Adding chapters is just really weird.
A very incomplete list of things to remember when submitting your manuscript. This is by no means a complete list.
One of the last rounds of editing: Reading it out loud. It’s horrifically embarrassing if you do it too early on in the writing process, but as I’m just about done, it didn’t turn out too bad. Just a few more tweaks left and off it goes!
You can find the guidelines for the Sword and Laser Anthology here:
Editing is hard. I think anyone who has ever written anything knows that. Recently, though, I have found something even harder than coming up with something better than whatever horrible turn of phrase I used originally and try to figure out what made me think it was any good in the first place.
Editing on a time limit.
I currently aim to get the whole thing done and in to my editors by March, which isn’t much time anymore. Not now that I have a day job.
Oh yeah. I got one of those. Yay!
It does eat into your editing time, though. A lot. Where before I’d have all day every day to work on things, I now have about an hour in the evening and the weekends, which get eaten up by having a bit of a social life and, of course, other ventures. So what’s a girl to do?
Well, write on the phone. I’m not kidding. I’ve been replotting and working on the stories on my phone during my breaks and on transit. I got one that can do that and it’s been helping. Not as much as actually getting time to sit down and write, of course, but I’m still getting a lot done.
Well, when I’m not procrastinating by blogging.
I’ve mentioned Syndicate before. It’s the book I’m working on. I’ve also mentioned that I love some of the transmedia stuff out there to extend the story. What I haven’t mentioned is that I used to play D&D1 and have an unnatural love for Paranoia.
I came across an article2 talking about making your stories into RPGs for some cross promotion if it’s applicable. I did my usual thing and ignored the cross promotion aspect, instead going back and thinking about these stories I’ve made. And you know what? Syndicate could work.
Over the course of the series, there are a lot of things that get introduced to the story universe. There’s a system of magic for different types of people, there’s things that could be called classes, theoretical stats and campaigns. Every quest is essentially a dungeon crawl if you look at it right, but there’s opportunities for much more story driven campaigns as well.
The only issue is that it’s really more of a single player game as the universe stands now. I focus a lot on the freelancers and they aren’t all that keen on getting a group together and splitting the profits in the end. Sure, it happens. It doesn’t happen often enough, though.3
However, at the end of the series, Wipe happens.4 After Wipe happens and things start moving from there, the universe opens up a little more to multiple and single person campaigns. There are more enemies, more chances for random encounters, more of just about everything that would make the world a lot more dangerous to play in, and therefore more fun.
Granted, I’m sure there’s plenty you could do with the universe now, but I rather enjoy the prospects of a land fraught with danger than an organization that people have to report to.
I might have to make the game, is what I’m saying. Eventually. Once I do my research and get the stories themselves written. But one day, you may see the game out there.
First off, I got work! Hold for applause… no? All right. There is one thing about the job that’s a bit troublesome, though. The commute. I’m on transit three hours a day, sometimes three and a half when the trains and buses are particularly slow or traffic hits. Most of my friends have expressed their condolences on the trip already, but I don’t see too much of a problem with it.
After all, I have a laptop.
In the mornings, I write. Every morning. Just like they say you’re supposed to. I get on the skytrain at the ungodly early hours of the morning, open up the laptop and have my very own little solo transit write in. It’s a good forty-five minutes of writing in the morning. I can work on new stuff, rewrite old stuff or just babble.
Honestly, though, I do find myself babbling in the mornings more than anything else. While I do try to write something I can use, sometimes my brain doesn’t have that kick start yet. And then there are mornings like this one, where I am coherent enough to write something that might actually be seen by another living human.
Other mornings I’ve worked on developing story concepts so that they make sense. Some of them I can’t make sense of while fully awake, so it works out wonderfully. I’ve spent a lot of mornings getting the details of a project figured out. My comic project (one of them) is just about ironed out to plot. Which, I have to admit, is really exciting.
Last week I wrote Xombie at last. It’s not actually on my to do list of writing, but I’ve been wanting to write it for a while anyway. It’s a lovely little story in the Syndicate series about – well, I guess you can find out when it actually comes out.
And then there’s the benefit all this transit has on Transit, that story I’m writing in a decade when I think I’ll be ready to write it. That story takes place mostly on transit told from the half perspective of someone who is on the trains and buses all the time. This is all excellent research for that one.
I am still trying to figure out my evenings, but my mornings are working out pretty well so far. And the new job is something I won’t be talking too much about, so don’t expect work rants in the future. In the mean time, however, I still have several stops and I think I know a story that needs details ironed out.
It’s time for the inevitable writer’s links post whereby I list a bunch of sites that I like as a writer. I think it’s pretty standard and I should probably get it out of the way now. Let’s get started!
Great for the first stage of research. If I ever need to look up the basics of something, I usually check Wikipedia first so I can get a good grip on what the subject is before I go out looking for more information that might not be explained so plainly. Also, it usually has good links to more information.
Given that I deal with a lot of weird themes, Snopes is a must have for me. It’s a site that lists common urban legends along with verifying them or disproving them as the case may be. It’s actually full of pretty fascinating stuff and lots of story sparks also come from here.
