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message 1: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments I am working on my first novel. I have a special place in my heart for my main character so naturally I want this to be the best it can be. What I want to know are two things:
FIRST: How descriptive is too descriptive? I find myself reading sometimes and I'm like "geesh I get it already move on" but when I'm writing sometimes I feel like its not enough. I want to give my readers a head start but leave them some room for imagination.

SECOND: What do u do when u hit a roadblock? Ill sit down to write and feel like I'm on a roll. Then I will stop to review and feel like nothing I have written is good enough or it just doesn't work.

Any advice? It would be greatly appreciated. Thanks on advance


message 2: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments Thank you so much Belly, that's wonderful advice :) I probably review too much. I need to write more freely and worry about it the review later?


message 3: by Darth J (new)

Darth J  (j___) Ashley wrote: "I am working on my first novel. I have a special place in my heart for my main character so naturally I want this to be the best it can be. What I want to know are two things:
FIRST: How descriptiv..."


The first point is to pick the most concise words without creating a bloated description. I don't know another way to say it than that.

Second, everyone hits a roadblock on something eventually. I find that if you are working on several projects at the same time to switch to a new one whenever you feel like you've hit a wall. I have loads of other books I'm working on even though I've only written the one so far, when I had a block I moved on to the next project and focused on that until a new idea hit me. Always keep a few extra coals in the fire and you'll stay warm.


message 4: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments Thanks J. I only worry of feeling overloaded though I am a mother of two so I should be great at multitasking lol


message 5: by Darth J (new)

Darth J  (j___) Ashley wrote: "Thanks J. I only worry of feeling overloaded though I am a mother of two so I should be great at multitasking lol"

Mother of two AND an author?! I think someone somewhere forgot to send you that well-deserved medal. :)


message 6: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments Lol why thank you very much J. But I'm only a novice author :) I started writing in high school but took a break after when I had my girls. I dabble in a lot of things singing, snowboarding, and baking but reading and writing have always been my favorite things to do. So here I am starting fresh with my first novel thank you for taking the time to give me some advice :)


message 7: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments Also J. I took the time to read the prologue of your book and I am absolutely intrigued. I can only hope my novel comes along as well written as yours.


message 8: by Darth J (new)

Darth J  (j___) Ashley wrote: "Lol why thank you very much J. But I'm only a novice author :) I started writing in high school but took a break after when I had my girls. I dabble in a lot of things singing, snowboarding, and b..."

Everyone starts out as a novice, that's why they are called novices! Look at any of your favorite authors, they had to start somewhere too. I have to say that the first novel is the hardest it seems, from finding bits of time to devote to plotting and writing to editing and querying and promotion. After you've established some habits it becomes a world easier. Just don't fall into the pitfall of thinking that if something doesn't happen overnight then it isn't worth it. We all take time to develop our skills, and there is no such thing as an effortless pro.

As a side note, thank you for reading the Prologue. I will say though that my first novel took over 12 years to develop enough as the start of a trilogy before I wrote the first draft of what it is today. Relax in the fact that everything takes time and effort :)


message 9: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments Thanks J :)
When does your book come out? I'd love to read the rest


message 10: by Darth J (new)

Darth J  (j___) Ashley wrote: "Thanks J :)
When does your book come out? I'd love to read the rest"

I'll send you a pm, I don't want to derail your thread with self-promotion (it happens way too much on gr).


message 11: by Sophia (new)

Sophia Martin | 71 comments Ashley wrote: "Thank you so much Belly, that's wonderful advice :) I probably review too much. I need to write more freely and worry about it the review later?"

Stephen King says to write everything without stopping, not even to look something up, then put it away in a drawer for a month or two, and then get it out and review.


message 12: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments Sophia, that's probably the best idea for me because I always find myself going back after every paragraph and re-reading what I just wrote and I always feel like I need to fix something.


message 13: by Travis, Moderator (new)

Travis Luedke (twluedke) | 450 comments Mod
Sophia wrote: "Ashley wrote: "Thank you so much Belly, that's wonderful advice :) I probably review too much. I need to write more freely and worry about it the review later?"

Stephen King says to write everythi..."


I find that if I set something aside and come back to it in a week or more, I see it with fresh perspective. I see all kinds of ways to improve it (beginning stages of self-edits).

And then, when I think its beautiful, and wonderful, and stunning, I send it out to my critique partners.

And I find out how blind I was.

:)


message 14: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments I think I just need to accept this is a long process and not to rush. I feel like I have this whole great story in my head I just need to take my time putting it to paper so it reads as well as it can.


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I know what you mean on reviewing and editing and doing it over and over again. I finally had to stop editing and send to my beta readers. I will say this though, if it weren't for my beta readers *Hi Michelle and Yelle* my book wouldn't be where it is today. So my advice, get two or three beta readers to read your novel once you have edited to the best of your ability.


message 16: by Eloise (new)

Eloise Kindred | 3 comments Firstly, I find that with a first draft it's much better to be too descriptive than not enough. Just get down everything you want to include while it's in fresh your head. You can always take it out later.
And secondly, like the other guys have said, just keep writing! Every time I write I think what I'm doing is mostly bull, but when I'm finished and I read through the whole novel I'm always surprised. It's never as bad as you think. And, if some of it isn't up to par, you can always tweak it.
To be honest, I always enjoy the editing process much more than the original writing!


message 17: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments Thanks everyone for all the advice it has truly been so helpful :) I have been working really hard on my book hopefully soon Ill have it finished and I can put it up for review :)


message 18: by R.M.F. (new)

R.M.F. Brown | 158 comments It's hard work being an author, and even then, all the hard work in the world doesn't make a difference. Sometimes, you need that little bit of luck.

