Another week in the books. Here’s how I did.
The quote this week is another of Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing.
Never open a book with weather.
If it’s only to create atmosphere, and not a character’s reaction to the weather, you don’t want to go on too long. The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people.
– Elmore Leonard
I think Leonard meant this literally, in that it’s an old cliche best avoided, but I think there’s something else to be gleaned here from “The reader is apt to leaf ahead looking for people.” What I get from that is, basically, open the book (or story) with characters doing and experiencing things rather than static descriptions. Like all of Leonard’s rules, these are useful guides for writing in a particular style, and may not be a perfect fit for everyone. They work for me, though, and I tend to use his rules as a kind of checklist when I’m reviewing my manuscript. In fact, the original opening to my novel was a little, uh, weathery, so I revised it and opened with characters doing stuff important to the plot. The new opening is one I hope prompts readers to ask: Who are these people? Why are they doing these things? More than that, I hope it prompts folks to read further in search of the answers to those questions.
I continue to make good progress on revisions with the novel. Its going slower than I’d like, but I feel like the changes are good. Last week I added a lot of new material, made adjustments immediately downstream for that new material, and plotted out where further changes would need to be made. This week, I’m adding more new stuff, cutting some of the deadwood, and, again, making changes to existing chapters to fit with the new stuff. The main thrust is that I had a very talky novel, and while some of that talking was interesting and important and will remain, it needed more “people doing stuff,” especially in the first act. At this point, I’m gonna stop setting deadlines for this revision and default to a simple “soon.”
After getting back on track in the weeks prior, I’ve derailed this week.
Yeah, not great. My focus has been on the novel, and I think that’s where it needs to be for the moment. I’ve got stories ready to submit, and I might send out a few this week, but if I don’t, I’ll catch up next month.
Only one blog post last week, but I got more planned for this week.
4/15/19: Weeks of Writing: 3/24/19 to 4/14/19
A big catch-up post of the past three weeks of writing and submissions.
The novel is priority and will command the bulk of my writing time. Though I’ll try to get some short story submissions out, I won’t beat myself up if I don’t.
And that was my week. How was yours?