Friday, December 16, 2011

Editing Begins

     I have been putting off editing my book for some time. I did want to put a little time and space between my finishing the book and when I began the editing process, but for some reason, I dreaded the start of the process. I think I may have been fooling myself, believing that it was going to be good enough, but not wanting to face the problems the book obviously has. Last night, I had a moment when trying (and failing) to fall asleep where I wanted to scrap nearly the whole thing.
     The book is better than that. I have read that it is much better and easier to fix a bad page rather than start with a blank one, and I agree with that.
     After just four pages, my manuscript was covered in red marks (I may change colors to something a bit less depressing than purple of green). Most of it is just minor changes to punch up the wording; to make things more clear; to make sure the story is being shown, not simply told. I wrote my first draft so quickly (29 days) that there are a lot of problems with my writing, because I didn't edit as I went.
     This is just the beginning. I enjoyed editing more than I thought I would. I think it is much easier to do it on a printed manuscript than it would be on computer screen.

Here are some of the major things I am looking for on my first run through:
  • Clear writing
  • Making sure verbs are present tense
  • Good dialogue mechanics (this needed a lot of work)
  • Believable dialogue
  • Strong voice both from characters and in narration
  • Making sure I SHOW not tell.
After all of that, I will clean up my manuscript and send it out for more people to read. After all the writing is better, I can focus more on changes to plot that I need to make.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

How I became a WRITER

I have spent a lot of time and money to be a librarian. I have a Masters to show for my work, but not a job as a librarian. The market is tough, especially in libraries. I am thankful to have a decent job in a mailroom, but it is definitely not library work.

My freshman year in college at Ball State University, I started out as a double major in English and Marketing. I have always loved books, which is why I chose English. I have also always been interested in advertising, which is why I chose marketing. I wanted something that was marketable, something that would hopefully lead to me having a job, which is why I wanted a double major. I knew a BA in English was not likely to be too helpful on the job front. After my first day in Economics my freshman year, I dropped the marketing major to focus on English. I hated the class, the focus on money. I just wanted to learn, to read, to study great works of literature.

After my freshman year, I left Ball State. I didn't want to go to college anymore, I wanted to go to film school. I love movies and I wanted to be a writer/director. Creating art was something I desperately wanted to accomplish. I love all types of movies, all genres. Upon really thinking about it, and learning how much film school costs, I decided not to apply to any schools. I didn't want to do something that I would fail at. Even if I was great, a job in the film industry is VERY hard to get. I didn't want to be anything but the writer/director. I wanted to accomplish my vision, not helping to create someone elses.

I went to community college my sophomore year, then to Anderson University for my Junior and Senior year where I graduated with a BA in English. My plan was to then work. But, I missed school way too much, and wasn't ready for the real world. It was 2008, I should have gotten a job while there still were some. I rushed a late application to Kent State for their MLIS (Master of Library and Information Science) program. I was accepted, and started in the fall.

In the summer of '09, between the two years of my program, the bottom fell out of the economy completely and the OH state budget for public libraries (my specialty) was slashed. Libraries cut jobs and went of hiring freezes. I wanted to work with Teens in public libraries. I love YA lately. Some of the best books written today are in YA.

Since graduating in May, 2010, I haven't found work as a librarian, not even part-time work. I worked a few temp jobs, and now I work in a mailroom in a large law firm. I enjoy that my job doesn't frustrate me, and it pays the bills (barely), so I am thankful for that. I now have the time to write.

For years, I have wanted to write, but I never started (outside of school). I don't really know why. I guess it is easy to dream about things, and not do them. Finally, this October, I decided I would finally do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I have wanted to do Nano for years, but never did. I didn't want to try and fail. I didn't just try this year, I succeeded.

My book, Going Public, definitely needs editing, something I am starting soon, but I am proud of my accomplishment. I now know that I can write. Nothing is going to stop me from pursuing this dream now. I am glad that I can write and edit while also working a full time job. I am certain that something will come of it. This is just the beginning of my journey as a writer. Soon, I will be a published author.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Building a Platform

Aside from editing my book, working, seeing movies, and reading, I am also trying to build a platform for me as a writer. I have read that it is important to build a community and to put your name out there in the publishing world. I need to try to have my voice heard above some of the many others who are out there. To accomplish this, I started this blog and joined Twitter (@TperiodKyle). I am following as many authors and publishing professionals as I can. They offer so much advice. Plus, they link to their blogs and articles that offer more tips and tricks. The amount of information I come across of twitter is truly astounding.

