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Laura Pauling | Category Archive | How I Write
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I admit. I’m jealous.

I’m talking about a wips tab here. Works-in-progress. That tab on the menu bar where authors share a little bit about their upcoming projects.

I admit. I get jealous. I stop by at blogs because I love seeing what other writers are up to, and I love soaking in new covers and the excitement that lies between the lines on an author’s post. It’s contagious. We can all use a bit of inspiration. I know I can. I also love hearing about works in progress.

And I would agree that talking about works in progress is a form of marketing. Sharing a cool premise or an enticing logline can build anticipation in your friends and potential readers. I would love to add a tab where I describe future projects.

Then I think about my production schedule.

The cool ideas that I’m itching to write. That I plan to write in 2014 and 2015. I should share them.

Except, every once in a while I completely ditch a story before it’s written or part way through. Sometimes an idea jumps the line. This happened last spring. In sudden inspiration, I wrote a story that haunted me and wouldn’t let go. And it’s now sitting. I haven’t looked at it since. Here’s the thing. I don’t know yet if and when I’ll publish it.

What if I talk about a work-in-progress and then the concept changes in rewrites, or I decide it needs to sit a bit longer? Or if I decide not to publish it? Then what?

Ah well, for now, I will continue on without a wip tab. Such is life.

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Indie Life and a FREE online conference!

When I made the decision to plunge into self-publishing in the fall of 2012. I felt many things. Exhilaration. Excitement. Fear.

I scoured blog posts when debating on my future. There were many helpful blog posts, but not near as many as there are today!

And something even bigger is on the horizon.

  • If you’re debating about your publishing future.
  • If you’ve started self-publishing but still have questions.
  • If you’re wondering about the best way to plan for this new venture.
  • If you’ve been winging it and need some solid business strategies.
  • Or if you’ve found success and are ready to go to the next level.

Then register for IndieRecon. Next week. February 19th-21st. A FREE online conference.

Yeah, that’s right. It’ll be nothing short of stupendous. Read the agenda here and the line up of successful Indies.

I’ll see you there with my post about middle grade and an interview with Sybil Nelson, author of the Priscilla the Great books.

And the best part? I’ll be wearing my jammies.

Head back to the Indelibles blog for other Indie Life posts!

Don’t forget to sign up for Indie-kissing blogfest for the 14th! ! Click on the picture in my sidebar to sign up! 

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Origins Blogfest. My first ever terrible no-good story.

Kinda cool. I don’t join many blogfests but I thought it would be fun to walk back in time to when I first started writing and why. And also read my fellow bloggers’ Origins stories. Check them out here. Thanks to the creator, DL Hammons.

For me it wasn’t about writing. I know, weird, right? I should have stories about how I wrote my first story at the age of one and knew that’s what I wanted to do my whole life.

But no.

I can say that I’ve always loved creating things to sell.

Go back in time: *cue music*

I lived in my favoritest house ever, the one with an attic filled with homemade gymnastics equipment, a huge sledding hill behind our barn, free sweet corn in the summer, a bike ride away from an ice cream store. The place where I’d create gymnastics routines and competitions with an old inner tube and one of the old metal swing sets that would now be condemned.

One summer I created my own line of cards. I made one for all the holidays with original artwork. I don’t think I ever tried to sell them but I had fun creating.

As I got older, I loved a good story, but I got lost in homework, friends, and later college. I loved creating lesson plans for students and teaching.

Fast Forward in time:

One year, I found myself married, substitute teaching, and farther away from friends. Somehow I ended up on the computer writing this terrible story. I scratched that and a couple years later my first full-length story starred the life of an ant. (I think because we had these horrible black ants in our first apartment.)

Henry always wanted to get ahead and be someone he wasn’t. When he got to the next stage, he’d complain about that stage. I found the life cycle of the ant fascinating. It ended with Henry realizing he was a Henrietta and a queen ant. And he/she still wasn’t happy.

I even decorated the borders of paper with ants and printed my story on that. #cornyIknow

But if I look back at that first story, it holds elements I still love. Secret identities. A bit of history. A main character discovering his/her true self. Humor.