Be warned, once you start you may fall victim to TV Tropes and be stuck on there all day. Despite it’s name, TV Tropes lists all sorts of tropes used in fiction, as well as examples of where to find them. It’s always nice to get an indexed example of who is using what techniques in storytelling, as well as getting a few ideas of things to try in the future.
Slang can be hard, but it can also be essential to some of your characters. Urban Dictionary is a great source of information on slang terms and how they are supposed to be used.
My go to random generator site. If I just need something quick, it’s usually got a generator for that.
Names are hard. When I have an idea of what I’m going to name a character, but don’t know what to do with that idea, this one’s a big help.
If I have no idea what to name a character, or if I just need a name quickly and at random, I use this one.
I’m working on a book right now. Syndicate is one of those weird concepts that I had that was never supposed to exist. It was supposed to be a universe that appeared as setup for a whole different story that took place in a completely different place, but then I started getting idea after idea for it. And then I started writing those ideas down as several short stories.
The funny thing was, the story didn’t focus around any particular characters or story lines. Sure, there were recurring characters and bits of longer plot threads that popped up here and there amidst the shorts, and a few characters definitely got more attention than others, but this thing I was writing wasn’t a novel. It wasn’t even really a sequence of shorts because, try as I might, these stories needed one another and were going to come as a group.
It’s around this time I learned about the novel in story format (Which appears to no longer exist according to Wikipedia) via more unconventional means. By that, I mean I watched an anime called Boogiepop Phantom, which more or less illustrates what I’d started to create.
A novel in story is a format whereby each chapter reads like it could be a self contained story centring around a central setting, person or possibly theme. The stories are told sometimes linearly, sometimes in an anachronic order, however the author chooses to tell them. When put together, they create a more complete story, though ideally they will all hold up individually as well.
These shorts will sometimes even connect directly to one another via an overlapping character or crossover scenes told from different perspectives. When writing, it’s a little tricky to make sure the details of the scenes still fit, but if it works it usually works as a bit of an “Aha!” moment for the reader who recognizes both. That, and it helps to put the stories in time line context of one another.
Myself and Boogiepop Phantom aren’t the only ones to do this, though admittedly I haven’t found many more. The comic series and Sin City have done this as well. As for books, it’s a little hard to tell because anything that suggests itself as a collection of shorts usually is categorized as an anthology regardless of the context.
The question then becomes: What is the difference between an anthology and a novel in story?
For me, I think it’s those little details in creating crossovers between chapters, episodes, issues or stories. When the parts all really feel like they were meant to fit together somehow and not just written separately, then grouped together because of similar theme.
Now that I’ve seen it in video and comic format, though, I would like to see what other authors are doing with the format. Does anyone out there have any suggestions?
There are two types of writers, or so they say. Pantsers and plotters.
A pantser is someone who starts writing and keeps writing straight through until the end of the book, making no plans in the mean time and letting the story take them where they will take them. It’s a somewhat stressful, yet still pretty fun way of writing, hoping that you encounter no problems but if you do, you can go with your instinct and keep going as you want.
A plotter is someone who plans out their story before they sit down to paper and get writing. They come up with characters, plot and any little details they think they’re going to need while they’re writing. They know the ending already and they go at their writing without worrying about not knowing where things are going, instead running into the trouble of their story taking on a very different turn than they want to go in that isn’t a part of the plot.
I’m a plotter myself. I tend to get ideas when I’m in the midst of working on something else and jot it down when I can, then let it stew in the back of my mind until I have a little time. From there, I work out what needs to happen in the plot, some semblance of an ending and the main characters. I also get a notebook for the project so I have a space to jot down any further ideas and have a dedicated stack of paper to write on while I’m working on a project.
Still, I do like a little spontaneity when I’m writing. As such, my plots tend to consist of only about 3 pages of points I have to hit in order. I don’t plan out how they get from point to point and I don’t plan out characters outside of the main cast. Even those characters are subject to change as I’m writing, as are the plot points. I find doing this keeps things interesting enough that I don’t get bored while I’m writing.
What about you guys? Are you pantsers or plotters?
I’ve been having fun doing these Fiction Friday prompts. There’s just one issue I’ve been having with them. I can’t make them into the nice, fully rounded stories that the rest of those doing the prompts seem to have been doing.
On the one hand, it’s a shame. On the other hand, I’m still having fun.
As of recently, I’ve been using the prompts to tell stories that happen within my own stories and universes. Given that I’m having fun doing that, I believe I will continue. For the prompts, I’m going to continue writing what comes to mind for five or ten minutes of a scene that won’t be appearing in my stories for one reason or another.
This serves two purposes for me. Firstly, I get to still participate without feeling like I should really be doing something else. As much fun as the prompts are, I always feel like I should be working on my stories instead of the prompts when I do them. This way, I’m still doing my stories.
The second, of course, is the chance to write out some of those bits and pieces that are alluded to in stories but never exposited.
So, if you’re interested in seeing very rough, raw drafts of what won’t be appearing in my stories, be sure to tune in every Friday!