Now that I have several hours daily for writing I’d like to clarify how these precious hours can best be used.
1. Revision – I have so much of this to do! I’ve written quite a few novels, some of which have never been revised. If I was to revise one chapter daily for the next year – I’d get a lot done. In my dream world I’ll be able to hire an editor to help me with my projects. Meanwhile, looks like I’m still my own editor and I should get to work!
2. Submissions – currently I have two novels revised sufficiently enough to submit.
3. Critiques – I belong to two writing groups. Silverweb is a small critique group for writers of middle grade and young adult novels. I get a lot of help there so I need to reciprocate as much as possible. We have two published authors in the group: Beverly Stowe McClure, author of Rebel in Blue Jeans and other YA novels, and Daniel Chase, co-writer of a book-length memoir, Lost in the Fog. My second writing group consists of twenty novelists over age fifty who met on the NaNoWriMo message boards in November 2007. I trade critiques with some of these angels as well.
4. Reviewing and Adding To My Writer’s Notebook – What good is a writer’s notebook if you never read it? I occasionally glance through mine to refresh my memory about all the good ideas I’ve stored there over the course of many months. And while I’m there, I often add notes. One of these days I’m going to start another notebook because this one is nearly full. That day is coming soon.
5. Planning New Novels – When I start a novel, I like to have a good idea of where it is going. I like to know the beginning, the end, and some worthy plot points. I’ve tried writing novels without these and honestly, I think plotting is better, though I don’t get too detailed because I love to have room for my imagination to roam while I’m writing.
6. Characterization Work – My strategy for novel writing includes a deep knowledge of my characters. I’ve found a method of characterization I love — I use Martha Alderson’s method which I learned from a video of one of her workshops: Blockbuster Plots Writers Workshop.
7. Adding to My Chapbook – I’ll bet you didn’t know I’ve got a chapbook in progress. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned it in this blog before. The chapbook is being written for people living in the river valley I live in, or for those who used to live here, who still want to read about it. The chapbook will contain a couple of short stories or poems featuring characters from some of my novels… which I hope will intrigue my friends and neighbors enough that they’ll want to buy my novels once they’re published. The novels I’ll feature here all have some relation to this area. Anyhow, you can expect a variety of Klamath River Valley stories, poems, and articles in this.
8. Writing Practice – I’m constantly writing about the value of writing practice sessions. I write some of my best flash fiction this way. Great hobby!
9. Digitizing My Songs and Poems – Back in the day, I wrote lots of poetry, and evenually became a song writer. Most of this work is still on paper. I need to collect it in a digital file, and think of some way to publish it.
10. Writing a New Novel – This is always the challenge, isn’t it? For the last year I’ve been very hesitant about writing more new material since I have so many novels in need of revision.