Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Welcome to my Writing Life

Just a quick note to get things started.

What I hope to do here is pass along all the little tricks, strategies and lessons I've learned along the way of striving to be a professional writer. I've had some success on this path. I've published a health/wellness book, TriEnergetics: Balancing Nutrition, Exercise and Meditation for Lasting Wellness with New Harbinger Press that's in its second printing. I've published articles with Men's Fitness and Men's Health, penned some ten to fifteen cover features in various national magazines. Not a bad start.

But my main love is fiction.

On those lines, I've published about ten short stories in regional and national journals, but my passion is novels. Thrillers. I've got stories brimming in my head, dying to be put to page. Currently, I'm working on what I hope to be the final revisions of my medical/thriller Deadly Vision, and my plan is to pass onto you, various lessons I've learned as we go through this writing process together. In addition to writing tips and techniques, I'll share what I've learned about getting an agent, writing a query, promotions, publishing, as well as the tears and joys as we go along this path together. Just so you know, I already have an agent for this book, who's as eager as I am to see this revision completed.

Please comment as much as you care to, argue and debate. I'd love for this to become an open forum on the joys and sorrows of our writing lives. I expect this blog to help me as much as it may help any of you.

The first lesson I want to share is the process by which I'm working right now on revising. Importantly, this is the final revision. Early drafts had cleared up plot points, expanded character, added detail. Now, I'm trying to pare down to a desired length of 100,000 words.

At the side of my desk, on a big pad of paper, I keep this list visible at all times, to remind me of what is essential for me to do at this stage of revision.

The Ten-Point Revision Strategy

1) Remove unnecessary exposition - RUE (resist urge to explain) - keep them guessing

Show don't tell

Know each character's motivation

4) Tighten dialogue - no direct answers

5) End chapter earlier - cut last paragraph

6) Kill adverbs

7) Tighten words

8) Describe through movement

Shorten as tension increases

Move story forward

Most of these steps are self-explanatory, but I'll describe each one in depth in future posts.

For now, keep on writing.

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