I’d love to say I jumped in and then wrote my first novel and started querying. But it took longer.

Even farther in time:

About seven years ago, I’d watch movies and just get this feeling. I call it the story aura. It was really the desire to create stories and write.

I gave it a lot of thought, took the plunge, and never looked back!

And now my first short story in the IN HIS EYES anthology will be released on Valentine’s Day. And my first YA novel, A SPY LIKE ME, will be released in spring of 2012.

Kinda cool. I promise, I didn’t doodle spies in the border!

Now I’m off to see how others got their start.

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How I Write: The big black hole (or an open post)

(Click here for a list of participating writers)

What? I have to think up an idea for today’s How I Write post? Okay, fine.

I want to talk about the nitty gritty. The bleeding eyeball work known as revision. Not macro. Not rewrites. Not adjusting your plot arc, or character arc, or deleting a scene. Think smaller.

I’m talking sentences and words. Just as beginner writers aren’t sure how to approach revision, some might not be aware of the art of fine tuning the words on the page. (I’m still a student of crafting sentences that impact your story and character, and probably always will be. I don’t think it ever ends.)

I’ve mentioned Margie Lawson. Her courses are not about plot but about the sentences. And how to write sentences that impact your story. And today, Ansha is covering Margie’s classes more in depth. So hop on over, and then check out Margie’s online courses (or self-paced packets) – if you are looking to improve the power behind your sentences.

Thanks to Ansha for creating this summer writing series that forced all of us to really examine our writing process! She put a lot of work behind coming up with the post ideas, recruiting writers, creating the banner, and uniting all of us. Thanks Ansha! And thanks to all the participating writers. I loved learning from all of you!

Tell the truth time – how many of you truly examine every sentence and paragraph in the final steps of your revision process? Or do you just do a read through for awkward and poorly written ones?

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How I Write: How to grow in craft between novels.

Forget about between novels! How about between first draft and revising? And revising again. And throw in a total rewrite! How do we make sure we’re bringing something new to the table keyboard.

Write. Write. Write.

Pretty vague, huh? I think so too. More specifically: free writing, journal writing, writing exercises, writing prompts, letters or diaries from your main character – nothing can take the place of real writing.

Read. Read. Read.

Again, kinda vague. I read a lot too but it wasn’t necessarily improving my craft by leaps and bounds. But there are a few, okay more than a few, books that increased my knowledge of putting words to paper so people want to read them.

Drum roll, please. Or not.

  • Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King (Packed full of good stuff esp. for newbie writers and great reminders for the more experienced.)
  • Story by Robert McKee (OMG Totally awesome! It’s a book filled with screen writing tips and those seem to be the best kind. A bit technical – but loaded with storytelling basics!)
  • Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (Clearly he is the guru of writing craft books, even though I consistently forget the second ‘s’ in his last name. Sorry Mr. Maass. From tension to conflict to characters to making your writing BIG – this is a great resource)
  • Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. (As an experienced writer I didn’t get as much from the entire book. But there were a couple chapters on scenes and micro tension that made it worth it. In fact, one chapter steered my revision process in a completetly new way.)
  • Scene and Structure by Jack Bickham (This book doesn’t seem to get mentioned a lot. But it breaks down how to use the scene and sequel for pacing. And pacing is a huge reason manuscripts get rejected. – okay I don’t know the break down of why manuscripts get rejected for sure, but it seems pacing can be a bugger.) 

Did you know Jody Hedlund has a page listing books on craft? Check it out. I have to pick and choose which craft books to read or I’d never write.

And this wonderfully interesting amazing post on craft books and classes I’ve taken (not many) would not be complete without mentioning Margie Lawson. I purchased her packet for Empowering Characters’ Emotions and her Deep Edits system. Both worth it. You will be a better writer after her courses.

And, let’s see how many other things I can throw at you. Along with the read, read, read thing is the ‘read and break down, read and break down’ thing. Learning by breaking down published books. Check out Alexandra Sokoloff for details. And check out my post on Dissecting Frogs on the topic.

So, wow, about 400 words later, it’s time to wrap this baby up. What do you do in the inbetween to make sure you are growing as a writer?

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