George And Me

In yesterday’s post, I discussed how every author puts a little bit of themselves (or something from their life) into their novels. For me, there are numerous things I throw into my novels that are inspired by true things in life. I won’t spill all my secrets, so for now I’ll just explain my good friend George Florence.

20150115_170826George, my protagonist, is a 30-year-old laid-off detective trying to make a place for himself in the world while doing what he loves: helping people and fighting crime.

Being a police officer was something I wanted to do when I was very young. Even when I knew I wanted to be a teacher and writer, I still had a spot in my mind that wanted to be a cop. I wanted to be a teacher since I was six-years-old because of my first grade teacher. I wanted to be a writer since I was ten-years-old because of Kris. Where did this cop thing come from? I have no idea.

When I was little I was always fascinated with that sort of thing. I remember I had a spy kit with handcuffs, a decoder, a notepad, and–the best part–rear-view sunglasses. I was always trying to solve “mysteries” around the house. One time, Kris and I eavesdropped on my mom’s phone call because we were looking for “evidence” in our case, “Mom’s Cooking: Real or Take-Out?” I can’t remember how old we were, but I wish I did.

However despite my fascination, I never pursued it for a plethora of reasons. I’m tiny and have no upper body strength, I can’t stand loud noises, I’m squeamish, and I’m not good under pressure. I just don’t think it wouldn’t have worked out. Of course you never know until you try, but I think when I discovered teaching/writing, my heart changed its mind.

I have written a few novels. Most of them are fantasy-ish with the main characters having super powers. A couple of them are cliche high school drama stories. Each one of those manuscripts (five of them total) are still on the first draft. I congratulate myself for completing a novel, but editing them is just not something I have the motivation to do.

20150115_170900Then I created George. He was a silly character started in a yellow notebook a few years ago at Barnes and Noble when I didn’t know what else to write.

I say he was a “silly” character because that’s entirely what he was. He was originally a detective who did well at his job, but had no common sense whatsoever. He was comical. I didn’t expect to go anywhere with it, but I liked the story. I wrote 32 notebook pages before I stopped and moved onto something else.

Who knew that years later George would rise to the surface and be who he is today?

Unlike my other novels, I completed a first draft easily and then had the urge to edit it right away. I want to continue his story. I want to write more books about him. I want to publish them all. Needless to say, I think I have found my genre for writing.

Funny how it turned out to be a secret passion of mine.

It’s also funny because George was inspired by Phoenix Wright, a character from the Ace Attorney video game series. I played those games and wanted to write my own mysteries and decided to revive George as my main man.

Of course… now that I write this post I realize that George wasn’t originally based off of Phoenix Wright. He was based off of me.

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Typing A New Draft

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If you have ever edited a manuscript before, then I’m sure you said, “that’s totally me!” the moment you saw the above picture.

Kris and I go to Barnes & Noble every Saturday morning. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been hand editing Detective Florence 2 and I have to admit that I have made that face quite a lot. I mean a lot.

I finished editing it, so now I have to type up the edits only to print that out and start all over again. As you type a new draft it’s almost like doing another edit. Not only are you reading the words in your head looking for mistakes, but you’re reading the words, writing them, and looking at them on page and on screen. When I say “look” at them, I mean you’re looking at the words at what they really are. You’re not looking for words that are misspelled or misplaced.

You know how people always say, “you’ll find it when you’re not looking for it?” I think editing kind of works that way.

As I type up my new draft, I start to realize… my edits need edits.

The Second Draft

First is the worst, second is the… best?

As many of you know, I am currently working on the second draft of a Detective Florence novel. I hand-edited the first draft and now I’m re-typing it as the second draft.

What is a second draft?

Well, the second draft can mean many things to different people. It could be…

  • The first official edit of the first draft
  • The first official re-write of the first draft
  • The first realization that your novel is not in fact the next “greatest American” one

Second drafts exist (more or less) so that editors, agents, and publishers do not go insane. If writers were able to send out their first drafts then everyone in the world would be a published author. Also, the world would be filled with many terrible books.

Editing Second Drafts

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Some people see their second drafts as editing opportunities. By editing, I mean looking through the first draft with a magnifying glass searching for misplaced commas, spelling errors, and the occasional silly typo.

Not all people do this, but I have seen some work through their second drafts like this. I don’t completely agree with that because there are so many aspects about the novel that are going to change in later drafts. In other words, there will also be spelling and grammatical errors to search for. Why not look for them all at once on your final draft whether it’s the seventh draft or the 20th?

