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Writing tip: Edit before you write

If there’s one thing that most authors can agree on, it’s that editing your own work, although necessary, can be a giant pain in the neck! You’ve just written ten pages and finally called it a day. You’re super excited about moving onto the next chapter or part of the book. So why would you want to start your next day by editing what you’ve spent hours on just a day ago?

The answer is simple – so that you don’t spend months on it later.

Many authors swear by the ‘edit before you write’ method. In this method, you simply begin your day of writing by going over everything you wrote the previous day. You will probably find a few spelling mistakes, gaps where you altogether missed words in your hurry to type, and maybe even get a better way of writing sections that are meant to have a high impact. Additionally, this allows you to remain updated with everything that’s been happening, especially when you get back to writing after a long weekend, and it ensures that you don’t forget the intricacies of the plot line or the general direction of the story. I’ve found that this method can also stop you from getting overwhelmed by your own work which can happen if you’re working on a book that has many parallel story lines.

Editing can be a drag, especially if you’re in a hurry to get your story completed. But employing the ‘edit before you write’ method when you’re on your second or third draft (depending on how clean and how close to the final version with which you are satisfied the draft is), can help you reduce the effort required at a later stage and can help you move ahead more effectively every day. Plus, you don’t end up finishing an entire novel only to discover, when you finally begin editing, that you’ve made a mistake which has compounded over the pages and effectively ruined a great chunk of your work.

What methods do you employ to keep your work moving smoothly? And how do you go about your editing? Share your thoughts on the editing aspect of an author’s work in the comments below.

– Rishika

Mirror Interview # 4 Rishika S.

My first mirror interview – thanks to Ionia Martin and readful things blog!

readful things blog

Thank you so much Rishika, for joining us on Readful Things today. It is so much fun to get a glimpse into the mind of an author and learn about their process. If you would like to do your own mirror interview, please email me from my contact me page here on the blog. Thanks everyone, and please take a moment to check out her work and spread the word!

Tell us a little about you and your work.

My name is Rishika and I publish under the name of Rishika S. My first piece of published fiction is One Chance. It’s a short story based around the life of a married couple that is torn apart by deceit. The story follows their path to finding trust and love again. A Bond Unbroken is another love story, and is based on the reunion of two people who had been greatly…

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Don’t forget to write a review… Please?

Have you ever stopped to consider the role a review can play in the fate of a book and its author? This is a question that everyone needs to ponder, whether you are an author or just a lover of all things that can be read!

How can a review help a reader?

Ever read a book so good that you thought everybody could learn something from it? Then, spread the word. Or ever read a book so bad that you simply had to warn other book lovers to stay away from it? Then, spread the word. That’s what book reviews help you do. Whether you loved or hated a book, you can tell others about it simply by posting your thoughts on Amazon, Goodreads, your blog, or any other platform or electronic store. That way, you help others decide whether they need to spend the money on that book or not.

With the growing number of authors in the market, self and traditionally published, readers have never had these many choices from which they can pick up their next book. And anything that can help you choose your next book can also be responsible for saving you hours of reading time or your finding your next favorite author. That is the power that a review has. You can be the one who wields that power. Your review is responsible for people choosing or ignoring a book. You can make people try out new authors, new styles, and new genres too!

By sharing your thoughts, you not only help another reader decide on a purchase, you also give the author an idea of what you would like to see more of and what you could do without. You help an author discover aspects of their own writing that they may never know existed. All it takes from you are ten minutes and ten lines. And just as your leaving a review helps others, reviews can benefit you too; because if most people who pick up a book leave a review, it can only help you discover books about which you didn’t know.

That’s great for readers, but how can a review help an author?

Today, the world of literature has more competition that it has ever seen. Indie authors have changed the landscape of the industry. And many of them are actually pretty awesome. But with so many choices, how do you know which new author to trust and follow?

That is where reviews help authors – they help set authors apart from one another. If people recommend your work, you get increased sales and a larger fan following. If people don’t recommend your work, you get critical feedback which can be incorporated in your next piece of work. As long as people voice their feelings and thoughts about a book through a review, the author will know which aspects of his work appeals to people and which doesn’t. And that can only help you, as an author, get better.

