D.V. Sheppard

The web-log of a duck-herding author.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Phase One: Complete! (IWSG)

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A little early - but I am excited. I officially finished the first draft of my book on Saturday. A little bit of a heady experience - it's been a long time since I've finished a book. I'm very excited to complete this stage of the process - very excited. 

I also feel intimidated. For while I enjoy re-writing and editing far more than first draft writing - it's still a monumental task, and I don't feel quite adequate for the job. I've taken so long to write this first draft that I have spent quite a long time, not picking apart, dissecting and improving my writing, and frankly I feel far from talented. My descriptive writing could make me weep if I thought about it too long. I feel like I need to do some writing technique warm ups. So here I reach out to the more practiced! What are your best resources for helping you with your technique? Favorite blogs or books? How do you get your writing properly dressed up? I'm a plain girl, with straight forward to-the-point tendencies - but I need to do some painting instead of bullet pointing. What are you thoughts?


I'm a fan of Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King and Fire in the Fiction by Donald Maass. Both of the books have helped me in the editing process. Happy IWSG Day!
Oh! I've got one I absolutely LOVE: The 3am Epiphany by Brian Kitely. You can find it here:
He's also go the 4am Breakthrough (which I haven't cracked yet).
Absolutely stellar excercises, I love them.

Thanks for posting in IWSG!
(October IWSG co-host)
I found Manuscript Makeover by Elizabeth Lyon helpful. The entire Elements of Fiction Writing series is useful too. That series has been around for a while so your local library probably has it. I sat in my library for an hour or two and looked at the whole series before buying a few of them.
Elizabeth (scribblinginthestorageroom.wordpress.com)
dropping by from IWSG
First of all, congratulations on completing the draft. Take a minute to celebrate it well. No small feat so feel free to honor that with something nice for yourself, even if it's simply the permission to sit a bit before diving into revision.

As for description, being plain and straightforward can be a definite strength. When I was in a creative writing class in college, this wonderfully kind, non-pretentious guy in the class called Steve encouraged me to keep some of the spice but to watch that too much didn't spoil the matter quite. He quoted T.S. Eliot in doing so and I never checked to see if it was original with him or not, but I was amenable to his counsel. I think you're like Steve. Down-to-earth, not too puffed up in the head (love your profile pic, btw) and in a fair position to strengthen your description without too much grief.

My suggestion is play with metaphors, not similes. Say something is, especially if you're writing in first person, and speak how your narrator might speak (which, let's be frank writers, they're all some Jungian version of us) but don't let it be the first metaphor or even the second that comes to mind. Ditch those, push further, in good fun, until you arrive at the comparison that comes from your unique experience. Think of trees from your youth, the funny sweater of an eccentric baby-sitter, it won't take much cracking and digging of your singular history to unearth a perfect trove of associations that are yours to make alone.

So, in a nutshell, rest and celebrate. And then go to it with a spirit of fun, and the knowledge that absolutely no one has ever seen the world in the way that you have seen it. So mine that.

Good luck!
That's awesome! Congrats on finishing your draft. That process is always the longest for me. Editing? I could do that all day.

I gave you a Shout-Out on my blog today! :)

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