitha King. Yes, they’re Joe Hill’s parents, which is the reason why he writes under a pen name.

Finish the book, huh? Well, that’s exactly what I had done with my first three novels—they were bad, and there were many times when I wanted to say to hell with it and quit, but I managed to stick it out and make them better. So can’t I do the very same thing with my fourth novel? I sure can!

The same advice to aspiring writers gives a bestselling author Khaled Hosseini: “The temptation to give up, to surrender, is very, very strong. You have to have faith that as dark and unlikely and as dreary as things may seem, that it’s worth pursuing, and that there’s a good chance you’ll be glad you did.” So why would I give up? I won’t!

Joe Hill’s “job of the day” is to write “one solid scene”–every day! Can I do that too? I can certainly try….

So I did. The new scene that I wrote today is far from being “solid” yet, but I added it to my book. And that put me out of my misery! 🙂

Writing Marathon: Day 23

I really didn’t know what to do with this “crucial” dialogue: nothing, absolutely NOTHING, came to me. So, what did I do, after some hard thinking? I just glued my butt to the chair and read and read and read the rest of the manuscript until I finished it.

Of course, I made a few corrections along the way (diction, redundancy, punctuation), even though I had promised myself that I wouldn’t, but mostly I read for content, hoping for some ideas to pop into my mind.

Luckily, some did. 🙂

Writing Marathon: Day 22

I’m stuck.

The dialogue that I wrote before is crucial to the major event in the story, but I’m not happy with its subject matter. I remember writing it in one breath—my characters were talking and I was just recording their words as fast as I could. Their conversation was okay at that point, but now, alas, I have to change it.

How? I’ve no idea—yet.

Writing Marathon: Day 21

Chapter 8 is a mess. It starts with a scene that I had transferred from some place later in the book a while back. Today I remembered that this scene was supposed to be the continuation of the beginning that I hadn’t written yet. And that’s what I’m going to do tomorrow–on Memorial Day, of all days.