Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Trust The Reader

Many of you know that I am in a unique situation right now. I'm working exclusively with an agent on revisions to Relax, I'm a Ninja, but I'm not signed with this agent. I like to call my experience thus far "Writer's Finishing School." I've become a much more polished writer this year. Talking about what I've learned would take posts and posts worth, not to mention information I'm not at liberty to divulge currently.

But I did want to talk about one thing today, and it's something this incredibly intelligent agent pointed out very early on in the process. I wasn't trusting my reader.

What does that mean? It boils down to not trusting that your audience will "get" what you're trying to give them. This leads to over explaining and repetition, which is annoying to a smart reader (and guess what, I hear most readers are smart people).

I honestly had no clue I was doing this until I got it pointed out to me. After feeling like a total fool for about a day, I went to work on trusting my reader to understand the characters/story I was telling.

Revising Void, I'm once again ashamed at how repetitive my prose can be. It's like I'm beating the ideas to a pulp. I can hear my imaginary readers saying, "We get it already! Charles is a powerful wizard! Stacia is the favorite! Coral likes not having magic! For the love, I KNOW!"

One of my worst sins was explaining what was just said in dialogue. It's pretty bad at times. This example isn't from my work, but it's sadly close in some places:

"That's not a good idea," he said. He seemed sure we shouldn't go in the cave.

Uh...duh? At least I've given myself a ton of laughs editing. Just call me Captain Obvious. Anyway, I'm really grateful that I'm learning to trust my reader. It makes me sound like less of an idiot. Too many people already know how dumb I can be at times.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Fishy Saturday Sketch

Okay, I'll admit it. I like drawing mermaids—and faeries and elves and girls in pretty dresses. I try to pretend I'm tough, but I guess most girls have that princess-loving tiara side, too. Hey, I just have broad interests, right?

So, mermaid. Hope you like her. I don't think I've ever drawn one for the blog. Though I did draw a merpire for Carrie, which turned out pretty awesome seeing as I laughed the whole time. Good times, that.

The Big #10

I'll keep this short. I finished my 10th book yesterday! Transparent weighs in at a healthy 63,500 words, making it my shortest book, actually. I think I'm just getting more efficient and less indulgent in unnecessary information.

I'm really happy about that accomplishment, though I'm already thinking about the massive changes I need to make to the end. It's so...not climactic enough. I'll figure it out eventually. I really love this book, but onto the back burner it goes for a good simmer. Can't wait to pull it back to the front someday.

For the time being, it's back to Void! I was right in the middle of a massive edit when I had to change gears and work on the ninjas once again. I have about 33k left to rework and tighten. I'm looking forward to getting Coral's story in better shape. I think I might be happy enough with it after this round to print it out and line edit. Gasp.

Monday, June 8, 2009

More Proof of How Cool My Friends Are

That's right, folks, I have the coolest pack of friends around. Not sure how I got so lucky, but I am. Kasie "DJ Coolio Dealio" West has snagged herself an agent! So run on over and pat her on the back and squeal good tidings. I actually knew about this a while back, since I read an earlier version of Captivated, her now represented book. We've been slogging through revisions together, and I'm so happy that hers have ended in good fortune.

If you remember, I drew a pretty little fairy a while back. Yeah, that was Kasie's main character Elodie. She's awesome. Believe me, I know because I read the book, remember? Neener neener.

Congratulations, Kasie! Eat some pie for me or something. I'm gonna exercise, since I already downed half a pan of brownies this weekend. Oops. I guess I could just FEEL good news in the air. Yeah, that's my excuse.