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: Publishing Your Novel

Here we are. The final stage of the creative writing process. Publishing your novel.

We’ve outlined, written the first draft, revised, and edited… now it’s time to talk about publishing. Which, admittedly, is something I don’t know a whole lot about. So writing this post should be fun.

The Creative Writing Process Publishing Your Novel | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Publishing Advice | Self-Publishing | RachelPoli.com

The Various Methods of Publishing.

Publishing isn’t easy. It can be a long process and it takes a lot of hard work and dedication. With that said, I don’t know much about publishing in any sense. However, I’ve done a little research for myself though I’m still learning. This is just a bare minimum of the basics.

Traditional Publishing. This, in my opinion, is the hardest to get into. You need a lot of approval in order to do this. You need to query your book to many publishers before one decides to take you on. Most of the time, you’d query to an agent first. They’ll help sell your book to a publishing company. However, that’s just an extra step that can take just as long. With traditional publishing, you have a whole team working on your book. Which is definitely nice for you if you want to solely focus on writing the next book.

Self-Publishing. Similar to traditional publishing except you don’t need anyone’s approval other than your own. However, there’s no team working on your book unless you hire them yourself. On the other hand, you make all the decisions which is a nice freedom to have. Some people self-publish just to share their work and not necessarily use it as income as well. Some people see just having their book in the world a “success” rather than “selling” their book as a success. Self-publishing makes it easy to do that.

Wattpad. There are many websites that cater to creative writing. Wattpad is just one of the many that do. You’re not making money from your words, but you’re sharing your stories with the world and that’s just as wonderful. We all write for fun though some people prefer to publish right away on a place like Wattpad and get immediate response from their readers through the comments. I’ve seen some people get picked up by agents through these sites. I’ve also seen people use their audience as beta readers then take the story down, fix it up, and self-publish it.

Blog. So many people have blogs now and use that as a creative outlet to share their stories with the world. It’s similar to Wattpad, except it’s all you and you’re choosing what to put on the blog and when. Plus, all the audience is reading just your work and not browsing a database of all these other writers where they might see your name.

I wasn’t kidding when I said here’s the bare minimum of the basics… if you could call this basics. But there you have it. Once you decide on a goal for yourself and your writing, it’ll be that much easier to decide which publishing route to take.

If you’re published, what method did you use? If you’re planning to publish in the future, what route are you thinking of taking? 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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The Creative Writing Process: Outlining

When it comes to writing a lot of us just sit down and writing. Sometimes we think first, but for the most part we just go through the motions of writing a book.

But what are those motions?

There’s a thing called a creative writing process that we all follow whether we realize it or not.

Right off the bat, the first step of the creative writing process is optional. Some people would better this way, others don’t. Sometimes people do only half of step one and other people do it at a different time during the writing process of their novel.

Needless to say, this whole post can be kind of moot depending on your writing style. But whatever, here we go…

The Creative Writing Process Outlining | Novel Writing | Writing Tips | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Brainstorming. Prewriting. Outlining.

Whatever you want to call it, the first step is the basic idea of the novel. Technically, those three terms can mean different things, but hey – we all write our novels differently and in our own unique styles. So I’m counting this.

Brainstorming is producing ideas. You can list ideas for many different stories or ideas for events to happen in one story. These are simple ideas of things that could happen in your novel. It doesn’t mean it will actually come to fruition.

Prewriting and Outlining are similar. They sound exactly like their name – before you begin the actual first draft of your novel, you get the basic skeleton of the story down on paper. This can be as simple as filling out a few character charts or creating a mind map of major and minor plot events of the story. Sometimes it can be as in-depth as summarizing each chapter or bullet-listing chapters, characters, and ideas.

I guess it’s kind of like writing the first draft without all the filler stuff.

I personally enjoy outlining before writing the first draft. It helps me keep my thoughts organized. However, not everyone can work like that. So this step can often be skipped. Or, as I said earlier, this step may happen at another point in the creative writing process. I’ve outlined during writing the first draft a few times before and that works just fine for me. It kind of cuts out a step but I’m staying organized all the same.