I mean, let’s be honest: you can find all the technical errors you want and polish the draft to make it absolutely perfect. However, when you read that fifth chapter you’ll most likely say to yourself, “Oops… plot hole!” or “Why does this character have blue eyes when he had brown eyes back in the first chapter?”

Rewriting Second Drafts

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In my opinion, rewriting second drafts get you farther than just simple editing. Rewriting means you look more in depth at the plot of the story:

–What questions need to be answered by the end of the novel?
–Do all the plot points connect well with one another?
–Overall, does the plot make sense? Is it realistic (as realistic as fiction goes)?

It means you look closer at the characters you’ve created:

–Does each personality stand out from the rest?
–Will my readers be able to picture each character uniquely?
–Does each character develop throughout the course of the novel?

Rewriting also means you look into the world you’ve created whether it’s made up…

–Will my readers feel as though they’ve visited such a unique, fictional world?
–Will they have the urge to visit this land?
–Is the world well thought-out and planned?

…Or whether it’s a true place:

–Have I done my research on this state/country?
–Will readers be impressed with my interpretation if they live/have visited this real life place?

A second draft should be your first attempt at perfecting the story as a whole. It should–to be blunt–drive you crazy.

The Honeymoon Phase is Over

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So, you’ve completed your first draft of your novel… yay! Go you! You’re one step closer to being a published author. That is, until you realize what exactly you’ve written.

As you write the first draft, you think to yourself, “This is fantastic! It’s my best work yet! Publishers are going to be all over this manuscript!”

It’s great to be positive and to string yourself along and all, but once you start working on that second draft that bubble pops. You feel incompetent, you feel as though you’ll never make it as a writer, you may even feel a bit depressed. You’ll say to yourself, “How in the world did I believe this novel was the absolute best?”

It’s normal to feel that way. In fact, it’s good to feel that way. By getting yourself out of the honeymoon phase, you become a real writer. You realize where you need to go from there. You realize what you have to do in order to make that “great first draft” become a better final draft.

The second draft of a novel is, in my opinion, the most crucial part of writing. Sure, writing a first draft is essential to getting started, but the second draft is truly where the work begins. Once you make it through the second draft, the rest of the drafts–whether there’s five or 50–seem easier than the one before it.

Once you make it through the second draft, your novel is finally on its way.

Related Articles:

What You Need To Know About Your Second Draft
How To Write A Second Draft
The Crash: Braving Your Second Draft

Cutting Out Extra Words… Or Pages

I typed up about 12 pages of the second draft of Detective Florence today. That puts me in a small lead since I’m supposed to do ten pages a day. I keeping thinking it would be nice to do extra pages and I probably will every once in a while, but… today is not that day.

I ended up doing two extra pages because three of the pages had the note written on them: “Simplify or take it out!”

Would you like to know what the three pages were about? Well, it was George laying out all his notes about the current case he’s working on. In other words, he summarized the entire novel from start up until that point. Um… why do we need a summary when we just read it all? There is no good answer to that question.

I wrote the first draft for NaNoWriMo 2013 so it’s obvious that I was stuck and just needed the extra words. That certainly worked at the time, but now I need to think about quality over quantity.

I ended up “simplifying” instead of taking it out completely. My mind may change in later drafts, but as of right now I think it’s a good move.

George was writing notes in am attempt to organize the events of the current cases (yes, there’s two mysteries going on). He added in a lot of extra stuff that no one needs to be reminded of, not even him. So I reworded it all so that he made a list of questions. You know, the standard who, what, where, when, why, how. He answered the ones he could and left questions blank that he didn’t know.

This definitely helped me keep everything in check. It was kind of like writing a list of plot questions that I need to remember to answer by the end of the book. I’m sure it will help keep the reader focused and organized as well. Plus, I’m sure real detectives sit at their desks and organize their thoughts like that all the time. Mysteries are a big headache.

Rewriting that bit took me from three pages to about four paragraphs which is just shy of a full page. So… yeah, I was clearly trying to boost my word count for NaNo.

I’m on page 156 in the second draft which is about 20 pages shorter than the first draft. It doesn’t seem like I cut out much, but I’m sure there will still be more cutting left; especially in later drafts. I’m sure there will even be some scenes that get cut, then brought back, then cut again.