As an author, getting a review can be scary. And it isn’t always pleasant because for five people who love your work, there will definitely be a couple who don’t. This happens because even though certain people may like a particular genre, they have different expectations from the books in that genre. You meet some of these and you don’t meet others – that’s just how it goes. But every review, good and bad, is helpful to you. You earn from the good ones and learn from the bad ones.

 

Simply put, reviews help books and authors establish a following for themselves in the face of intense competition. As an author, a review can help you become a huge success or simply get better until you become a success. And as a reader, a review will help you find books that were previously unknown to you and you can help someone find their next favorite book too.

Lastly, reviews are a great way to share your thoughts, discuss the emotions you developed for a book and its characters, and even make friends over discussions sparked by matching or clashing reviews. When you look at it that way, don’t the ten minutes it would take you to drop a rating or a review become worthy of spending? Remember, as a reader, you hold the success of an author in your hands. So why not help them towards success if you like their work or help them get better if you don’t?

– Rishika

Moving beyond writer’s block – Your way!

Everyone who has chosen to pen a story of some sort may have, or probably will, come across this demon of a problem that is known as writer’s block. What is writer’s block? Numerous definitions describe writer’s block as the inability to create new work, or even come up with new ideas. Simply put, your imagination seems to have gone on a holiday, leaving you with a boring mind that can no longer find its way to a new world. At least, that is how I would explain it. And from what I’ve read, seen, and heard, this condition can be temporary and can last for a few days, or can be something that grabs hold of you and refuses to let go. Whatever the duration, most authors would agree that writer’s block is nothing short of a nightmare.

So how do you deal with it? And how do you move beyond it to start creating again?

To start off, let me confess that I haven’t faced writer’s block for a prolonged duration. My bouts of writer’s block are short term, last for a few days or so, and are eventually defeated by really simple solutions. But the fact is that these solutions work wonderfully for me, and can yet be completely useless for other authors.

When I am faced with writer’s block, it is generally because I unconsciously feel that my story is getting a little slow or non-gripping, or because I’m a little too consumed by another, different idea that’s pulling me towards itself in spite of my trying really hard to stay focused. The solution, as I discovered after spending altogether too much time trying to find one online, lay with me all along. In the first scenario, all I needed to do was take a critical look at my work and honestly delete everything that seemed to slow it down. Granted, that was a lot of work, and even required some outline changes. But the result was that I was newly motivated, had found a better route for the story line to take, and got back to writing until my hands pained. In the second scenario, I simply backed off from the story I was working on and took half a day, or even an entire day or two, to work on an outline, jot down notes, and even write some scenes for another story. Sure, that story was in a different genre and based in a different time and required a completely different style. But the result was that I had a decent idea for another book, already had some scenes played out, and had cleared my mind such that I was raring to go back to the project/book on hand.

Then there are days when I simply cannot write. My story is fine, I’ve got no other ideas taking up thought, and I’ve got nothing going on that can distract me from my work. But yet, the typing just won’t happen. Those are the days I just sit back, watch a movie, read, play games, and do anything and everything that I feel like. And oddly enough, within hours I’m inspired enough, by something as simple as a cartoon even, to get creating again. All I needed, as it turned out, was some time off.

What I’m trying to say is that writer’s block does not have to be a really complicated problem on which you spend hours and days, scouring the internet for a solution, talking to numerous groups, taking advice from everyone who you can think of, and even doubting your choices and ability. Writer’s block is something that is simply a result of the direction your mind has chosen to take on a particular day. All you need to do is take a step back, look at everything that led up to your block, and then discover the cause of your emotion. Work on sorting out the emotion, and you sort out the problem. What you really need is to simply listen to what your thoughts are telling you. And since it is only your emotion that can be sorted by your doing something, it turns out to be your way of beating writer’s block.

Everyone has bad and good days. But not everyone is the same and not everyone handles days the same way. So if you have a problem, why look towards what others have done in the past? Just look at yourself! Do whatever feels right; and if you follow your instinct, you’ll probably find your way back to creativity. After all, what you need to remain creative is motivation that comes from within you. And who knows what’s best to keep that motivation alive other than you?

