I’ve been slack this week in doing a blog post but I’ve been enjoying the Christmas holidays and taking a little break. I also got into the early beta and then early release of Star Wars: The Old Republic and have spent way too much time playing it. It is absolutely what Star War Galaxies should have been. The writing is fantastic, the voice acting is great and every quest has at least one cutscene. The graphics are beautiful and the gameplay seems mostly balanced but the jury is still out on that one. Overall I think Bioware hit a homerun with it. The best part is my family is playing and we are doing battles together! Five out of six of us are playing.
I sent out copies of the manuscript to 4 alpha readers and have got one back with mostly good reviews. I still need to work on Chapter One of all chapters. I’ve worked and reworked that thing like an old upholstered chair. I keep putting new material on the chair but somehow it doesn’t work. I’ve read in a few places to avoid a prologue but I think this story really needs one. I’ve got critiques from multiple sources that the first chapter just doesn’t provide enough background to understand what’s going on at the beginning and without a lot of exposition I think a prologue will be the right answer. I’ve plotted it out and I’m going to be working on it for the next couple of days. I’ll send it out and then make a few more hopefully minor revisions and it will be ready for Beta Readers!
Christmas eve is tomorrow and I still need to get a few more little items for my wife, but everything else is ready to go. We are going to do a turkey this year. That will be a first for us, we normally do ham or Norwegian meatballs. We also have company at the house and it really makes the holiday special. I hope you all have a Merry Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or whatever holiday you prefer.
This week I had something nice happen. I connected with a new writing partner! I’m very excited about it. She is a little farther along in the writer metamorphosis, she has two novels completed already, but has agreed to work with me. We shared some of our chapters and did line edits for each other and it was very eye-opening. I met her over on Natalie Whipple’s blog: http://betweenfactandfiction.blogspot.com/
She set up a Writing Buddy matching thing, which seems to have really taken off and is no longer on her sight. I feel very fortunate to have wandered over there at the right time.
I learned that it is much easier to edit someone else’s work than your own. This is likely for at least two reasons I can think of off the top of my head. First, it is material you aren’t familiar with. I can tell you my first chapter has been edited so many times I’ve lost count. I’ve rearranged it half a dozen times also. I’m intimately familiar with the story, so much so that I have a hard time seeing it clearly now. It really pays to have a fresh set of eyes on it.
The second reason it a little more esoteric. It’s not my story, and I have nothing emotionally invested in it. I haven’t spent 3 years toiling over it and stroking it and coaxing it to life. I can see sentences and structure and see things that are slightly confusing because I don’t know what the writer had in mind when they created it. As the creator you know the entire story of every character, at least as far as you care to. You know what they are thinking when you’re in their head, but the reader only sees the words and sometimes as writers we can get a little lost in there. It helps to have someone able to show us where the dots aren’t connecting properly.
I hope you have a writing buddy, if you don’t I am highly encouraging you to get one. We’ve just started working together and I am already reaping the rewards of that contact.
Good luck in your writing!