My Creative Writing Process

We’ve talked a lot about the creative writing process this month so I thought I would share my creative writing process.

My Creative Writing Process | Creative Writing | Writing | Writing Tips | Novel Writing | RachelPoli.com

Outlining

I go back and forth with my outlining process. Sometimes I outline before but sometimes I outline during. I used to always summarize what I wanted to happen in each chapter and then it would change during the writing process of the first draft.

Now I usually outline just the basics. Plot points I’d like to happen, random ideas, a list of characters and places, and the like. While I write my first draft, I summarize each chapter. This makes the editing process so much easier for me in the long run.

Writing

I give myself about a month to write the first draft. This is all thanks to NaNoWriMo. Some people don’t agree with it, but I believe that the first draft is just you telling yourself the story. If it’s a bunch of gibberish, at least you got the bare bones down. So I typically spend about 30 days writing 2,000 words a day to get the first draft done. Then the real writing begins.

RevisingEditing

I’ll admit… until I just did the research for this month’s blog posts, I though revision and editing were one in the same. So I guess I should take a look at how I do things.

Still, I’ve gotten into a good routine with my editing. I’ve been using the rainbow editing method for the last few drafts of my various manuscripts and it’s been working really well for me. It helps me zero-in on certain aspects I need to focus on. Editing is not as difficult as it used to be for me.

Publishing

Yeah, I’m still figuring this one out.

What’s your writing process look like? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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WIP Wednesday [September 2018]

September has pretty much come and gone in the blink of an eye. Sure, we still have a week or so left of the month, but it’s going to officially be fall sooner rather than later. So, here’s what I’ve been working on this month.

WIP Wednesday September 2018 | Work in Progress | Creative Writing | Writing | Novels | RachelPoli.com

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

This is still a thing. I’m currently still in the editing stages but I’m trying to come up with a schedule so I’m able to fully complete it by a certain deadline. I’m not quite sure when that deadline will be just yet though. So far so good though. I don’t have too much to say on it other than that it’s going well. Slow, but well.

Patreon Project

This is still a thing as well. My current round of editing is almost done. I’ll be announcing this project in full soon. By soon, I mean next week. In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning about it now, you can check out my Patreon page.

Overall, I’m still trying to balance my time between writing and blogging and everything else. I’m hoping, come October, I’ll be in the better routine and have a better idea of my goals with these projects.

What projects are you currently working on? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Creative Writing Process: Editing Your Novel

Ah, editing your novel. This is the moment some people live for and other people dread. After you revise your novel, it’s time to write the next draft. Compile it all together again so it looks nice and pretty. Then you can tear it a part again!

Editing your novel isn’t an easy task and there’s no telling how many drafts you’ll need in order to edit the book to be as perfect as it can be.

The Creative Writing Process Editing Your Novel | Revision | Editing | Novel Writing | Writing Tips | RachelPoli.com

The different types of editing your novel.

If editing were easy, it wouldn’t take nearly as long to get a book out onto shelves. There are many different kinds of editing to do for your manuscript and can happen at different stages as well. Not to mention, at some point along the way, you’re going to want to hire a professional editor to look it over as well. Plus maybe beta readers and proofreading and… you get the picture.

Developmental Editing. This type of editing is the big one where you look at character development, the overall plot, dialogue, pacing, and more. I find this one takes the longest and is the hardest. There may be a lot of things you need to change. Sometimes you change something only to change it back or have to change something else as well. It can get messy, but will be worth it.

Line Editing. This is what it sounds like. You’re editing line by line reading each sentence individually. Is it needed? Does it aid the plot, character, or setting? If it doesn’t, maybe take it out.

Proofreading. This should always be done last. Once the story is good to go, no plot holes, no messy characters, proofreading should be done. This is looking for simple spelling and grammar mistakes, typos, making sure the tense stays true throughout, and more.

There’s a lot more that goes into editing and there are many different ways to go about it. It will take a while to get into a groove with it, but you’ll soon find a rhythm.

How do you tackle editing your novel? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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The Creative Writing Process: Revising Your Novel

For a long time I thought revising and editing were one in the same. I thought revision was a fancier term for editing. I guess, in a way, revising your novel is editing. However, it can be a lot more in-depth than editing – even though there’s a lot of different forms of editing.

Let’s just lay it all out now – writing a novel is confusing, guys.

The Creative Writing Process Revising Your Novel | Revision Process | Editing | Novel Writing | Writing Tips | RachelPoli.com

Revising your novel.

This is something that’s great to do after writing the first draft. The first draft is usually (always) a mess and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. You get new ideas and improve some old ideas while writing the first draft as well. The revision process helps with all of that.