Do you typically outline before writing the first draft? Or do you do this step at a different time or skip it all together? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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4 Tips To Writing An Emotional Scene

“Emotional” can mean a lot of different things. You can be filled with joy or sadness, anger or envy. Cry happy tears or sob distraught. Any scene can be emotional but for many different reasons. Depending on the emotion and the tension you can get different levels of emotion as well. So, here are some tips to writing an emotional scene.

4 tips to writing an emotional scene | creative writing | writing | emotional scenes | writing tips | blogging | RachelPoli.com

Make the emotion authentic

First and foremost, you can’t force emotion. Sometimes we don’t always cry at something sad or laugh out loud at something funny. When something emotional is happening, allow your characters to talk as how people would talk in real life. The message will come across to your readers and it’ll make your characters seem more real.

Less is more

Sometimes you don’t need a super long scene to make it emotional. Something short and sweet will do nicely. You don’t need to swell on it too long. Unless something else is going to happen that would advance the plot further, you don’t need to show off every moment of the funeral.

Use your own experiences

You know how to be happy. You know how to be scared and brave when it isn’t easy to be. Take those feelings and pour it into your characters. Again, less it more. You don’t need to describe every little detail, but it definitely helps to get the idea across the paper.

Show your feelings and tell them too

One piece of writing advice I’m sure everyone is familiar with is, “show, don’t tell.” I agree with that to some extent, but when it comes to feelings and emotional scenes, you can choose to show or tell them. Showing will give a subtle feel to the readers. However, it always helps to talk about our feelings. Allowing two characters to talk to one another and describe their feelings and why will certainly add some emotion to the reader. Sometimes a little bluntness can go a long way. It doesn’t need to be a long conversation, but it can be a start.

How do you convey emotional scenes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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4 Tips To Write An Action Scene

We’ve talked about different types of scenes and how there are different ways to go about writing a scene. However, what if you’re trying to write a particular kind of scene and you’ve never been in a fight before? Here’s some tips to write an action scene.

4 tips to writing an action scene | creative writing | writing | blogging | action scenes | RachelPoli.com

Research

There are so many research options out there. There’s the Internet, the library, and just reading books in your genre to see how other authors have done it. You can also go hands-on as well. If your character fights with a bow and arrow, find some archery classes in your area and see what it’s like for yourself.

Every action should advance the plot

If there’s a big battle, why? Why does the battle matter and why is it needed in the first place? You can’t have your characters fight for no reason or just for the sake of throwing some action into the mix.

Each fight should be unique from the others

Not all fights are the same. Even if you have multiple battles with the same enemy, no battle is the same. Fighting style may change, the approach to the battle will be different, and, of course, characters will die and you certainly can’t have the same character die twice, right? Well, I guess you could depending on what genre you’re writing… but hopefully you get my point.

Remember the aftermath

After every action scene whether it’s a fight or a heated argument or anything – there’s always consequences or some sort of aftermath – good or bad. Be sure to show that off.

What are some tips you have to write an action scene? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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21 Questions To Ask When Writing A Scene

To make sure the scenes in your novel are the best they can be, here are 21 questions to ask when writing a scene.

21 Questions to ask when writing a scene | creative writing | blogging | writing a scene | writing tips | RachelPoli.com

1. Does my scene have a strong hook to grab the reader’s attention?

2. Does my scene have a clear beginning, middle, high point, and end?

3. Is the end resolved or hanging?

4. Is the scene important to the plot? Does it move the plot along?

5. Is something revealed about any of the characters?

6. Does the scene showcase the setting at all?

7. Does the POV stay true throughout the whole scene? Is it clear who the POV character is?

8. Is there a good balance between dialogue and description?

9. Does the scene include sensory and texture detail?

10. Does the scene pick up where the last scene left off? Or is it clear time passed?

11. Is there a good transition or segway to the next scene?

12. Does the scene begin in a unique way from the few scenes before it?

13. Does the scene have any sort of twist or element of surprise? Is it meaningful enough for the themes of the book?

14. Has the inner and/or outer conflict been addressed in some way? Has it advanced the plot or any of the characters at all?

