Friday, 17 February 2012

And like Sleeping Beauty, she awoke from her slumber.....and realised what was wrong with her WIP!

If you have been following my blog in the short time I have been writing it, you may be familiar with me struggling over the opening of my WIP. I have stared at it, re-written it, stared at it some more, put it back how it was, changed it again, moved on, been satisfied, then hated it again. I don't know if I am alone in this struggle, or if every writer fights with their opening chapter this way, but it has been a nightmare!


But then something, well someone, wonderful happened. Angela Cothran, to be precise. Angela uttered some magic words, and after a moment of tearing my hair out in panic that maybe my WIP was going nowhere, I really thought about what she'd said.

And the solution became clear.

The downside of this revelation is that there are 5000 useless words at the start of the story. That's a hell of a number of wasted words. On the other hand, they probably aren't all a waste. Some can even be moved around to fit in a better, and less boring place. What matters is, with one very simple sentence, Angela jolted my brain into action, and I know that it is something I will remember to apply to everything I write from now on.

Thank you, Angela - you are a wise lady! :D

46 comments:

  1. Yaaaay for awesome CP's... I'm so happy you've found this revelation, Kyra. Beginnings are HARD. But when you've nailed it, you know it. ;)

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    1. I really think I can kick some butt now I know what I was doing wrong, and I am excited! Angels is the best!

      I'm certain I sound like a terrible writer for not recognising the problem sooner, and also for having so many useless words - but that's okay with me. I don't mind making mistakes, it's all part of learning! :D

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  2. Yay, that's awesome! That's such a wonderful moment when everything clicks into place. Congrats (and good luck with the rest of the WIP)!

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    1. Lol, well the knowledge of what I have to do is there, now I need to figure out how to apply it! So much for having a day off!

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  3. It's amazing how someone else's clear vision can set us on the right path ... A few brief words, and all is well ... Happy writing to you :)

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  4. Glad to hear you had a break through! Beginnings are so hard.

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    1. They really are - my current WIP has been driving me insane!

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  5. LOVE those breakthrough moments :)

    and those are not wasted words, like you said.. they can be rearranged and if not.. oh well, they were good practice!

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    1. Yes, I am certain I can re-use at least some of them, and I'm glad because I wrote some really cool descriptions in that first part! :D

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  6. Hooray, glad you figured it out! This has been me lately too! I've plotted and replotted my wip and things just weren't clicking or working and I rewrote the beginning a few times and just couldn't get it, but I've finally figured it out too. It's so nice! Isn't it great how we all help each other out? I'm curious about Angela's advice!
    Oh, and those words are never wasted. It's all a journey of getting to know your characters, whatever world you're creating, etc. And whether you end up using them or not, I think they always contribute to the finished product in some way. :) I have a whole file of outtakes, lots and lots of words I'll never use but I think are essential.

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    1. Blogging is the best thing I ever did! You guys are the best! I'm happy you got your own beginning sorted out now too! :D

      I need to create a document for cuts I've made, because so far, I have been brutally deleting them lol!

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  7. That's great! I love when that happens. :)

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  8. I read somewhere about an author who kept an "extras" file for all the scenes and lines that she deleted; I thought that was a good idea, especially when you're going through the editing/revision process. So like you said, you could still make use of those words that you took out eventually.

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    1. That's such an awesome idea! I am definitely going to start an extras file today!

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  9. I agree with you about Angie. She is amazing. I learn so much from her! The beginning of my story needs a lot of work too.

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    1. She rocks!

      I am looking forward to the day when I know enough to help others lol!

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  10. Wow! This is the same breakthrough I just had a few days ago, while reading "Hooked" a book about writing the hook for fiction novels.

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    1. Sounds like I need get me a copy of that book! Congrats on your breakthrough!

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  11. Did I miss it? What were the magic words?? I want to know magic!!! :) haha.

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    1. Lol, I forgot to post the magic words because I was too excited!

      Angie said that a story should start where/when things change - and even though that is something I was aware of, it was the magic piece of advice I needed to see exactly what was wrong. She is a genius! <3

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  12. Yay for the awesomeness of CP's! And Angie is AMAZING!!!

    And she's right about starting the story when things take a turn, I've cut out quite a bit from my book to make sure I'm starting in the right place.

    Go you!

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    1. The problem I have is that there are many points where the story takes a turn, and I didn't know exactly which turn I was meant to go from lol! But I picked the first turn, and I'm gonna see how it goes from there.

      Angie is the best! :D

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  13. This definitely happened to me, when some very honest (and in some cases, outright mean!) critiquers told me that my opening was plain info dumping backstory and not necessary. Some of them were nice enough to tell me it was lovely writing, but they still said it was unnecessary. I wound up cutting 7k or so off the front of my novel, because 7k in was when the story really began.

    Just letting you know I've added you to my blogroll now so should be keeping in touch with your blog much more easily!

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    1. Ouch, that's even more than I had to cut! And I don't like mean critiquers lol!

      Thanks for adding me! I need to get mine organised during the week when I have some time, and I will definitely be adding you on there!

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  14. You're so awesome!

    And don't worry, everyone struggles with this too.

    Cheers!

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    1. Lol, it's good to know I'm not alone!

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  15. I know it sucks when we think we have written wasted words, but you have it right: they are never wasted. I know you are thankful for Angie's words of wisdom. It is so awesome when everything finally clicks and we realize that we know what we need to do and how to do it.

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    1. They definitely felt like a waste at first, but it turns out, they are way more useful than I thought! :D

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  16. Awesome. Thank goodness for good beta readers/CPs. There just is no substitute!

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  17. Incredible news! Like a light that goes off pointing the direction in which you should go, so you have undertaken the great joy of carrying on with your awesome work! Keep it going, never give up!

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  18. Good for you and of course Angela

    Those light bulb moments are priceless, but those 5000 words are NOT useless.
    1. keep them you may be able to use them as backstory later.
    2. they are important backstory to you that helps your round out your characters and flesh out your plot so they are never useless.
    3. quantity = quality, ie. the more you write the better you become so regard them as the all important warm up to the main event.

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    1. Good advice, and I have realised how true that is while I've been changing things up. I have created a new file to keep the words I've cut so I can go back to them later!

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  19. Kyra--I'm so glad it helped :) I've rewritten my beginning to many times to count!

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    1. You really made me think it back over, and I am happier with the beginning than I have ever been! Thanks again! :D

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  20. Yay! Glad to hear you figured it out!
    I had to rewrite my beginning like 3 times for my current WIP, but i think i'm good now.
    Have you ever read Les Edgerton's Hooked? LOVE that book! It's all about crafting a good beginning for your novel.

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    1. I am reading that book at the moment, and that is what kept me on track, it's excellent!

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  21. Angie has a wealth of great advice. Yay for Angie!

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  22. I'm so happy you've found the person who works miracles in your writing life. Yea for Angie!

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  23. Oh, I love when that happens. Although with me it's usually someone continuing to say the same thing over and over until I get it. "What are they feeling here? What do they want?"

    Yay for beta/CP readers. And yay for fixing problems.

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  24. Sometimes accidentally you find person to help or motivates you to create good story..

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