Then it hit me, part of the storyline was so unbelievable that it threw everything else off. Once I realized what the problem was, ideas for fixing it seemed to fly from the ether.
Now, of course comes the hard part, major rewrite. I think these changes will make the story better than it was. I just have to do the work.
Eventually after looking at where they died and what was happening, I figured out why they died. The stories were missing something vital.
Now, this was when I was slogging through it on my own. I didn't need any darned book on writing. I was already writing. You heard it here first. I admit I was completely, totally WRONG!
If I'd have been less stubborn, I wouldn't have had to slog through unfinished manuscripts for months trying to find out where I went wrong. I could have simply opened one or two books and read a little. I'd have also learned about helpful things like character description charts and basic outlining.
Before I write anything now, I do a basic outline, nothing too involved. Just the characters' problems, what gets in their way both personal and external conflict, and the resolution. I don't know the exact way the book will end. I let the characters tell me that, but I know I have the basics to get there.
Now, if you're a newbie writer, don't be stubborn. Get the writing books. Or at least check them out from the library. You'll find some of them very valuable.
As for my blog, can you see the changes I've tried to make? If I didn't make a mistake, there should be an image in the profile picture box and a thumbnail of the Primal Quest cover at the bottom of the side bar.
Some feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Now, I have to go wrestle with those characters.
If you're going to create a fantasy world or futuristic society, you'd better be prepared to explain it. I know you're rolling your eyes or saying, "Well, duh, of course you have to explain it." But it's not the big stuff that will get you. And the big hurdle is you have to explain it without cutting into the story line too much. You don't want too much explanation interfering with the flow of the action.
You're the writer. You live, eat, breathe and sleep this world (or worlds). You know everything from how many suns revolve around it to the name and ancestry of the first emperor of the ruling dynasty. You know the history and you know the motivation behind each and every move your hero and heroine make. And your very closeness to this subject makes it all too easy to leave out something critical.
Here's a list of things I've learned through editing my manuscript and comments made by my editor.
- If you're not ready to explain a particular characteristic of your world or it's inhabitants, don't introduce it. If you introduce it and don't explain it, you're going to leave readers with annoying questions. And remember one of your first readers will be your editor. Leaving him or her with too many questions is not good.
- If your hero and heroine share a bond, of any kind, be prepared to explain how it formed and why. If your hero can sense your heroine, explain why. Maybe he took her blood or maybe he's a psychic. The same applies if your writing a m/m scene or a menage or if the her or heroine has a symbiote. How did they come to be linked to each other? What does this link mean?
- If your hero and heroine share a past, be prepared to go into the details, at least a little. If you're going to have your heroine spitting venom at him, vowing never to trust him again or threatening to cut off pertinent parts of his anatomy, you need some details. As an avid reader, I can tell you that "They had bad history" just doesn't cut it. I want to know why she's so mad at him. Otherwise, it just looks like she's overreacting.
- If your hero or heroine is shapeshifter, be prepared to explain and describe what he/she can turn into. Be prepared to explain how he/she is different from a human. Do they have markings? What do those markings look like and where are they? Are they ten feet tall? Are they immortal? How long do they live? Do they exude pheromones?
- If you're going to say it takes a certain number of bites, injections, envenomations or whatever to turn someone from a human into something else, keep it consistent, especially if it's going to be part of a series. You will be called on it at a later time, if not by your editor, then by a reader who found the mistake.
- If you're going to use alien terminology, be prepared to define it. (I forget to do this sometimes.)
- If you bring in any history of your hero or heroine's people, be prepared to explain it and why it's significant.
That's it for now.