Like I said, I reworded that scene because I think it’s a good idea now. However, when I’m on my Nth draft I may think it was a stupid idea and end up cutting it completely.

One just never knows.

Homework Complete

Aside from editing my story draft for my Fiction class and editing my Harry Potter essay for my Rowling & Tolkien class (both due in two weeks, so… whatever), I have completed my homework for the week!

One week’s worth of homework for four classes done in two days. I would like to complain and say it was a struggle, but it actually wasn’t. For some reason, I just didn’t get a lot of homework this week. Maybe it’s because next week we have off due to Thanksgiving? Whatever the reason, I’ll be sure to say I’m thankful for the lack of homework this week at the dinner table next week.

I’m busy after work for the rest of this week, but I’ll be sure to write every morning before work. I get up super early so I have an hour and a half/two hours before work. I’m behind on my word count, but if I can stay focused for those few hours for the next three mornings I’ll catch up no problem.

Saturday will be another Barnes & Noble writing date with my sister. I’m sure I’ll get a lot done then, too. Maybe I can even hit 50k by Sunday. Can I write 22k in five days?

If it happens, it happens. I’m not going to make it a goal. As much as I love writing, I want to take advantage of the lack of homework–it’s almost like getting two weeks off from school.

I have video games to play, people!

My priorities are clearly right where they should be…

In all seriousness though, I plan on hitting 50k by Thanksgiving. That gives me eight days to write 22k. It will be nice if I can do it in five, but eight days is my current goal.

Hopefully not everyone else is behind like me!

Writing Schedule

I am happy to announce that I have finally come up with a plan for myself for my writing! Well… at least until the end of 2014.

For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to figure out Detective Florence. There are a lot of things I need to work on for both the first novel and the second, plus I need to write the third. Of course, I think the third novel is going to end up being the ending of the second novel, but for the sake of being more confused than I all ready am, I’m going to write it as though the story is it’s own novel.

As much as I don’t like editing, I figured I need to spend between now and November to edit. November will be used to write the third novel. In other words, I gave myself a deadline of November first.

I all ready edited Detective Florence during the month of June so I could write the sequel for Camp NaNo in July. With that being said, for the rest of August I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence. I’m giving myself a whole month to do this because it’s all ready the ninth and in a week I’m going on vacation for a week (I’ll explain more about that on a later date).

For September, I’m going to edit the first draft of Detective Florence 2. Both school and work will start up again so this will be interesting to see.

In October, I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence 2 and outline Detective Florence 3. I’m hoping to have the entire outline done as well as have all the questions answered. I also hope the novel (and the whole trilogy) will make enough sense so editing won’t be that bad.

November, of course will be spent writing Detective Florence 3 for NaNoWriMo. I think it’s funny that it’s been almost a year since I started the series.

I came up with the idea for Detective Florence a long time ago and started writing it in a notebook. All the characters were different except for Detective Florence himself, but he had a completely different personality. I can’t remember when I wrote it because I didn’t date it (I’m kicking myself for that one), but there’s about 31 pages written before I stopped. Maybe someday I’ll post a bit of it on here so we can all get a good laugh.

Of course, I may use that case and characters in another Detective Florence novel. Who knows? I have way too many ideas for these characters all ready.

I finally got it in my head again and I wrote it for November 2013’s NaNoWriMo. I’m pretty sure I hit 50k words on day 17, but I didn’t finish the whole novel until the end of December (or early January). Now a year later I’m going to be writing the third book.

Anyway, for this upcoming December, I’m not sure yet, but I might be editing the first Detective Florence again to give myself a break from writing the third one. Then I’ll either rotate editing through the series or I’ll edit one book at a time. It depends on if the outlines for all three novels makes sense and are in order with each other. So, December is up in the air for now, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

For now, I have plenty to do before November first.

Camp NaNoWriMo April 2014

Camp NaNo

 

I have been anticipating this day since the first day of March. I told myself I was going to edit a novel during the month of March and I did! Hunter is in the process of being re-typed as a second draft. So, that’s that.

I wanted to have plenty of time to plan for Camp NaNoWriMo. I knew what novel I wanted to write, but I didn’t have it planned out. I literally finished editing Hunter on March 30. Then I spent all day yesterday (March 31) doing homework. I worked until 2:30 then got the majority of this week’s homework done because I wanted the first week of Camp to be a productive one.