I’ve heard of the A.R.R.R. method (it actually sounds like an author name or pen name). While this is all something that you can do in the various editing stages, this method will truly help in revising your novel and dig deep into the story and structure.

Add. You can add words – scenes, new/different characters, places, etc. There are many different word lengths of a story that classifies it as a short story, novella, novel, and more. A novel is typically between 60,000 – 100,000 words (though it varies depending on genre, audience, and just who you ask in general). If you don’t have enough words, maybe there’s something missing in your story. Or, maybe it’s just not meant to be a novel. Experiment with it.

Remove. The opposite of adding words, of course. There may be a lot of filler that you’re able to cut out. If certain scenes are drowning on too long, you can cut them down and make them more precise so not to bore your readers with too many unneeded details.

Replace. When you remove something, can you replace it with something else? Do you need to replace it with something else or is it fine to just go away? You can replace certain vocabulary words as well to make a description stronger.

Rearrange. This is the one that I think I use the most. There’s a lot to play around with in a novel. Some scenes don’t exactly fit where you originally put them. Sometimes a whole chapter can be moved to earlier or later in the book. There’s a conversation between my two protagonists on page 80 and I decided that conversation would be better suited as an ending to the book. It sounds weird, but sometimes rearranging it helps bring new (and better) ideas to light. Revising your novel is like a puzzle.

What are some things you do when you revise? Do you use the A.R.R.R. method or just go with it? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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WIP Wednesday [July 2018]

So here we are. Halfway through July, which means we’re halfway through 2018. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m going to continue making the most of each day and work hard toward my goals. I have a lot I want to accomplish this year. Here’s how I’m doing so far.

WIP Wednesday July 2018 | Creative Writing | Novel Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Camp NaNoWriMo

We’re almost done with our second and final Camp NaNo session for the year. For me, I have about a week left of writing since I’ll be going on vacation the last week of the month.

I’m counting hours this month, which is something I’ve never done before. I’m editing and my goal was to edit about 2 hours a day (one hour for each project). It totaled to about 44 hours (I forget how I calculated it) and that was too much.

A lot has happened this month in real life and things have been busy. Plus, counting hours is really unmotivating. I don’t know why. I thought counting hours would be easy since it usually takes me an hour to write 2,000 words. It takes me an hour to get through a chapter of editing (sometimes). But for some reason, when counting hours, I just stare at the clock and can’t wait until I can stop writing to go play video games.

So, I dropped my hours from 44 to 31 so that I have to do an hour a day. That’s been more doable for me, though I do have a get a little ahead since I won’t be doing anything next week. Still, things are going much smoother.

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

It’s back to the drawing board with this one. I started off the month editing, changed a bunch of stuff (meaning, the way the plot is executed) and now I’ve written myself into a hole. I was retyping the last draft I edited and I can’t go much further because I’ve changed too much. I have to completely rewrite about 80% of the novel.

This book just won’t end. Did you know I’ve been working on this since 2011? This will be the third time I’ve had to do a complete rewrite.

I feel I’m getting close though. I’ve started the outlining and planning process again trying to decide what to keep and what needs to be changed. I’m looking at the novel with a different approach. Hopefully, this is just what I need to finally complete this novel.

Please, let this be it.

Patreon Project

I’m also in the editing stages of another project. I can’t say too much on this project yet as it’s exclusive for my patrons on Patreon at the moment.

If you want to learn more about the project, I encourage you to check out my Patreon where you can support the project for as little as $1 a month.

What’s in it for you if it’s only temporarily exclusive to my patrons? Well, for one they already know what the project is and they get sneak peeks of my process and where I currently am in production of the said project.

Plus, when the project is released, my patrons will get some special goodies as a special thank you for supporting me and my creative work.

You can check out my Patreon here.

What projects are you currently working on? Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Another Camp NaNoWriMo Session Has Arrived

2018 has been zipping by and we’re already into our second and final Camp NaNoWriMo session for the year. I’m not working on as much as I did during the April session, but my plate is still pretty full.

Another Camp NaNoWriMo Session | Creative Writing | Editing | Novel Writing | RachelPoli.com

I’m spending the month editing more rather than writing. I have so many projects that need some TLC rather than me adding a new project to my ever-growing list.

This month, I’m not even counting words either. I’m recording my progress by hours, which is something I’ve never done before. I’m working on two projects and have aimed to work one hour a day on each, which is two hours a day.

Even though we’re only 5 days into the month, I’ve already gotten behind. There has been a lot of life stuff happening so yesterday and today I’ve aimed to work for four hours instead of two. So far, it’s been working and I’m sure I’ll catch up in no time.