That being said, discussing your situation with others who understand can be of help too. I don’t mean that you need to follow everything that someone suggests. But someone’s experience can become the beginning of your solution. You just have to take it to its own end – and that’s where it becomes you.

What keeps you motivated and what keeps your writer’s block at bay? Share your experiences in the comments below and help someone begin their journey back to creativity! It’s happened to me before!

– Rishika

Word count: The true measure of progress?

How exactly can you measure the progress you’ve made in your novel? Some authors choose to do so by seeing how far ahead in their plot they’ve gotten, some do so by writing out random scenes that go into the final draft at a later point, and others do so by word count.

Word count – that number of words by which your manuscript has increased. To be really honest, it’s a pretty good way of checking progress. If you’ve gone from 22000 words to 25000 words in one day, that’s really impressive. To make sure that you’re not whiling your time away and actually getting work done, you can set a word count deadline for every day or every week. And for the most part, it’s an accurate marker of progress made towards finishing your novel.

So what, then, is the problem?

From what I’ve noticed, mainly from my own work, is the dependency that authors tend to develop on meeting their daily word count as the only measure of progress. Sure, you can write 10000 words in one day, and you can walk away from your laptop feeling really accomplished. But what is the point if you’re going to come back to those very words the next day and erase half of them because they’re not really as great as you thought? And what about the other end of the spectrum? What if you manage to write only 1000 words because you were busy polishing the parts you’d written earlier, or you were occupied for half the day in research? Are you supposed to end the day feeling miserable because you didn’t meet the minimum word count that you’d set for the day?

I’m guilty of doing both those things. And after a few pretty lousy days where I couldn’t write the number of words I’d thought I would, I took a step back and decided to just assess my work. What I saw was that I may have written few words, but I’d written a pretty great scene, and that too one that I’d never attempted before.

Sure, that scene and those chapters will go through edits, but they’re still the mark of something new that I’d achieved. And that, in my opinion, was the true measure of progress.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that measuring your word count is a good way to keep yourself working on a schedule and even acts as a good measure to mark the progress of your work. But there are moments and days when you just have to toss the word count aspect of your work out the window and look at what you’ve accomplished other than a bunch of words. Maybe you’ve successfully written a short scene in spite of having writer’s block, maybe you’ve written your first ever romance/war scene, or maybe you’ve managed to iron out those wrinkles from your outline that had been bothering you forever. Whatever it may be, you’ve definitely achieved something. And that should be satisfaction enough to stop you from ending your work day on the feeling that you just didn’t do enough. I’ve had that feeling a lot of times – and all it succeeds in doing, is making my night restless and leaving me too tired to work the next day!

So don’t let bad seeming days get you down. As long as you have a novel or story in the making, you’re going to be working on it. You may do that on paper, on the laptop, through research, or even just in your head. But you will always be compelled to work on it and you will always make progress, even if you don’t realize it. Just look closely and you’ll discover what you achieved.

How do you mark your progress? And how much importance would you give to word count? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

55 Words to Describe Someone’s Voice

Some great tips and ideas for writers – that evasive description of how someone’s emotions are voiced is not so evasive anymore, thanks to Nicholas’ list.

Nicholas C. Rossis

I found the following great resource on Tumblr, which will appeal to any authors/writers visiting my blog:

  • adenoidal (adj): if someone’s voice is adenoidal, some of the sound seems to come through their nose
  • appealing (adj): an appealing look/voice shows that you want help, approval, or agreement
  • breathy (adj): with loud breathing noises
  • brittle (adj): if you speak in a brittle voice, you sound as if you are about to cry
  • croaky (adj): if someone’s voice sounds croaky, they speak in a low, rough voice that sounds as if they have a sore throat
  • dead (adj): if someone’s eyes or voice are dead, they feel or show no emotion
  • disembodied (adj): a disembodied voice comes from someone who you cannot see
  • flat (adj): spoken in a voice that does not go up and down; this word is often used for describing the speech of people from a particular region

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