Would you like to know something sad, though? I went into work yesterday and they asked me, “Are you available every day this week and next week?” I said yes because I need the money, but of course it would happen during NaNo…not to mention this month I have my cousin’s birthday, my father’s birthday, Easter, planning for my sister’s upcoming wedding, homework, and now work on top of it. But, it’ll be good to practice my time-managing skills.

Anyway, I’m writing Diary of a Killer for Camp. I’m sure most of you know I have a completed novel called Diary of a Lover. No, this is not a sequel. It’s a complete different set of characters in a different setting. The only similarity is the title because they are both written in “diary” format. Each chapter is a new diary entry. Oh, they have psychology in common, as well. Of course, I know nothing of psychology so a lot of research will be required, so…this will be fun.

I didn’t get a chance to plan it so when I started writing after work today all I had was the title and that was it. I didn’t even have the protagonist’s name…I didn’t even know the gender. In case you’re all wondering, it’s a boy! Yay, congratulations! As I wrote the first chapter, I started coming up with ideas for the novel, so I’m hoping everything will work out. I’m also summarizing each chapter as I write them to help keep the plot in line as well as for when I finally edit it. Hopefully that will do some good when I research things, too.

I will post a summary soon…ish. I have to actually write one first. 😉

For all of you doing NaNo, good luck! And I hope you reached above and beyond the word goal (I got 2,002 words today). If you guys are participating, feel free to add me as a buddy on NaNo (Fiery_Sapphire) and also let me know your word count and what you’re writing. I’m very interested! 🙂

Ready…Set…

…Wait A Minute…

 

My laptop is fixed. The internet is fixed. The only thing that sucks about it is that it killed my battery…that thing used to last five-six hours. The other day it was at 50% which apparently is now 33 minutes…but whatever! I have to be thankful that the thing actually works again, right? Right! My flash drive is officially gone, but…think positive! Oh, and the printer still won’t work…again, think positive!

Except I haven’t written anything…I haven’t really had the time. Except I’m stuck at school today for a little bit and I don’t have work today. Well, I’m babysitting today, but that’s only for two hours unlike work. Anyway, here is my point: I have to leave for class in about an hour or so, so I think I’m going to begin writing again. Start fresh. Clean slate. After class, which ends at 11:45, but I have a test so I’ll probably be out of there by at least 11:30, I may write again. Although I have a meeting with my advisor at 12:30, so I might just hang around until then. But when the meeting is over, I’m stuck at school until at least 1:45 before my friend drives me home so I can write after the meeting! Although, my friend has a test as well so I might actually get out of here fairly early…

Anyway, I then babysit 3-5ish and then when I come home: BAM! I’m breaking out my typing fingers again. The other day when I pasted “Sad News” I had the hardest time writing it…wanna know why? I hadn’t typed in so long because I hadn’t been in school and I hadn’t been able to use my laptop because of the internet, and I hadn’t been writing at all. My fingers basically forgot how to type. It really was sad news. I’m having a hard time typing now, but I think that’s because my fingers are frozen.

Back on topic: I’m going to write at any moment I can…or any moment I can get to a computer. When I come home from babysitting, I’ll write. And I shall write all night! I’m not going to school tomorrow, even though I have a math quiz.

Everyone has heard of this blizzard that we’re going to get, correct? It’s starting Friday morning and ending Saturday afternoon. I don’t know where any of you are, but in my area we’re going to be getting about two feet of snow as well as some really harsh winds. I doubt I’m going to have school tomorrow, but if I do, the roads and such are probably going to be terrible by the time I get out of class. My class tomorrow is 9-10:15. So I think I’m just going to skip regardless of whether there is school or not. My main concern is work. Fridays I work 11-6 so if my town doesn’t close school, then I’m going to have to go to work…if it is bad then it will be a good thing I skip school because otherwise my poor dad would have to drive all the way to my school and then all the way back to our town to drop me off at work. I live about 20 minutes away from my school, but that’s without traffic and such. With the snow…it would probably take over an hour just to get there.

But again…back on topic: Basically I’m going to be home all day tomorrow, Friday. I highly doubt I’ll have school and work, but we’ll just have to wait and see. I’m praying I won’t have work. But since I’ll be home all day with nothing to do, I’m going to write all day. Saturday, too. It’ll still be snowing and I never do anything on Saturdays anyway, so I can just write all day. I think it’s going to be a very productive weekend!

