Friday Roundup: Nuts and Bolts

I have been editing for what feels like months. Editing is just the suck. Time suck, energy suck, brain-power suck. And though it’s an integral part of the writing process, especially if you want to publish, it often feels as though it doesn’t get you ahead – and sometimes pushes you back.

Truth is, of course, that editing is almost as important as the writing itself. For a pantser like me – someone who writes without an outline or plot already conceived, “by the seat of my pants” – editing has to happen throughout writing a novel, because I can turn myself around and make terrible things happen to a plot if I’m not checking myself.

So because craft has been on my mind, today’s roundup is about the nuts and bolts of writing – story ideas, tips, and neat shit I found this week.

Why are people so weird? Cognitive biases are ideas and beliefs we hold about the world that aren’t necessarily true, and cause us to make irrational decisions or act against our own best interests. This article from Business Insider gives a list of 58 cognitive biases. How would such things affect a character, or a group of them? Could you stick them in as personality traits to help move a character-driven plot along?

The devil’s in the details: HEY, Writers! on Pinterest pins great articles about craft every day, as well as character and story prompts. This week’s highlights?

  • a post about writing fight scenes
  • a post about writing good dialogue
  • several posts about editing
  • an article about the woods and how writers get it wrong

It’s just always little things that wouldn’t have occurred to me, and I love that. You never know where inspiration will strike, so I like to click through to blogs and posts I might never have found on my own.

Writer at work! And finally, since I complained about editing, I thought I’d give you a peek at my process.

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These are the printed files of BLACK, RED, and what I have so far of GOLD. Yup. Printed.

I print out my manuscripts for editing. Not for the little shit, like reviewing the previous day’s work, but for the big jobs. Having the novel in a different format seems to help me look at it with fresh eyes, and it makes it easier to take somewhere else. Print, after all, doesn’t have cords or batteries to worry about.

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As I go along, I put little flags on every place I need to change something. If I have big notes to put in, I use bigger post-its on the actual page. I highlight what’s wrong, stick a flag on it, and move on. Every chapter gets paperclipped together, so when I go back to the computer, I can work in easy chapter chunks.

I should have taken a photo of the BLACK edit for re-release: the number of flags were unbelievable. Above is GOLD, and yeah, it’s going to be a bitch.

So, Snowflakes, what are your favorite nuts-and-bolts writing sites? Or reading sites? Or underwater basketweaving sites? Tell me what you do in the comments!

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