Monday, March 7, 2016

The Writing Game—#Open Book Blog Hop

This week on the Blog Hop we're talking about the writing game, and how it works in our world.

I'd written essays throughout grade, but the first short story I remember writing was in eighth grade. It was a class assignment, and I was inspired by a book I'd read a few days before. It had an "open ending" where I didn't spell out the finishing action in detail, trying to get the reader to the point where they would understand what had happened without me actually saying it. My teacher hated it.

That incident didn't destroy my desire to write. In high school, I found my voice in poetry, and wrote poetry for years. Some of it was pretty good—good enough to be published in national magazines.

But just as I've had to recreate myself in terms of paid jobs, I got to a point where I needed to recreate myself in terms of writing.Some stories floating around in my head wouldn't become a poem no matter how I played them. So I wrote a book. On paper. By hand. Then I rewrote it. Again on paper.

I decided it wasn't half-bad, but not good enough. So I started another book. Again, by hand, On paper. And it was better.

And I was hooked. I haven't stopped writing books since. Although I have made the switch to writing my stories on a computer. It's so much easier to edit that way.

So how do I do it?

I get a lot of inspiration for my stories from dreams. The basis for both the Free Wolves series and the Oak Grove Mysteries came from little snatches of dreams. Of course, those little snippets grew into much more as I listened to my characters and let them tell me their stories. I never expected Tasha from Wolves' Pawn to demand her own book, but she did. That's where Wolves' Knight came from.

Unlike some other writers, I write the entire first draft of my book in progress before I start editing. That's because sometimes my characters surprise me as I write there stories. I didn't plan for the romance in Wolves' Knight to end up like it did, so I had to go back and change some of the action in the beginning.

And as I've mentioned before, I really did plan to have Eli in The Marquesa's Necklace be a ghost. But Harmony wouldn't put up with it. So he became a real man. (Well, as real as a character in a book can be!)

Once the story is complete, it's time for the real work to begin. Editing. I use an online tool to help me with the first round of edits. It points out overused words, bad grammar, run-on sentences and a wealth of other errors.

Once I've thoroughly beat up my manuscript, I'm ready to allow other eyes to see it. Because other people will spot things I've missed. There's a website called Critique Circle, where I can get anonymous feedback from writers from all over the world. I also have developed connections with other writers and we exchange critiques.

When I've beat up my story for a second time with their help, it's time for a third round of editing. That's done by listening to my story being read out loud. Not by me, (Well, sometimes I read it to myself) but by the built in voice of my iPad. Hearing the words alerts me to things that had been missed by more traditional methods of editing.

Once that's done, it's time to let  my work go. But usually I have another story working in my brain just waiting for me to write it. (Right now I have two stories waiting, and two in progress. Is that crazy?)

If you have any questions, please leave it in the comments. I'll get back to you as quickly as possible.

To find out what other authors have to say, follow the links below.

#OpenBook #Writing

March 7 – Behind the scenes post. How does this writing game get done in your world?

1. Link your blog to this hop.
2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants' blogs.
4. Tweet/or share each person's blog post. Use ?#?OpenBook? when tweeting.
5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

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  1. Thanks for sharing P.J. I have found a few mistakes in my work through listening to producers narrating my audio books. It definitely helps to hear your book read aloud.

  2. It's hard work, getting a book to where others will enjoy reading it. I like that analogy of "beating it up".

  3. I am admire your persistence, PJ and thanks for sharing your experience with Critique Circle. I signed on with the group but have not used it. Will definitely give it a try. Happy Writing!

  4. I'm amazed at your patience to write in long hand, with a pencil. My brain goes much too fast for that. Good for you P.j. I like your books very much, so what you're doing is working.