15. Does the scene have any lulls? Are there any boring words or overused words that need to be taken out?

16. Does the scene overwhelm the reader with too much detail? Does the scene have not enough detail?

17. Is the setting of the scene clear to the reader?

18. What are the stakes of the scene? What happens if the protagonist succeeds? What happens if the main character fails?

19. Is there enough action or tension to keep the reader reading?

20. Is there a good balance of emotion in the scene?

21. Do all the elements of the scene work together well to make the scene the best it can be?

Is there anything else I missed? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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Dos And Don’ts Of Writing Opening Scenes

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: each scene is unique from the rest. However, cliches and tropes are everywhere. There’s nothing wrong with them as long as they’re used in a unique way, a special way that tricks your readers into thinking it’s never been done before. With that said, there are some dos and don’ts of writing opening scenes.

Dos and Don'ts of writing opening scenes | Creative writing | blogging | scene writing | RachelPoli.com

Do

Start with the story you’re currently telling. Your readers came to find out what’s up with the blurb on the back of the book.

Don’t

Start with a dream or flashback sequence. Your protagonist doesn’t need to wake up from having the “same dream.”

Do

Open with some sort of action or conflict. Draw the readers in right away with some tension making them wonder what it’s all about.

Don’t

Open with too much scenery or talk about the weather. The description is good, but sometimes we don’t need to know it right away. It can easily be woven into the story throughout.

Do

Introduce the protagonist. Let the reader know right away who they’re going to be learning about, who they’re going to be journeying with and why they should care about that particular protagonist.

Don’t

Introduce too many characters at once. A couple characters can be introduced for sure, but you don’t want to bombard your readers with too many names.

I could go one with more dos and don’ts of writing opening scenes. But I won’t. In the end, you should take this advice with a grain of salt and do what you think is best for your book.

Do you have a few ways to write opening scenes? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around.

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5 Tips On Writing A Great Scene

Writing a scene isn’t as easy as it sounds. We write them automatically into our stories, but are we really writing the scenes to the best of our ability? Do they make sense to our readers? Do some scenes need to be included in the first place? Not one scene is the same from another, but the process can be similar. Here are some tips on writing a great scene.

5 Tips on writing a great scene | Creative Writing | Writing Tips | Scene writing | RachelPoli.com

1. Find the purpose

What’s the purpose of the scene? Where are your characters and why are they there? What are they doing and why? The scene needs to have a meaning behind it. It either needs to show some character development and/or move the plot forward. Or else, why would your audience care to read it?

2. Show the tension at the end

To go along with the purpose of the scene, something big must happen that transitions to the next scene. Usually, this is some sort of high moment that can leave the reader gasping. This can often be left at the end of the scene making the reader want to read on to the next scene or chapter.

3. Describe the inner and outer conflict

There’s always something going on in our minds, whether it’s positive thoughts or negative. Worry or wondering. Planning or daydreaming. Your characters have a purpose as does the plot. What’s the inner and outer conflict of the story? The scene can show off both or just one for the time being, but at least one should be addressed.

4. Express the characters’ emotional state

What happens in this scene that effects the characters? Something good or bad usually happens that changes the characters’ emotional state. It may add to their reason for doing what they’re doing in order to make the plot move forward. This can be something as simple as escaping from a following or something as drastic as a character death.

5. Detail sensory and texture clues

Painting the picture for your readers is key to having a well rounded, in-depth scene. Allow your audience to see, feel, smell, hear, and taste what your characters are feeling and seeing, etc. Bring your readers into the action beside the characters and allow them in your world.

Of course, there are many other things that can go into writing a scene. I personally feel as though these are the big ones. Each scene is unique from all the rest but they’re all made up of the same matter.

What do you include in your scenes? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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