As I said, I’m working on two projects this month.

George Florence & The Perfect Alibi

Yes, this one again. I’ve changed a lot so I’m retyping the last draft I edited while editing it some more and editing my edits. I’m planning on one more round of editing before prepping it to be released into the world.

Secret Patreon Project

I’m working on something new, something that’s already in the editing stage. This is a special project for my patrons over at Patreon. Anyone who supports me over there, even if it’s as little as $1, will get an exclusive look at the project as I work on it as well as some fun goodies when all is said and done. If you want to know more, feel free to check out my Patreon. The money helps me keep this blog running as well as allow me to do what I love for a living. So if you enjoy my writing or any content I post here, please consider supporting me. You’ll get fun rewards based on your tier and it’s a great exclusive community for me to get to know you guys better.

So that’s that. Two projects are in the editing stages, both are almost done with the editing. (I think. We’ll see how it goes.)

It’s going to be a busy month, but progress is happening!

What are you working on this month for Camp NaNo? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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My Camp NaNoWriMo Projects [April 2018]

My Camp NaNoWriMo Projects | April 2018 | Camp NaNo | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

It’s Camp NaNoWriMo time! As usual, I overbooked myself. Camp is so flexible with projects and word counts that I decided to get as much done as possible. Of course, I had forgotten I’m going on vacation in the middle of the month… Still, any progress is progress so I’m keeping my goals. Challenge accepted.

  • Edit George Florence – Change of plans with this one. I was going to rewrite the draft. I thought it was already edited, but apparently, just the first chapter was edited. Good job, Rachel.
  • Write Perplexed – My goal to write one more short story for this mystery collection.
  • Write Short Story Sunday – For the past couple of years, I’ve been using Camp NaNo to write the flash fiction for this blog in bulk. I have 27 more stories to write for 2018 so I plan on finishing them all.
  • Outline Brave (working title) – My next Wattpad story is another fantasy, though it won’t be anything like The Scribe. There will be dragons and it’ll be great.
  • Publish Take Over – My second Wattpad story will be going live on Monday, April 23. It’s all set to go, but since I’ll be going on vacation for a week and there’s no schedule button on Wattpad (that I’ve seen at least) I decided to wait until the end of the month. So look forward to that!

So, yeah. April is going to be a busy month when it comes to writing. I created a calendar and decided what to work on each day and I calculated the daily word count out so I can miss a week due to my vacation.

But I’ll be talking more about that calendar tomorrow… Wish me luck!

What are you writing this month? How’s Camp going so far? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Using The Rainbow Editing Method [Editing]

We all know that I’m not the best at self-editing. I’ve gotten better over the years, but I tend to end up proofreading rather than editing. I know what I want to fix but can’t figure out how to fix it. So I skip it to “deal with it later.” And that’s not good for any writer and their novel.

I’ve decided to give myself a good kick and really make 2018 count. No more “prep” for this or that and then never following through. I like to think I’m a hard worker, but I’m pretty slow. I think I’m ready at this point to finally do something about my writing and I think it shows in my editing.

Using The Rainbow Editing Method | RachelPoli.com

A few months ago I talked about Rainbow Editing your manuscript. It’s all about using various colors for different parts of your novel. For example, I use the colors in the following way:

Red – Typos, spelling, grammar
Orange – Dialogue, description, pacing, tenses, etc.
Green – Plot changes
Blue – Character development
Purple – Research and fact-checking
Pink – Overall structure, vocabulary/word replacement, etc.

I started using this method to edit The Scribe this month and I can’t express how impressed I am that it’s working for me.

Instead of losing steam after 10 pages, I edited over 60 in one sitting. Which, admittedly, is a big deal for me. My manuscript is marked up with mostly orange, green, and blue with a little red, purple, and pink sprinkled in. I’m cutting probably about 75% of the story, so the majority of the pages are filled with a giant green X.

I think this method helps me focus on one thing at a time rather than looking at the whole picture and getting overwhelmed. And no, I don’t go through a chapter six times in a row for each individual color, I look at each page, each paragraph, and think to myself, “what’s not working here?”

After I mark up a paragraph or a few with green and/or orange, I look back at it making sure the character development makes sense, that the paragraph should be in that spot, etc.

It’s hard to explain, but it actually works and I have to say I’m impressed.

It’s a slow process, but it definitely helps. The pages of my manuscript are so colorful and maybe I just get easily distracted by pretty things that it’s holding my attention more: “How much color can I splash on this page?”

In all seriousness, I have to rewrite more than half of this story, which I’m in the process of. So… it’s going.