I try to read as many of these posts and blogs as I can, but I only have so much time. I hope to continue to build my platform. Continuing to write my blog, post on twitter, and read read read. I want to meet other people like me, and people who are much farther in their journey than I am.

I know that there is more to writing than just a good book. With the way the modern society is with technology and social networking, it is important to market yourself. I hope to have a great book and a community of people that want to read it.

I know this is just the beginning. I have so much hard work ahead of me. But, I look forward to the journey. I look forward to editing my book and breathing new and more complex life into it. I look forward to making friends, reading posts, replying to tweets. It's fun. I want it to be my life. Right now, my job prevents me from putting as much into it as I would like, but that's okay. That's now.

Trying out Twitter embedding

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Starting the Editing Process

Since finishing my novel (now titled Going Public) at the end of November, I haven't touched it. My fiance is reading it now, and making some notes as he goes, but I haven't touched it. I have read a few of his notes, and talked about it with him, but I can't read it just yet.

I have instead been reading  Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King. I have learned a lot from this single book, and it is sure to be an invaluable tool for me. Now that I am almost finished with that book, I will soon be reading and editing my novel. That's still a strange thought to me. I wrote a novel. An entire book that people can read. Granted, it needs lots of work, as I didn't edit much as I went along.

I know things that need work. I wrote it in present tense, and sometimes I slipped out of that. My dialogue mechanics need work, as does the actual dialogue. I also need to add some scene setting, showing more of what is around my characters.

Overall, I think I like the structure and story, so I can't see that changing much in the second draft. After I am finished with my second draft, I will have a few more read it to see what the strengths and weaknesses are before I do my third draft. After that, I will probably begin the long query process.

Until then, I will continue to tweet (@TperiodKyle) and blog to get my name out there and connect with publishing professionals (editors & literary agents), and my fellow writers (both published and unpublished).

Monday, December 12, 2011

In a reading funk

Reading is something I usually do really well...until lately. I need to read more. I am a bit creatively exhausted, which has kept me from reading. But one thing I know is that reading is extremely important for writers. Writers read. That's extremely important.

My funks come and go, but I always hate them went they come.

The other day, I read the first couple of chapters of The Tiger's Wife and I loved it. It even made me cry, but I haven't picked up the marvelous book yet.

Aside from reading my own work, which I need to do soon, I hope to begin reading again soon.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thoughts on My Week with Marilyn

Tonight, I saw My Week with Marilyn.  Aside from being a really entertaining look at the making of The Prince and the Showgirl from the eyes of the Third Assistant Director, Colin Clark. Colin is a twenty-three year old that desperately wants to work in the entertainment industry. Through determination and family connections, he finds work with Sir Lawrence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe. The performances in the film from Branagh and Williams are Oscar worthy.

I see some of myself in Colin, definitely not the wanting to sleep with Marilyn part. He longs to work in the entertainment industry, as I do. I want to create art, and be surrounded by people who also create art. I want to give something to the world, inspire people, encourage people, help people through life.

I am doing my best now to become a writer. I wrote my first draft, now comes the hard work, making it good enough to get published.

And so it began...

I want to document my journey from being an unpublished author to hopefully someday being a published one. That is what this blog and my Twitter (@TperiodKyle) is going to accomplish.

My book started last month when I decided to try NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for the first time. It is an event billed as "thirty days and nights of literary abandon!" The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 short days in November. I have considered doing it the past few years, but never took the time to do it.

I did not want to fail, so I didn't start. But this year, I did it. In October, I made a brief plan, came up with an idea and became determined to do it. I got up early everyday and wrote before work. This is my first major writing project outside of school. I found it easy. The words, the characters, the stories, they flowed out of me with little trouble. By the 29th of the month, I was finished with my debut novel, Woodrow.

Completing the first draft of my novel is the first step in a long journey. I now have to edit over and over again; immerse myself in the literary and publishing world; relentlessly promote myself and try to make a name for myself; and keep writing.

I can do this.