Verb Tense Whiplash: A Random wRiting Rant

Past-Present-Future-neon-sigWith lots of reading comes lots of rants, I guess.  So, another rant thanks to my current reads. 

If you’re interested in what I’m reading, check out my Goodreads widget to the right.

Anyway, I am currently reading a really sweet New Adult romance book (once again, author and title shall remain unnamed).  I love, love, love the story so far.  The plotting and characterization are brilliant and beautiful.

The whiplash I’m getting from flipping back and forth between past and present tense is not pretty, however.

Let me clarify, this is not due to flashbacks or any such thing.  The author flips from present to past to present tense in the same sentence.  This is another self-published read.  I know self-pubbed editing budgets are often limited but this is a glaring mistake.  And it doesn’t happen occassionally, it happens constantly. 

Here’s an example of what the past, present whiplash is like (not an actual example from the book):

I walk into the room and tripped on the edge of the carpet, falling onto my face and crushed my nose.

OMG, it’s painful and hard to read.  I love this book so I will read on, but seriously, self-publishing authors, please, please, please offer your grammar nazi friend a case of beer or something to read through and red-ink your manuscript.  These are big, glaring mistakes, not like a random missed comma or the rare typo.  This can kill your chances of a reader finishing your book or ever reading another one of your books.

Cheers and kisses,

Heather

 

Lost in the Weeds, A Perspective on Revisions

RevisionsI’ve admitted before that I’m an editing whore.  I get stuck in an endless round of edits and never get to that “Final” version of my WIP.  Currently, I’m stuck in Revisions Hell.

I got 13,000 words into my WIP and didn’t like the way it was headed.  I tried some minor character and plot revisions with no avail.  So, major revisions here I come.

This unfortunately means I will lose pretty much all those 13,000 words (nearly 6 chapters).  I have learned in the past that, unfortunately, when I do revisions of this magnitude, trying to cling to the original draft of the manuscript ends in a horrible mess with continuity errors, etc.  It’s better to start fresh.

So, here’s me starting over.  I am however much, much happier with the direction of my revised characters and plot.  Hopefully that will stick past 13,000 words this time.

Cheers and kisses,

Heather

I Do Not Think That Word Means What You Think It Means: A Random wRiting Rant

inigo_montoyaI’ve been reading a lot lately.  OK, I read a lot normally but I’ve been reading a ton lately. Many of the new adult books I’ve been reading are self-published. I’m impressed by how well put together many of them are. I’ve only run into one total train wreck I couldn’t finish and another that could have used an extra round of fine comb edits. The rest have a minor typo here and there but for the most part, very impressive.

I’ve read three titles by a particular author (again, not dropping names cause that’s just bitchy) whose books are particularly well done except for one issue that drive me absolutely bonkers. She uses verbs in a way I have decided to call “creative”, to be nice. Continue reading

The Up-Down Plotting Method

As writers, most of us are familiar with those plotting charts that look like a rollercoaster.  imagesCAO4872C

A good plot takes the characters and the reader on a ride of highs and lows, failures and triumphs, ntil the ultimate pinnacle of the climax.

I’ve been working on roughing out my plot for my Work in Progress.  I’m not a big fan of massive plotting with intricate details written down.  I like those little details to evolve organically as  I write.  I enjoy a more spontaneous creative process where my characters and their lives come “alive” as I write.  I’m a dedicated pantser.

But even the most dedicated pantser can get lost in the wood while writing if we don’t have a direction to point our plot in.  Thus I have developed what I call the Up-Down Plotting MethodContinue reading

Write What You Know, Know What You Write: A Random wRiting Rant

annoyed-tabby-catA couple of days ago, I had a real streak of writing inspiration.  I pounded out 3 chapters on my Work In Progress.  Then, like with many pantsers and pseudo-pantsers, I got a little stymied by where my story was going.

So, I decided to dig out my writing books and do a little brush up on plot development and planning.  One of the first hints in my Elements of Fiction Writing – Plot book is to Write What You Know.  That’s great advice and as writers, we hear it a lot, but I also want to emphasize the idea of Know What You Write.

Once again, my Random wRiting Rant topic was prompted by my reading.  I was reading an enjoyable New Adult Fiction romance (which shall remain unnamed to protect the author).  The author likes to use verbs in “creative” ways.  I think she’s trying to avoid passive verbs but sometimes the verb choice is totally inappropriate.  Even grammar nazi that I am, I can ignore that.  What I can’t ignore are blatantly incorrect facts, details that easily could have been researched. Continue reading

Story Planning: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

Plot outline - visualI’d been writing for years before I heard of the terms “plotter” and “pantser” (aka pantster).  A plotter is a writer who (duh!) plots out every little detail of their book before they ever pen the first line.  Fantasy and sci fi writers in particular are notorious for spending months and even years plotting out their complex alternate worlds.  Pantsers write “by the seat of their pants”.  They take a story idea and dive in head first, without major pre-plotting. Continue reading

New Adult Books: Point of View Poll

povI’ve had quite the burst of creativity the last couple days. I’ve written nearly 2 chapters in my WIP but I’m at a bit of a stickying point/crossroads and it really comes down to character Point of View.

In the past, I’ve always written in 3rd Person (he, she, they, etc.). The genres I was writing in favored it and it’s much easier to switch between different character’s POV.

Seemingly following in the footsteps of Young Adult fiction, New Adult seems to favor almost exclusively the 1st Person Point of View (I, me, we). I’m actually really enjoying writing in 1st Person and my first draft is going really well. Continue reading

The First Step: From Inspiration to Story Idea

butterflies_are_freeA writer’s inspiration can come from anywhere.  For my new adult romance Work In Progress it started with a single character, the heroine.  She came in part from a great 70s movie with Goldie Hawn called Butterflies Are Free.  My heroine is loosely based on the hero, Don, not on Goldie Hawn’s character.  And the basis of the plot comes from the gorgeous title song by Stephen Schwartz.

I knew the day you met me,

I could love you if you let me, Continue reading