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Monday, 26 August 2013

New Frontiers

So the summer has just about come and gone .  When was my last post?  Hmm.  Guess I'm not doing that well with this.  I'm going to do better from here on in.

For the past few months, my painting has been on hold.  No, nothing to worry about.  All is well.  I decided to try my hand at writing some kids' stories last year.  I've always had lots of ideas, mostly from my paintings, and it was time to put them down on paper.

The few pages that I jotted my ideas down on turned into notebooks full of writing.  Those filled, I moved over to my dad's old laptop  (no music, no wi-fi, no nothing) to start getting the ideas in some order.  I worked on and off for the better part of a year on two different stories.

I finished one, then the other.  Wow!  They read pretty well.  Without delay, I sent them off for some of my friends and family to read.  And some kids too, after all, they are the target audience.  The reviews were in.  The kids liked them, some of the adults did too.  That wasn't the reaction I was going for.  Liked them.  I wanted them all to LOVE them!  They needed to be great.

I did some editing.  During the process, it was suggested to me that maybe joining a critique group would be a good idea.  I mulled it over.  I could try it and if I didn't like it I could always opt out.  I'd read a lot of books on the subject of writing but theory was theory.  I needed opinions, criticism, and the hard truth about my writing to verify that I was on the right track with it.  So I plunged in and earlier this year I joined an online critique group.  It turned out to be the best thing I could have done for my writing. 

I've learned that settings need details and characters need lots of emotions.  Adverbs are nice but they shouldn't be used at all if possible.  And I also learned that there is a word that can be used in this way or that so many times that it becomes unbearable to read that word in that story so many times.  Know what that word is?  That's right!  I had no idea I was using that word as much as I was until it was pointed out to me.  I also had no idea that I was so good at hedging, which is actually bad.  Who knew? 

Since March, I have spend endless hours editing and submitting chapters one by one of the first story to the group for critique.  From the end of May to last night at 9:34 pm, I spent day after day analyzing all the feedback I received from the group.  I've cut, re-written, added, revised and create new characters to make the story better, clearer, more concise and I have wiped out any inconsistencies and loose ends I found.  I've managed to make a 40K story into an 80K story!  I'm not sure at this point if it's a good thing or not, but I guess I'll find out soon.  The group has my story now and will be doing their beta read over the next few weeks.  I on the other hand, will be painting during that time and sitting on pins and needles waiting for their critiques to roll in.

Then on to the query letter and the summary!