Little Writing Lessons

Last week I did what is a fairly serious (for me) breakdown of what I have learned about "writing" a book. The big picture discoveries and so forth. I am just minutes or so from having Firetok ready to hit the market and it has me thinking. Imagine that. I want to do a little less formal mop up on a couple smaller aspects. As usual, if you agree, disagree or just would like to talk about it, let me know. I am more than happy to converse and increase my  knowledge. I also am continuously looking for people more intelligent than myself who have something to share. I want to hear from you.

Some of the little things I learned.
Really writing. I say just write. Take the time to write. Don't think about it, don't make a plan or any of that crap. Just write. I have experimented with outlines and it may be a workable strategy, but for now its seems a gateway to non writing detail addiction. I keep thinking about the outline, the shape I want it to take instead of letting a story which is fully formed in my head out. This has to be my strategy.  I pretend to speak for noone else but myself. The outline feels more like a collar around my neck. I see scenes in depth and detail and they are not part of my outline. It's like a tug of war with myself and my hands are getting rope burn.

Dialogue. Something which came out during the edit process by Sheri McInnis was the strength of the dialogue. I found this very interesting particularly due to my self criticism and inability to see anything I have done as acceptable. I thought about her comments on dialogue. What did I learn here? After I roughed out the story I went back repeatedly and out loud did the dialogue. I know what the characters sound like and I had to fight to get their voices on paper. This was a bit of a challenge due to dialect and trying to avoid too much of it. But my technique was that, have the conversations out loud and feel for authenticity. The characters come from different parts of the spectrum. Did their voice match their circumstance? Did it match the current situation? Was it consistent with other parts of their personality already revealed in the narrative? This is the feeling I am trying to convey when I clean up dialogue, and it takes quite a bit of redoing to get even close to what I would consider acceptable...

Reading Out Loud. This is something I learned years ago and have shared with only a couple close friends but it's not like I invented it. Read it out loud. Blog posts or my books, even Facebook posts, anything. You don't have to trust me here, if you aren't doing it already. Try it. I guarantee anything I write will not sound the way I intended when read out loud. Unfortunately this may be unique to me since the few people who really know me will admit I might be one of the most misunderstood people. My bluntness seems to read better than it goes over live. People in general want honesty in low doses and on their own terms. What kind of honesty is that? Back to reading aloud. You want to enhance the experience? Have someone read it out loud to you. Proceed with caution here. I have been so disgusted and verbally outspoken while using this process I have come close to getting hard objects thrown at me to quiet my objections. When I hear the words "do you want me to read this or not?" over my bitching, it's time to duck. This method might be best used with someone who REALLY loves you or someone you care absolutely nothing about. Bottom line. Hearing my words is getting pretty close to the final edit, an in house second opinion. Honestly, more than half the time I will say out loud, "is that what it really says?" Nothing sounds the same outside my head as it does inside, there is typically about a 90 some percent drop in quality during the transfer.

I know this list can go on and it will. I am not sure these are the most important little things but they were on my mind, in the meantime I will get back to the battle of letting the next Firetok episode out of my head.