Archive for March, 2015

Two Questions, Two Answers

WriYe Blog Circle topic for the month:

Revision: Easy question: why is it necessary? Hard question: do you enjoy it?

Bonus: Take a selfie/novel-ie of you/your novel in the midst of revision.

Why is revision necessary?  Well, this is obviously an easy question and it has a very easy answer: Revision is necessary because there is no one in the entire world that gets a story right the first time they set it out on paper.  Even if, by some miracle, the plot was perfect from beginning to end, there are going to be grammar and spelling changes that need to be made.  Some people would separate revision (changing/fixing the plot) from editing (fixing the mechanics of the story), but I’d say that you can’t really do one without doing the other.  Even if you separate the two, though… I’ve written and edited enough to know that you can’t get the plot right in the first draft.  Anyone who writes knows that there are going to be other drafts that change things beyond grammar and spelling.

The second question (Do you enjoy it?) is… really much harder.  On one level, I hate revising.  I just don’t like sitting down and reading through a story to edit it.  Editing is bad enough.  It’s like eating vegetables.  At some point, you just have to do it.  Revising, however, is worse.  I have to pick a story apart and look at each section and ask myself questions about it. (Is this scene necessary?  Is there anything missing here? Is there something I need to insert between these scenes?  Should this scene happen here? Etc.)  It’s not just a matter of reading it over with a red pen in hand and fixing the mechanics.  It much more work-intensive and it’s very easy to feel like you’re never going to finish revising a story.

However, at the same time… I kind of like revising.  It gives me a chance to revisit a story that I’ve finished.  I look at it with fresh eyes and, sometimes, I see the chance to do something with the story that I didn’t realize when I sat down to write it.  Those little moments are what I love about revising.  Not only that… the sense of accomplishment when I’ve finished the second draft or the third or the fourth, etc. is almost as great as the way I feel with I first finished the initial draft.

So, yeah… getting the story down on paper that first time is both fun and necessary.  However, the subsequent revisions are just as important and, sometimes, can be just as much fun.


Bonus (No selfies… I did a screen capture of the page I was editing instead):


A Rather Fox-like Cat

I have a new pattern that I’ve written.  It’s not quite ready to publish yet, but I’m hoping to have it written up and finalized soon.

During November last year, I wrote a story with a character that crocheted as a way to relieve stress.  (I find it pretty neat that there’s a recent study showing that knitting and crocheting are the most effective ways of doing just that!)  Anyway, his wife was expecting and he spent the entire novel crocheting a little stuffed cat for the new baby.  At the end of the story, he had finished it.  The other characters, especially his cousin, decided that his “cat” looked much more like a fox than it did a cat.

At the beginning of this month, I began working on the pattern for Ilya’s little cat (fox).  I’ve finished writing the pattern.  I just have to crochet the legs and finish stitching it together.  Then, I’ll be able to write up the pattern, insert the pictures and post it to Ravelry.  All in all, it’s come out cute and I’m really pleased with it.  Hopefully, other people will think it’s cute enough to make one of their own.

Why Did You Do That?

Here is my answer to the Blog Circle for WriYe for the month of February:

Character Motivation:
What is the main motivation behind your characters? Where do you come up with that motivation? Do you tend to use the same sort of motivation in every novel, or do you tend to mix it up more? What is your favorite example of character motivation?

Share with us an excerpt from your current or completed novel(s) that demonstrates your favorite example of character motivation.

I tend to be rather “organic” when coming up with character motivations. I go with what makes the most sense in the context of the story and the world. I ask myself: Why would this particular character put themselves through all this horrible stuff that will happen in the course of the book?

In one fan fiction series that I’m currently working on, the main character is struggling with acceptance. He’s different from nearly everyone else he knows and what he is (a werewolf) is typically viewed as a dark creature or a monster. He wants to be accepted and he needs to learn to accept himself as well. He works hard and, eventually, he learns that he’s not a monster at all. At the same time, he teaches those around him that their past prejudices against his kind aren’t fair and he gains acceptance from his teachers and his peers.

Love is a strong motivator, as is revenge (usually borne from a hatred directed at someone who harmed a loved one). Both of those are often used in novels as reasons why the characters do things. One of my favorite character motivations is fear, actually. People will do incredible things when they’re backed into a corner and feel like they have no other choice.

One of my stories has a character whose fear drives the entire plot of three stories. His fear of going to prison pushes him to tell the authorities exactly what his employers are doing. Later, he becomes a double agent because they back him into a corner – do this, or face the consequences of your past actions. In the second book, he uncovers a massive plot by the people he’s been spying on and learns that they’ve got a mole in the agency he’s working for. His fear pushes him to make choices that lead him along the path of the story. In the final book, his fear of losing everything that he’s worked so hard for pushes him to act when he would rather simply continue hiding.

Fear, like love, is a really powerful motivator. It’s also something that people can really relate to, if the author is careful about presenting the situation so that the consequences of inaction seem dire enough.