Writing Craft

Writing tools, craft books and what I am currently using.

Hello everyone,

Ever since I’ve came across Wattpad and loved the stories over there, I was burned with an urge to write. I used to write a scene for a week or two when I started. I continued it for few chapters, that would take approximately couple of months, and then I stopped the story there.

But then I came across NaNoWriMo while reading one of the author’s books in Wattpad. I didn’t participate in NaNoWriMo that year, or the next year. I tried to pants my way through a novel for couple of months, wrote about 60,000 words and saw that it was going nowhere.

Then I decided to try outlining, write short chapters, after reading couple of James Patterson’s books. I finished the book. But failed to edit it.

For the next year, I could only write a novel which took almost two months to write. It ended up being 37,000 words long. So you could call it as too long for novella and too short for novel. I didn’t edit it either.

For that year’s NaNoWriMo, I subscribed to sterlingandstone.net and they provided an outline for Shadows of Nar, as a part to encourage NaNoWriMo challenge. I tried it, finished the novel and didn’t edit it either. But I struggled to write it.

I learned that I could write a novel with an outline that I prepared easily. I couldn’t say the same for outlines I get form others.

Like previous years, I didn’t start writing another novel.

So, I started searching for books and articles that could help me with plotting quickly, writing first draft and editing.

I’ve brought John Truby’s Anatomy of Story, read posts of Rachel Aaron’s, couple of books of  Monica Leonelle and Chris fox.

John Truby’s Anatomy of story was good. But it was filled with too many examples and I gave up reading that. Perhaps I could return to it when I was ready writing comfortably using my current method of outlining and writing.

Rachel Aaron’s posts were very inspiring. It simply said that know what you are going to write, before you write down the story. Write it with loads of enthusiasm. She suggested to do sketches for a scene, kind of like what’s going to happen in a scene, visualize it happening before writing for a couple of minutes and write the scene with enthusiasm. I did that for couple of scenes and found that tiring. Sometimes, it worked and at other times it’s not.

Monica Leonelle’s was also approaching the same, but more layered. I couldn’t do that also.

I then read a book of Jim Butcher’s in Dresden Files. I was so intrigued by it that I read his blog posts. Brought a book he recommended, Fantasy Fiction Formula and it was in his blog and this book, I came across the concept of scenes and sequels. I was fascinated and implemented them in my writing and was surprised as to how good my writing was, at least that was what I felt. I still lacked in description and action department and I knew the only way I could achieve them was by writing.

I wrote couple of scenes, but after that grew cocky and forget about setting my scenes and sequels. I went back to writing blindly. Then I came across Chris Fox’s videos in YouTube. It was then that I heard about writing sprints. He uses 20 to 25 minute sprints to write his chapters, I’ve read a couple of his books, the current one I’m reading was Tech Mage, where the chapters are short, crisp chapters and easy to read.

I implemented them for few days, then even let go of the writing sprints. But I kept coming back to writing sprints, scenes and sequels.

When Chris Fox released Plot Gardening, I brought the book and read it twice. I tried to implement everything in that book and started to plot my novel Fusion. But somewhere, I lost focus. Then I heard sterlingandstone.net guys talk in their YouTube videos that they take a craft book, learn one thing from it and implement it in their book. Each technique, they implement it in their further books and I’ve read couple of their books and was avid fan of their YouTube series.

So, I stopped implementing everything in the book Plot Gardening and focused on Dan Harmon’s story circle; I’ve fist come across the concept in Plot Gardening. Became obsessed with it for couple of weeks and read everything I could find on the topic. I outlined my novel using it, then proceeded to write.

Using scenes and sequels.

But I had seen that I can’t follow a scene, sequel, scene, sequel format. Sometimes, I would just write a scene, another scene and then sequel. Or sometimes, sequel, sequel and then scenes. I learned that I had to let go of restriction about scene and sequel and write.

I could edit them later, which I would do this time for sure. I’ve invested far more energy and time into it than others. I’ve also invested emotionally into this book.

Recently, I decided to use writing sprints, 20 minutes first, then reduced it to 15 minute sprints. Before going back to writing sprints, I could only write one scene a day that used to take me 2-3 hours. Now though, I write a scene in 15 minutes, would edit them later, one week after First draft of Fusion is finished.

Now, I write 4 scenes a day, all of them in one hour. Sketch a scene before writing, set timer and write the scene for 15 minutes.

Trying to write a scene in 15 minutes was challenging, as I didn’t correct my typos, my chapters became short, ranging between 600 words to 1000 words. So, I decided to edit 4 scenes I wrote yesterday.

I was shocked to realize that not only I could edit them easily, they are better.

I’m somewhere between 60-65% of first draft of Fusion and would write the rest of the first draft, 4 or even if I had time, 6 or 8 scenes a day. I would try to finish the first draft in two weeks and start plotting for this year’s NaNoWriMo.

I would post the chapter or scene’s I’ve written every day in the month of November in my blog, just correcting typos after I write them and see where it takes me.

I would let you know in future blog pots what changes I’m observing in my writing.

Writing sprints is good guys, go out, find more about it and implement it yourselves. Any comments regarding this blogpost are welcome.

Thank you all,

Nagendra.

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