Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.
– Lloyd Alexander
Welcome, welcome, welcome! Over the next twenty-six weeks, I endeavor to introduce you to different aspects of the writing process, tips, and quick interviews with amazing writers and other industry professionals using the glorious alphabet to guide me. So let’s get to it, shall we?
Word of the Week: Abdominous. In the fantasy novel I’m writing, my main character meets a man with a large, bulging, abdominous belly. He’s abnormally agile for such a large man.
Tip of The Week: Alliteration can be a powerful tool when used wisely, and it isn’t just for poetry! (For those who are drawing a blank on alliteration, it is when two or more words begin with the same letter or sound.) A suave writer can use alliteration to draw focus to something of importance without the reader noticing. We craft emotion with words, so when using this tool, be mindful of the feelings the mechanics of the word can garner. Consonants often sound hard and bold, while vowels often sound soft and romanticized. Perhaps most importantly, avoid overusing alliteration. Two or three words can be effective, but more than that can make your writing read like a tongue twister and trip your reader up, taking their focus away from your story.
Weekly Resource Spotlight
Please allow me to introduce to you…. AntagonistsAnonymous! (First, don’t you adore the alliteration?) This is a fairly new webcast group dedicated to helping writers in all stages of the writing process with their path to success. The group was dreamt up by Brittany Pettegrow, @ScribalReverie, who carves out time from her super busy schedule to host a live chat on Wednesday nights (8pm EST) and Saturday mornings (8am EST). Join her and her guest hosts for lots of fun and useful insights and information. If you can’t join in live, the chats are posted on YouTube for later viewing – but don’t hang on to all that wisdom for yourself! Subscribe, like and share their page across all your favorite social media platforms!
Securing an interview for this week proved slightly problematic. Enter: #AskAila! My Twitter followers are amazing and graciously provided me with some fantastic questions!
@Alex_Micati asks: What should I give my muse, as a gift for all these great ideas it gave me?
I thought of some silly answers for this question: a gift certificate for a manicure, a round-trip ticket to Bali, a stationary set… but, then I really pondered it for a minute. I don’t know my muse very well, other than she is elusive and sometimes vindictive. However, when my muse does play nice and gives me an idea worth penning, she has done her part and it is time for me to do mine. So, I think the best gift you can give your muse for the great ideas you’re granted is to do them justice. Work hard and make some magic with your words.
@ThomasJast asks: At what point do you stop editing your manuscript and move on?
I don’t know if there is just one answer to this question. I don’t think you should “move on” until you’re either ready to self-publish, submit queries to agents/publishers or, unfortunately, scrap a project.
However, I do think you should step back or walk away from your manuscript if you’ve edited so much that you’re unable to focus on your words. At that point, I give it to someone else to read or let it sit. Coming back to it with a fresh pair of eyes is more valuable than one might think. Word choice is important, of course, but if you’re quibbling over every single word and descriptor, then by all means, let your creativity breathe for a bit.
@Entrebat asks: What is your favorite genre to write, and why?
Disclaimer: I’m not terribly good with genres. I get an idea, and if I fall in love with it, I generally become obsessed. I suppose it’s safe to say what I’ve been writing can be classified as Women’s Fiction – which is definitely a different beast than Romance. I enjoy putting strong female characters through their paces.
@bevandeviere asks: Once you’ve finished your WIP, how long should you let it sit before sending it to betas?
Oh, I don’t even wait to finish something before I start sending it out. Maybe I’m breaking some rule, but I sort of want to know well ahead of time if people are going to be interested in the characters and story. I’d rather someone tell me in the first few chapters that a character feels flat and needs sprucing up rather than finish the whole manuscript and find out I need a major overhaul at the end. I try to send a few chapters at a time so I can get a sense of whether they feel they’ll be emersed in the story, and I love when they beg for more.
That’s it for #AskAila, but it was really quite fun, so I may make it a more regular blog feature. Do you have any questions, writing or otherwise, you’d like me to answer in the future? If so, talk to me in the comments! Thanks for stopping in; I hope to see you next week.