Best of the Week: March 12, 2017 - Travis Senzaki

Best of the Week: March 12, 2017

text covered in red ink editing

I’ve been editing and re-writing, which are the skills I set out to practice with this short story project, but it’s slow going since I’m learning it as I go along.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming: sharing my favorite writing advice of the week (and cataloging it for my own future reference).

Writing Progress

This week, I finally got through the first round of edits in my short story. The goal of this pass was story consistency: Making sure I had a beginning, middle, end, and that the story stayed on target. I ended up having to rewrite the last scene entirely because it went off on a tangent. And the rest weren’t all that pretty either.

Scene Beats

I write in whatever time I can find between spending time with my kids, work, and other tasks (like trips to Malta). Some days, I have an uninterrupted hour to write. On others, I’m lucky to get 15 minutes.

I practically never get to finish a scene in one go. That means, I constantly run the danger of getting off course when I come back to my story each day, but I think I’ve found a way to combat that.

When I rewrote the final scene of my story, I sat down first and listed what had to happen. Then, when I sat down to write each day, I played connect-the-dots. The result is my favorite scene I’ve written so far. I’m going to keep up this approach as I move forward.

Books for Writers

Write to Market, by Chris Fox

Bear with me for a minute. I know there’s this perception about writing to market that it’s all about money at the expense of art. That’s not where I’m coming from.

I like the idea of writing to market for one reason: focus.

I want to write so many different stories. I have dozens of half-formed ideas bouncing around my head and don’t know what to choose. By going through the exercises in Chris’ book, I plan to choose which one to tackle first. The most important characteristic for a professional writer is to finish and publish books. I can’t do that if I’m bouncing from one shiny idea to the next, so this will help me settle on one to start with.

As Dostoyevsky’s “Grand Inquisitor” says, too much freedom to choose can be a bad thing.

Writing Career Advice

Balancing Writing in Multiple Sub-Genres

Writing All Over the Map: Leah Cutter’s Island Sampler – Leah Cutter
This goes along with the same theme as my interest in Write to Market: what to do next. Leah talks about wanting to write in multiple genres. Check. And how to go about prioritizing her projects. That’s the stuff.

Supposedly it was David Bowie who said, “It’s OK to do one for them and one for you.” He was talking about writing commercial songs and passion project. (I can’t back this up, but I like the idea anyway). In Leah’s model, she writes one story in the area where she has the biggest audience and then one in a smaller, slightly more out-there market. I think that sort of balance is critical to staying interested in your work and avoiding ruts.

Of course, first I have to get to the point where I can put out multiple books in a year, but that’s a great place to aim for in the future.

(Also, you can tell I’m not terribly excited by my editing process, since so many of my resources this week relate to what to do next!)

Writing Advice

Keep it Simple

9 Simple Tips for Writing With Clarity -Monica M. Clark

I am ruthless on tight language when it comes to editing non-fiction writing at work. My fiction could profit from the same red ink as I hit the edits in earnest.

Your Turn!

Tell my your favorite resources (or promote your own writing blog!) in the comments. If you have anything on editing, that would be particularly welcome this week,

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