I still have about two weeks to finish the rewrite and give it another good edit. I still plan on publishing the story onto Wattpad in January. So, wish me luck!

Are you editing your NaNoWriMo novel right now? Do you try different editing methods or tend to stick with a certain way? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

WIP Wednesday: December 2017

We’re already about halfway through December. I had a lot of projects lined up for this month in an attempt to get myself prepared and ready for January and beyond in the new year.

I’ve been working extra hard and, surprisingly, it’s been going well.

What am I currently working on?

THE SCRIBE

I’m currently working on two projects right now. One is The Scribe, which was my NaNoWriMo novel last month. I’m currently editing it, hoping to finish the first draft by Friday so I can retype/rewrite it.

As I’ve been editing, I’ve realized a lot of things… not necessarily wrong, but just didn’t quite fit. In other words, I have to rewrite the entire beginning, so… we’ll see how that goes.

Hopefully, that will be done this week because I also hope to get through the second draft by the end of the month.

UNWRITTEN

I’m also editing another novel, Unwritten. I wrote that for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. I’ve been submitting a chapter to my local writer’s group each month. I’m finally getting around to looking at their feedback.

I’m going to edit the chapters I’ve received feedback for and edit the rest as well. So for the new year, my group should be reading the second draft material.

What’s the easiest part?

I actually have a good schedule down. I created a calendar for December and wrote in what I want to work on which days. I’ve been using Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Fridays to edit. I aim to edit each piece for at least two hours a day. While the process has been a bit slower than I would like, I’m making progress, so there’s no room for complaints.

What’s the hardest part?

I decided to do all this in December. The first week was slow because I had so many other things going on such as catching up with old friends and early Christmas parties.

Still, we’re about halfway through the month and I’ve been making good progress. So we’ll just have to see how the rest of the month goes!

What are you currently working on? What are your goals? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

Should You Outline Short Stories?

How many times have I talked about outlining on this blog? Too many to count most likely.

I personally love outlining. I’m a super organized person in real life and a tad OCD about things. That goes the same for my novels.

Outlining isn’t for everyone, but it can be used as a means for editing. That’s why I’m asking this question…

Should you outline short stories?

When I outline my novels, I make a list of characters, a list of plot points, summarize each chapter, and then bullet scene by scene. I also make a list of editing points as I write the first draft.

I’ll be honest, I’ve never outlined a short story before. When I write short stories, I tend to base them off a writing prompt I found somewhere on the Internet or I’ve created myself. Then I just start to write and somehow I end up with a short story.

Then the editing comes along and then… what?

There’s a short story I wrote a long time ago. It was for one of my creative writing classes in college. (I’ve been out of college for two and a half years, so… it’s been a while.)

Since writing it, I’ve edited it, and edited it, and edited it. I’ve submitted it to contests and magazines, but haven’t gotten anywhere with it. Still, I’m not giving up on it. In fact, I’m waiting to hear back from a magazine about it at the time of writing this post.

I submitted it to another place this past August. That story I sent in was the seventh draft. Yes, 7.

It’s grown a lot in the past few years. Did I outline it when I first wrote it? No. Did I outline it when editing? Yes.

Why bother outlining a short story… especially when it’s already been written?

Like I said, I love outlining. But I don’t outline my short stories because I just tend to roll with it. I have noticed that outlining the story after it’s written can be a huge help to editing.

I’ve been saying it a lot this week and that’s to keep your short stories simple and to the point. Only add in important aspects about the plot. Give detail, but not filler.

Outlining your short story is prep for the editing process.

  • What’s important?
  • What drives the plot forward?
  • What can I afford to cut out, if needed?

Create a list of characters and write down their purpose. Are they all needed?

Bullet-list each scene and briefly summarize what happens. Is each scene important and paying its rent to the plot? Do some scenes have too much information or not enough? If not enough, is it really needed?

I did this for my short story and gave it one last edit before shipping it off to my writer’s group a few months ago. A car accident happens in the story and everyone agreed that I had put too much detail into that scene.

They said that when you get into a car accident (to the extent in the story), you’re not looking at your surroundings describing the scenery. Especially not if you have big injuries.

Looking at their feedback and then looking at my outline, I was able to easily pinpoint and judge what was too much in that scene. I cut a lot of it out and rewrote what remained. Reading the story now, I agree that it’s much better and flows nicely. Plus, the less description added more tension.

So, should you outline your short stories?

It’s still up to you, but it definitely doesn’t hurt. I know everyone works differently, but this has helped me.

Maybe it’ll help you too.

Do you outline your short stories? Do you outline any of your writing? Let me know what you think in the comments below!