My only concern is that if the power goes out…considering that my laptop only lasts probably a little over an hour now, I’ll be screwed. Although, I have plenty of notebooks I can resort to, but typing is a lot faster. Plus, I have my iPod and I have apps called DraftPad and A Novel Idea. I’ve explained A Novel Idea before, it basically helps you plan out scenes, titles, characters, plots, etc. It’s really cool, really fancy, and free. DraftPad, another free app, is a blank piece of paper and you just write anything and everything. Then when you’re done, you can post it to a website, Facebook, Twitter, e-mail it to yourself, whatever. So I could use that and e-mail it to myself in case the power comes back on. Then I can start where I left off. But then if my iPod dies…eh, whatever.

So I’m planning a productive weekend and I hope it’s productive for all of you people out there, as well! If you’re in the area and you’re going to get hit by this storm…be careful and good luck! I’ll post back tomorrow morning with how well I’m about to do with writing. 🙂

Not Productive

Today Was A Bust…

 

Today my sister and I went to Barnes and Noble. We went about our normal routine; we went to Dunkin’ Donuts for breakfast, Starbucks for drinks, and Barnes and Noble to write. However, we weren’t there for any more than an hour when my dad called. We switched from Verizon to Comcast today and with Comet and Chip at home, he didn’t want to shut them in the bedroom and listen to them bark all afternoon. My sister and I ended up going home and taking the dogs to Nanny’s house where we stayed for about an hour and a half. They have no wi-fi, either so we couldn’t work on our writing at all.

By then, the guy was still at our house, but I had to go to work. So we went back to my house, leaving the dogs, I grabbed my things and went to work. When I got home from work, I had to re-connect the internet and now my laptop is being extremely slow. I assume it’s just trying to get used to the new connection, or I’m hoping so anyway. However, I am in no mood to write now.

While we were at Barnes and Noble, I did write a tiny bit, but it was under 1,000 words. And I never wrote yesterday, so I feel like I’m a bit behind. And because of that, I’m beginning to get annoyed at my writing. I have three novels completed and never bothered to edit any of them.

Well, that’s not true. I’m on the seventh draft of Diary of a Lover, but I never once edited Hunter, which I finished back in August of 2011. Saving Each Other I just finished less than a month ago, so I’m not going to get back into that just yet…I’m kind of sick of those characters.

However, I do have three children’s books that are completed, edited and all, but I don’t bother trying to get them published. Why? I don’t know. That’s what I think I’m going to do when I finish this post. I think I’m going to try searching for publishers and such. At least if I get those three children’s books out there, I would get my foot in the door for whenever I publish a novel, the extra money would be a plus, and maybe it would motivate me a little more to get something else out there.

I asked my sister to edit Hunter the other day. She hasn’t started, yet, but I’m hoping that once she edits it, it will motivate me to edit it and keep at it. Honestly, I wrote that so long ago I don’t even remember what happens in the book. It’s quite sad.

I told myself that, because I’m so into The Blank Page right now, I’m going to finish it. Then once I finish it, I’m going to work strictly on editing for a little while. I know my new year’s resolution was to write more, but editing is a big part of writing, even if I’m not adding word after word after word. It’ll suck because I absolutely hate editing, but if it needs to get done, then I’m going to get it done.

I’m not going to write anymore tonight because I am just not in the mood and I know if I force myself, I’m going to mess up the entire novel. Hopefully, I’ll get back into it tomorrow morning. I had a good routine going: I woke up early every morning, worked on my websites for a bit, wrote for an hour, and then posted on here. I have not done that since Tuesday…but Tuesday I had no school and no work and nothing to do, so I kind of wanted to take advantage of the fact that I could have stayed in bed for the entire day. With all the crap I have been doing lately, no one can blame me for that.

On a good note, I did start my resolution about reading more. Does everyone know the series Warriors by Erin Hunter? Well, there are so many books that I have lost count, but I do have most of them. I have read a few, but I decided to re-read them…especially because one of my RPG websites are based after this series. Last year, I read the first five books, so I decided to start reading them again starting with the sixth book. If I didn’t have work or anything else going on in my life right now, I would have finished it the day I started it. But we’ll take baby steps.

I’ll talk to you all tomorrow…hopefully after I write for an hour. I have work at 1:30 tomorrow, so if I get up early enough maybe I can do a little extra. That would be nice!

 

2013: 13,645 Words Written
2013: 183 Pages Read