Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Write and Learn. And I Need a Beta!

I slog along, having a marvelous time I admit, tip-tapping on the keyboard, whipping the WIPs into shape.

Or am I?

What a wonderful job I'm doing. The prose is just dripping from my...um...keyboard (ahem). Or is it?

The answer to both questions is: No.

This should be my mantra: Never rely on my self-congratulatory thoughts, get someone else to read my work before I reach any conclusions of brilliance. And that person should not be a member of my family or friends.

Here're some glaring problems I seem to have embedded in my mind which my eyes are blind to when it comes to editing:

1. Stop dithering around at the start with a hunk of description: the sky was blue, the birds were singing - that kind of thing. Get into the action for #### sake!

2. Too many adjectives make the sentences unwieldy - have I tried reading them aloud?

3. Stop trying to hammer home a point, the reader got it first time round. Right?

4. The scenes are too long: a bit of memory here, a little back-tracking there, back into the present, a bit more memory. (Sigh)

5. Why's it taking so long to actually get to the nitty-gritty of the story? Why are you leaving invaluable information so that the reader has no idea what's happening until page 3 or 4?

Oh dear oh dear. That's right folks. I'm guilty of all these points EVERY TIME I start a new WIP. Now the psychologists out there may have their reasons for this repetitive annoyance, but I have my own. When I start out on a new WIP, I'm nervous for a number of reasons:

  •  There's a lot of story to get down, but will there be enough to make a full novel or even a novella? I'd better fatten out this first bit, just to add in a few words. 
  • I don't want to get bogged down in "tell" so I'd better "show" what my MC is doing (which is why he's smelling flowers to show what a nice guy he is and what a lovely day it is tra-la-la).
  • There's got to be conflict and an obstacle, but I want to save some for the rest of the story, just in case I can't think of any later. So I'll just put in a hint or two now and save the big-boys for later.
  • I really, really want my reader to know what's going on.
I'm sure you all have your own problems at the start of a WIP. I'd love to hear what they are and how you cope with them.

Now you've heard what a sad shape I'm in, is there anyone who is used to me and my rambling on this blog who'd be interested in being a BETA reader for me (in exchange, of course!)?  If you are, please let me know either here or you can find my contact in the "Contact" tag above.  :)