Month: August 2013

Major Awkwardness

I mentioned in my previous post that I had sent out my completed draft of The Unseeing to a few beta readers for opinions and feedback. Pretty standard procedure, right? That group includes a few friends who enjoy the genre I write in, and my parents, who by virtue of raising me and all that, get first dibs on anything I deem share-worthy. And my dad in particular offers pretty good advice.

So what’s the issue?

The issue is, this book has some racy bits. Nudity and suggestive dialogue and the word ‘climax.’ <— That word a lot. Or ‘came.’ NIPPLE even, for god’s sake. You get the point.


Now I know it’s not his first time reading that sort of material (and really, it’s fairly tame). He read 50 Shades, of all things, just to see what the hype was about. That was something I could have been happier not knowing about him, but whatever. The discussion he attempted to have with me about the content was also something I could have lived without. One does not talk about such things with one’s father. But surely it must be different reading those things knowing that your daughter, who you cradled in your arms as a newborn, wrote them.

I am 33 years old. I’ve been married for ten years and have two children. It must not be out of the realm of possibility that I have naughty thoughts from time to time BUT MY DAD DOESN’T NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEM.

Mortifying. You don’t even know.

I just… ugh.

Draft Complete, and Other Housekeeping

I have a working draft of The Unseeing in my file folder. It’s been sent off to a few readers now to see how the greater populace takes it. I did two rounds of revisions before I shared it out, and cut about 7,000 words from the original draft. I think it’s in decent shape, but I also thought my third draft of The Unraveling was in decent shape and ended up doing a major overhaul in the fifth and sixth.

One thing I really wish I could find is a real crit group of other writers I could trade feedback for. I’m sure in my city of more than a million people there must be a few, but I have no idea how to find one. Then there’s the fact that I’d be coming into the group with two completed novels for critiquing. And the fact that I’d prefer a slow, torturous death to sitting in front of strangers and reading my rough work aloud. Is there an online-only crit group out there somewhere?

Seriously, is there?

While I’m waiting for the feedback from my beta readers to trickle in, it’s back to the grind of querying for me. I got some helpful notes with one rejection that I want to apply, so that’s my focus for the next couple weeks. Then I plan on spending a good amount of time outlining the next book. My tentative plan is to start writing it for NaNo 2013 in November, but I’ll need a solid outline if I’m going to hit 50K without losing my mind like I did the last time I attempted it. My outlines are no small feat – the last one was 6,000 words of point-form notes.

It’s nice to have the next couple months planned out, although the workload seems like it’s a bit light without major editing or new content to write. Might be a good time to start developing some of the other story ideas I have kicking around in my head… this song keeps coming up on iTunes and sparking scenes and ideas. I’m listening, universe…

The Book Was Written Passively By Me

I’m elbows deep in editing my current WIP right now, and to my dismay and bafflement, I’m seeing a lot of passive language. I don’t know how I fell into the habit, because it’s not my usual style of writing, but it’s all over the place and it’s been tortuously slow editing it all out and changing it to a more active structure. I have to look at every sentence I wrote and find the subject, verb and noun and make sure they’re in the right order. It’s easy enough with short, simple sentences, but complex ones sometimes make my head ache trying to sort it out. This is going to be a long slog, and I’m sure it’ll take a couple more rounds of revisions than usual to make sure I catch it all.

I did write the first draft much quicker than I did my first one – less thought into sentence structure in an effort to just get it all down on paper may account for it. I wonder if subconsciously it’s not a reflection of what my main character is feeling in this story as well – not in control for a lot of the time, having things done to her instead of doing things herself. With that in mind I’m preserving some of it, rules be damned. It’s told in first person, so sometimes a passive structure feels more appropriate. Just not as extensive as what I apparently wrote.

A couple links I found useful when it comes to passive voice:

Seven Examples of Passive Voice (and how to fix them)

Passive Voice: Linking Verbs and Wordiness

Fiction Writing and Other Oddities: Passive Voice

I found the last one especially useful because I’m writing in first-person, past-tense, which means I do use ‘was’ and ‘had’ in the course of my writing. Differentiating between past-tense and passive writing can be difficult when many resources advise to just look for those two key words (plus a couple more) and delete them. I’m definitely guilty of a lot of ‘was +ing verb’ writing this time around though, which isn’t passive, but is wordy and a lot of times can be changed.

The good news is, I’m getting aggressive with my passive writing.