Apologies for the clichés!


message 19: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) Ashley, there is a difference between a description that helps to create the world in the mind of the reader and an information dump. David Weber is often criticized for the amount of words he dedicates to discussions of armaments. On the other hand, J.R.R. Tolkien's descriptions of the weather condition, and the types of plants that are encountered by the travelers increases the enjoyment we feel reading his book.

I usually do not put a lot of description at first. I like to finish the book, leave it for a couple of weeks and then go back and insert information about the characters and their surroundings.

For example, hair and eye color. Did he have a scar anywhere? Did she have a mole? Were they of average height. If the scene is outside, what was the weather like? If inside, what was on the walls? What kind of furniture did they have? Did they call it a couch or a sofa? A porch, a verandah, or a lanai?

Adding details adds to a story, but you don't have to mention or describe every flower and vegetable in a garden.


message 20: by Ashley (new)

Ashley (AshleyLynn91) | 24 comments Thanks so much Stan that's more helpful then you know. I'm working really hard on my book and I'm pleased with my progress so far thanks to all of this wonderful advice :)


message 21: by C.C. (new)

C.C. Alma (ccalma) When it comes to description, one thing I've learned is that descriptive scenes need to have a centralized concept, like any other paragraph, and that scenes should be described through the eyes of the character and within the story being told. So saying "The couch was blue, the table was brown, and the walls were white" just lists colors, but there is no central idea. It's better to say something like: "She walked into the room, feeling sad. The neutral colors of the room--blue couch, brown table, white walls--did nothing to brighten her mood." See how that's better? Once I understood that concept, it became easier to figure out how much or how little to describe things. Good luck, Ashley!


message 22: by Ceri, Moderator (new)

Ceri London (cerilondon) | 464 comments Mod
C.C. wrote: "When it comes to description, one thing I've learned is that descriptive scenes need to have a centralized concept, like any other paragraph, and that scenes should be described through the eyes of..."

I like that C.C. I tend to avoid description unless it has a purpose to the story. I probably err on the side of too little. It's choosing the detail that progresses the story and makes it credible that's important. Just mentioning the peeling paint on the picket fence and a front door hanging off its hinges conveys a lot about the place. I don't need to know the door color, or that there are steps up to the porch. I do need to know that it's entirely reasonable that the floor inside proves to be rotten, so that the hero falls into the basement, breaks a leg, and remains trapped there for several days because no one ever visits the place.


message 23: by C.C. (new)

C.C. Alma (ccalma) I like your example, too!

I used to take the '"show, don't tell" rule so seriously that my writing was just all detailed scenes followed by page breaks. Now I think that it's more about mixing it up. Sometimes it's important to "tell" in order to move the story along, because detail isn't always needed. If it was, you would have: "He yawned, then he cleared his throat. He reached for his soda, brought the glass to his lips, swallowed twice, put the glass back down on the coaster ..."


message 24: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) C.C. wrote: "I like your example, too!

I used to take the '"show, don't tell" rule so seriously that my writing was just all detailed scenes followed by page breaks. Now I think that it's more about mixing i..."


Great practice line!
"He yawned from lack of (interest;sleep), then he cleared his (parched) throat. He reached for his (diet) soda (Coke;Pepsi;etc), brought the (amber;plastic) glass to his (chapped; painted) lips, swallowed twice, put the glass back down on the (cork) coaster (which had been an AOL CD in its former life) ..."


message 25: by C.C. (new)

C.C. Alma (ccalma) Get to the sex and violence, quick, before we lose readers, ha ha.


message 26: by Russell (new)

Russell Libonati (ozone0) | 73 comments I fall in the camp of trying to get the whole story down, then letting a lot of time pass before editing. You can get tunnel vision if you try to edit it while you write. It'll look the same every time you read it (good or bad). If you wait for your eyes to freshen up a bit you'll see what you should have written. This idea of getting it all down might stem from my bad memory, though. I'll find myself writing something like, "She stared out of the 3rd floor window. . . " wait, was she on the third or fourth floor? The next thing you know I'm reading back through my own story trying to remember on which floor I left her. LOL. It gets worse if a lot of time passes between writing sessions.

Despite this advice, I do have a tendency to just stop writing if I get blocked. Then I'll have an idea for another book and start writing furiously and excitedly. I try to keep that in check though, for the above listed reasons.

As far as the descriptions go, add as much as you want. It's your book. I have recently read two books that described so little I found myself confused because the characters were moving around in a space I couldn't picture. If you add too much, you or your editor will catch it. You'll know by all of the yawning.

Good luck and keep on plugging away at it!


message 27: by Stan (new)

Stan Morris (morriss003) Russell wrote: "I fall in the camp of trying to get the whole story down, then letting a lot of time pass before editing. You can get tunnel vision if you try to edit it while you write. It'll look the same ever..."

Writing and saving a book in chapters was a good way for me to keep track of things. Saving the chapters as ebooks and reading them on my kindle helped me find a lot of errors before the main editing process began.


message 28: by Greg (new)

Greg Borman | 15 comments Stan wrote: "Russell wrote: "I fall in the camp of trying to get the whole story down, then letting a lot of time pass before editing. You can get tunnel vision if you try to edit it while you write. It'll lo..."

Great idea. I too am a new author and never thought of saving my individual chapters as ebooks. Thanks.


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