If you missed Part 1 of this series, about book ideas, click here.
If you missed Part 2 of this series, about outlining, click here.
Figuring out my characters:
I have vague ideas about my characters- what they look like, dress like, personality, goals; I don’t tend to fill out those character sheets. While I’m writing, they’ll let me know more about them and the story, like fun plot twists.
For my Prophecy duology, I used the Myer-Briggs chart to pick out their personality. This helped me know how they’d react in certain situations, and what they’re good and bad at.
For my Warlock series, I knew most of the characters’ stories and personalities, but once I finished, I realized I needed to give a few of them more dimension. I’ll be adding that into draft 2.
I like to write in a word doc for draft 1. With winning CampNaNo they gave a discount for Scrivener so I got that and it really helped with revisions/Draft 2. But for my Warlock series, I stuck to the word document and haven’t missed Scrivener. I try to get my word count in during my lunch breaks at work. If I need to, I’ll write after work or on the weekends- especially if the story is burning inside of me and I HAVE TO GET IT OUT.
It takes me about two months of ideas, planning, and writing to get a first draft. I make myself a word count goal to keep me accountable. After the 1st draft, I take a break from the story so I can view it with fresh eyes, about 3 weeks. In this waiting period I’ll catch up on my reading list, or shows I’ve been neglecting. Basically, take a recharge time. Then, one month for reading, revising, and editing the first draft. Again, I set myself a goal of editing 1-2 chapters a day for Draft 2. Then onto critique partners/beta readers to get second opinions. Rework and get Draft 3, and find an editor. Draft 4 is after the editor’s edits, and I do one more read through. Now my draft is a Manuscript, and I can start querying. *I heard recently to skip the professional editor if trying to be traditionally published, and only do it for self-publishing purposes.* What’s your opinion?
What I’m terrible at:
Descriptions! Hi, my name is Katie, and I’m an underwriter. I know I need to work on details and smaller scenes. I try not to put stuff in that people are going to skim over, I keep the story moving and fluid, so maybe my amount of detail is okay for some.
I also struggle with show vs tell, and passive voice. I’m working on those as well.
IF THIS IS YOU GO WATCH THIS VIDEO by KIM CHANCE! She talks about how we underwrite and skimp on descriptions because we’re so excited for the big plot points, and we get there as quickly as we can. That’s where telling creeps up more than showing too. I thought what she said was interesting and possibly true for me. With the 1st draft I’m so excited and want it all out of me. The 2nd draft, I can take my time and fill in those sparse areas.
If you’re the opposite, if you’re an overwriter, click here for Kim Chance’s advice.
What I’m good at:
Thinking creatively and coming up with plot twists. Time management and getting those word counts done. I only write scenes and dialogue that further the plot and character goals. I don’t like reading fluff and unnecessary descriptions in books, so I leave it out of mine.
I think it’s really important to know what you’re good at. I feel it gives a little boost to your self-esteem, especially when you’re feeling low about your writing.
How do you figure out your characters?
What are your writing strengths and weaknesses?