Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Why I'm looking for an Agent

This is why I'm sending out queries to agents and not thinking about the self-publishing-route (yet).

I'm aware that this could mean a long wait. I'm working on the second novel I'll seriously try to find an agent and publisher for, but a lot of authors take six or seven books before the eighth is good enough and finds a home with a publisher (some take even more, some natural storytellers less). I'm sure they'd all tell you that those six or seven rejected books weren't in vain, because like with anything else it's about practicing, learning and honing your craft.

I'm (hopefully) in this for the long haul and I want to give my stories the chance to be as enjoyable as possible, which means taking my time with them and getting them edited before they're made available to readers.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Three Ps That Lead To No Writing

Oh yes!!
Or rather: no, don't let yourself be caught in the web of The Three Ps

Sure, this post was written by a painter instead of a fellow writer, but The Three Ps: Perfection, Procrastination, Paralysis can be applied to writing as well as painting. 

 I used to get caught up in exactly this poisoned web. Once you've made yourself comfortable in it, it's not so easy to break out, but I found ways to do so that work for me.

1. Write Every Day.
I try to write at least 300 words every day, even if they're crap. On weekdays, I write after I come home from work, on weekends I fit it in as soon as possible. It has become a routine, a ritual that carries me forward, even if it's only 300 words at a time. That's better than two weeks of writing nothing because of paralysis.

2. Write, then Edit.
When I write scenes for the first draft, I don't edit at the same time. Apparently, you use different parts of the brain to edit and write, and doing it at the same time messes up both processes. Obviously, I'm no brain specialist and don't know the particulars, but I do know that it's true for me, so when I write, I leave the editing to Future-Pia.

3. Skip Problem-Scenes.
If I feel like I can't seem to get a handle on the scene / chapter / dialogue / whatever I'm writing right now, I skip it and carry on with the next - I always have a next one in mind. The trick is to keep writing, not stay paralized. I go back to the skipped part later, when I know what the result of it should be. Often (though not always), when a scene just doesn't want to click, no matter how I fret about it, it turns out that it's not important for the story.

These are my personal remedies against The Three Ps, their effect and value figured out through a lot of trial and error.

I bet other writers, painters or artists in general have other ways of staving off paralysis - what are yours?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Back To School - Screenwriting

I did it. As considered about a year ago, I started my distance learning studies in screenwriting. I've gone through the first few lessons and tests and am very satisfied so far. I haven't learned that much brand-new stuff, because right now it's all about plot, characters and conflict - things you need in novels, too ;-). So the exercises aren't only helpful for screenwriting and it will get more specific soon. 

The fun thing is, I already see and watch movies through different eyes. As in: Why is this scene necessary? Could it have been left out? Why am I not relating to this character? Why is this a tad boring - no conflict potential, no identifiable characters, or is the setting unbelievable?

I've been niggling like that when reading books for a long time, but now my sense for questioning every element of a story has sharpened. Like I said, the lessons so far don't only apply to screenwriting, but to any writing. Especially my own.