Friday, March 20, 2015

Writing Raw - 5 Tips with writing your first manuscript

The last couple of posts I've talked about getting started with writing your first novel, and some hints to help you with your writing. Now you should be ready to tackle "The Rough-draft".

To me, this is the funnest part of writing. Getting those ideas from your brain to paper. Some writers love revisions, some research, me, the raw words filling the page and slowly molding into a manuscript.

This is where your imagination becomes electric. Where your creative juices flow and land on the page. And this is where you let it all hang out. I have a few simple tips for those of you at this stage of the craft. I hope they help.

1. Just write: Whether it sounds funny to you, or there are a lot of mistakes, don't worry about it at this point, just write your story. When you've come to the end, that's when you will make plans to begin revisions.

2. Don't worry about chapter beginnings, or how long the manuscript is: After I wrote Fable, and we started on the revisions, I changed where chapters began and even scene layouts. As your writing the rough-draft put them where you think they should be for now, and worry about that later. Also, the length of a chapter is not a concern at this point.

As far as how many pages, that won't matter either. Originally Fable was 299 pages, when I finished the revisions, it was over 500. We added a lot of details that were needed and fixed the plot and sub-plots so there were no holes. Some writers go crazy and their rough-drafts are way too long, this can be fixed during revisions, too. You will learn where you can cut.

3. Keep track of the basics: Ah, the inevitable outline. My outline was very basic, but helped me to keep track of what was happening throughout the book. I simply bought two poster boards at the local store, some different colored markers, (to make it fun) and made separate boxes on the poster. Each box was a chapter, starting with the top left-hand corner, chapter one. I filled in just what was important in that chapter and color-coated with each character.

For example: Stevie was the pink marker. I would write what she did in that chapter under her color and so on. I did this for the entire book and hung them on the wall near my desk so I could keep track.

4. It should take you 3 months: Well, according to Steven King, it should take 3 months to write your rough-draft. That's how long it took me actually. But keep in mind, some people have to work or have children. This can interrupt the creative process, but do your best to get it done. Again, don't try to edit as you go. This will slow you down.

5. Now you've reached "The End": At this point, celebrate! Not everyone can write a book, and you should be proud of your accomplishment. Also, this is where you walk away for at least 3 weeks. Give yourself time to catch up with your life, and to plan your next step - revisions. And when you return, you can look at your rough-draft with fresh eyes.

Look into classes at this point, not necessarily college classes, but somewhere other authors get together and hone their craft. I began with Meetup. You can Google the one's in your area, and join a writing group.

Another idea is join a writing organization, like RWA (Romance Writers of America) or maybe a fiction writing org. in your area. And just because RWA is mostly romance, they do have other genre authors in their groups. And of course, go to conferences in your area.

Getting to know other writers, and even authors, is a valuable tool. Most are very welcoming and helpful.

I hope these tips help you on the road to becoming an author. Yes, it's a lot of work, but for me, rewarding. It is a calling, and not for everyone. If you're only looking for a way to work from home and make money, this is not for you. Sure, anyone can put words to paper, but it doesn't mean they should publish.

That's all for now. I planned to announce my cover this post, but I had to pull it - too many issues to fix. So, for now, still working on that part. Lore is very close to the end, but there is still the beta-readers, and edits. It won't be much longer though, I promise!

Have a great weekend all!

Love, Lisa

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