Monday, March 11, 2013


Writing a story is capturing the vision and sounds in our minds and putting them into words.


My husband has been editing the first of several books of a detective series he's written. Hub's has had two skilled writer/editors look at the first manuscript. One loved the smart-ass character and his corny jokes as well as the premise of story, except for a few things which take up a couple of pages. The other wasn't as enamored of the politically incorrect, smart ass character, but also gave several pages of story fix-its. 

Dan has been groaning. A lot

Writing is a love/hate relationship. As Ringo Starr once sang, "You know it don't come easy..."

The writer that tells you that the words always flow and the stories are easy is either lying or living in an alternate universe. We all hit spots that required discipline and yes, work. Even when we get the essence of the scene down, the editing of the word choices, the phrasing and descriptions, and the action and emotion, is work. Hard work. You strive for painting each scene as clearly as you can and giving it the most impact so it flows seamlessly into the next. That may take several revisions.
Revisions and editing are not easy. Or at least they aren't in my world.
Some writers tend to write the initial draft of their work in bare bones scenes. I’d compare it to an animator who does the preliminary pencil sketches. They capture the essence of the scene with dialog and action and leave the fill in work for the first pass. Others write fairly detailed scenes of the vision see in their mind and then go back and cut out the superfluous details to bring into focus the core of the story.

My husband has also been researching query letters. This morning he asked me, "Do you know how many conflicting ideas there are out there on writing a good query letter?"

Yes, dear, I know. I know.
  • Do you have a style of writing your first draft or does it vary with the story?


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Tell your husband to keep that smart-ass character.

And try not to laugh at him too much.

Johanna Garth said...

Holy moly, both you and your husband are writers! That must make for such interesting dinner table conversation and support for each other!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Tell him welcome to the club!
I've found NaNo and similar prompts get me through the first draft quickly. Which is good, because revising is more fun.

Ciara said...

Tell your husband to keep the character. Not everyone will like it, but I bet it jumps of the page with originality.

Kittie Howard said...

First, good luck to your husband. I'm sure his had work will reap rewards. (And I like smart-ass, politically incorrect long as there isn't any preaching.)

I'm in the midst of editing now. You're right: It don't come easy. *sighs*

~Sia McKye~ said...

Ciara, oh, TREMAINE is an original, lol! Actually, I like the story and the character tends to favor pop culture in some movie quotes now and then.

Diane, I do try not to laugh when he comes to me with writing research, like the query letter info.

No preaching Kittie. Tremaine has an aversion to preaching :-)

Alex, Dan tends to work a couple hours very early in the mornings. Like before I crack my eyes open. At 4am I'm snoozing in dreamland.

Johanna, it makes for some interesting conversation, to be sure. I like his second story a lot and his secondary character is fun and quirky as well.

DonnaGalanti said...

Sia, I feel for your hubby as I am revising 2 books now - a middle grade and the sequel to my suspense novel that's out! The middle grade full book has been with several agents and from feedback from them I've revised again...and again...and again (more than a year now). Now it's back to my editor a 2nd time. Fingers crossed this is it! Indeed, the cliche is true: if it was easy everyone would do it. :)

I write a first draft fast, knowing the end before I start. Things can evolve along the way but I write it part time in about 6 months...then revise ALOT. Arghh.

Tell your hubby to take heart - he is working hard to make his gem shine. And we can actually learn to love and appreciate the revision process as piece by piece we can add layers of richness to the story and our characters.

Carol Kilgore said...

Smart-ass characters are the best kind!

The more I write, the more I put into the first draft because I experience more in my head. But I still don't put enough.

Nicki Elson said...

I recently did so much whining in front of my two kids during my last round of edits: "Writing is sooo haaaard." Payback for listening them complain about homework. ;) And oh man, did I mean it.

Best of luck to your husband. It's wonderful for him that he has a spouse who truly understands.

Jo said...

I once wanted to write a book, after reading everything I have read about the subject for the last several years, I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole. However, I am so glad all of you do persevere, get your ideas down, revise them, edit them and all the other multitude of tasks necessary before I the reader ever get to see them. Congratulate hubs, from me, that he has got this far.


Karen Walker said...

I am working on my first fiction piece and it is of the bare bones variety you mention. I will now go back and fill it out. Tell your husband to stay true to the story he loves and the character his loves. He'll find the way to publish it.

Mark Koopmans said...


LOVE the Irish music and oh how I wish there was one format for a query letter... but then there would only be one agent :)

Happy Paddy's Day to yez both :)