Monday, August 29, 2011

BIRTH Your Darlings

See how I did that-the opposite of Stephen King's "kill your darlings" advice?

It's because every single manuscript I've ever written comes up...short! Yeah, all you over-writers, I'm sticking my tongue out at you.

I think it happens because I need to get my bare bones draft down before I pass out or die or something. It's that painful for me. I enjoy revising so much MORE. SO SO SO much more.

*Helloooooo out there*

Does anyone else shares my "specialness"?

Then, to really beef up my manuscript I take some of my cues from author Alexandra Sokoloff.


1) Sensory details. In each scene, try to describe things using taste, touch, smell, sight and sound. This helps with setting and character descriptions.

2) Suspense. Every manuscript, no matter the genre needs suspense. Am I creating it enough with my pacing and dialogue?

3) Emotions. What is the reader getting out of each scene? What do I need them to feel? Is my character showing enough interior dialogue (and physical descriptions) to meet my objective?

4) Desires. What does my character want in each scene? What is opposing them?

5) Crucial genre elements. What genre are you writing? Is there enough mystery, romance, sci-fi in your story, etc. etc.


HAVE A GOOD DAY!

18 comments:

Tracey J said...

Great advice. My first drafts are always short as well.

salarsenッ said...

You've keyed in on some great points. Making both the reader and yourself (said writer) use all the senses makes the story come to life. Love that!!

junebug said...

I agree! I much prefer the tweaking and tinkering after I've gotten it out of my head. Getting it out can be so painful and arduous. Editing is like the short fun runs in between those marathons.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I often underwrite the first draft of each chapter, but I always revise each chapter before going on to the next -- adding just those things you mention above. Also -- transitions. Who wants to stop to write a transition when some juicy scene is coming up? I go back and add that after the chapter is already written.

Laura Pauling said...

I am a complete underwriter. I always end up adding words to my story (plus cutting) but I have to beef up details, backstory, world building, pacing, internal thoughts just about everything. but the biggest thing is fleshing out scenes for more emotion.

storyqueen said...

Hello fellow underwriters! Usually, during revisions I end up adding about 6,000 to 10,000 wrds.

(Now sometimes I overwrite, but it is usually when I am stalling because I don't know what is going to happen next.)

Shelley

Matthew MacNish said...

I'm totally the opposite, as you probably know. We all have our weaknesses. Good luck with yours!

Sarah Pearson said...

My first drafts are always full of invisible people in empty white rooms :-)

Lourie said...

It's like a blank canvas. It doesn't just automatically turn into a masterpiece. It has to be painted with many different color combinations and small details before the picture is complete.

Kelly said...

Thanks for those five ideas. I write down the basic ideas usually and then go back to spice them up!

Pamela Gold said...

I can almost always tell if I'm going to love or hate a book by the first page, based on these rules alone!

blueviolet said...

My BF is starting his 3rd now and I think he's getting better with those things each time, but shhhhh, he still needs improvement. ;)

Meredith said...

I'm the same way--I seriously underwrite with the first draft, and my revisions tend to be about 30,000 words longer. But I still love writing the first draft more. :) Great advice!

Jen Daiker said...

You're a fabulous weirdo! You love revising? Normally I'd say you're nuts but having revised THIRTY GUYS several times I'm actually loving it.

I've underwritten and overwritten and I have to say I prefer overwriting! I have an easier time cutting. THIRTY GUYS started 120K and now sits at 98K WOOHOO!

Caryn Caldwell said...

My first drafts always come up short, too, though they grow with every draft because I keep adding things. I only wish I loved revising, though I'm definitely coming around to it.

Anita said...

I get it all down and then add the layers. Just my way of doing things. :)

Medeia Sharif said...

I vomit the draft and add layers later. Then I kill the darlings from overwriting during revisions.

Sherrie Petersen said...

I much prefer birthing to killing :)