musings, thoughts, and writings of Barbara W. Klaser

July 5, 2007

Critiques II

I decided to answer your comments in a new post, since some of my responses are lengthy. You’ve given me a lot to think about and helped me reconsider my feelings about critiques. Even though I disagree with some points, as they relate to my writing at this time, you all shared wisdom that deserves attention. (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 7:33 pm PST, 07/05/07

September 29, 2006

When reading is impossible

I’m in what I hope is my next to final re-read of my novel before I start submitting it. I’m attempting to just read, without editing, to get a feel for how the reader will receive it.

I loved to read, as a girl and a young adult. I still do, but I often wish I could read the same way I did back then. Once you’ve been a writer, editor, or proofreader (and I’ve been all of those), it becomes nearly impossible to just read, without editing or analyzing or noticing parts of speech. I can barely make it through almost anyone else’s writing anymore without wanting to stop and edit, or at least correct a typo here and there, or think about some aspect of it besides the story being told, the information or advice being relayed. Plot structure, characterization. Wondering why the author did that, or admiring a description rather than staying in the story.

It’s even worse with my own writing. No matter how many times I’ve been through it, no matter how good anyone else thinks it is, I find it impossible to just read what I’ve written. I’ve heard that near the end of his life Ernest Hemmingway could barely compose a single sentence, he’d become such a perfectionist about his writing. But, I wonder, how was he at reading? That’s the thing that kills me.

It’s a mad dance with myself, trying to read this book. But I hope that as I read through this draft, if I can distance myself enough from it, I’ll see it more the way other readers will. I also hope to come to a final decision about a title for this book. Finally I hope to see the big picture of the story, and notice any gaping flaws or errors in logic, rather than the little nit-picky things I’ll focus on the final time through.

— Barbara @ rudimentary 12:55 pm PST, 09/29/06

April 23, 2006

Which words count?

I’ve decided there are three kinds of writers when it comes to word count. Those who wind up with too few words, and those who wind up with too many. Then there are those fortunate souls who write just the right amount.

I’m in the second category. I’m a wordy writer, and it frustrates me to see how many extra words I write. If I’d been able to keep my words in check, the story surely wouldn’t have taken so long to come together. Or would it? Why this need to expand so much on what can be said with so many less words? (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 4:05 pm PST, 04/23/06

March 10, 2006

Why we blog

A recent Washington Post column queried Bloggers on the Reasons Behind Their Daily Words. Reading it got me to thinking yet again about why I blog.

I started my website back in 2000, when Shadows Fall was first published, for the same reason most writers do, to promote my work. Four years later I started this blog as a way to provide up-to-date content on my website and let visitors know what I was working on—basically as a way to keep the website from stagnating when too much time passed between novels. Little did I know at the time that the blog would engage so much of my attention.

The immediacy of this format holds a certain attraction. Type, click a button, and what you’ve written is published. But that has its drawbacks. As easy as email, which carries its own risks, a blog can suck you out into public view in a way that’s scary and in some ways deceiving. It’s easy to forget you’re putting yourself “out there” to the degree we do online. After all, I’m seated here alone at my home computer as I type this into a little window on my screen. It doesn’t feel public at all, at the time I write. (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 2:55 pm PST, 03/10/06

February 5, 2006

While I wasn’t blogging

Linking the past days together— It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I didn’t know. Isn’t that usually in January? I don’t pay attention to professional sports, and some years my only clue about when that event occurs is the date they tell you the winner of the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes will be announced, which doesn’t apply to me, since I don’t enter. If Ed McMahon shows up at my door it’s more likely to be about Neighborhood Watch, or because he just spoke to Johnny Carson and he’s heard I have an interest in contact with the other side. (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 3:30 pm PST, 02/05/06

December 6, 2005

Second draft revisited

To answer some of your comments, I’m much happier with the characters in this second draft of my latest mystery, and I think they’ll continue to grow, which is important for a series I’ll want to go back to. It wouldn’t do for the author to get bored with the backdrop and characters in a series too soon.

How does the emotional factor compare with my earlier mysteries? Shadows Fall was intensely emotional, since it dealt with Beth Gray’s PTSD and related phobia, as well as her dramatic family interactions. That was a different kind of story. It’s been called psychological suspense by some, and I think it tips in that direction. This story doesn’t go that far into psychological drama, but there’s a strong people element, as well as romance, and these characters have their histories, which to a great extent drive them to do the things they do, for good or ill. Instead of psychology, here I’m exploring one area of parapsychology—or at least paranormal experience. Nothing creepy or horrific about it, but I hope it will intrigue all the same. (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 3:04 pm PST, 12/06/05

December 2, 2005

Second draft completed

I thought I’d better check in, since I’ve been absent so much lately you might think I’d been sucked into my computer and am living an alternate existence inside my own fiction. That’s how it feels sometimes. I’ve finally finished the second draft of the novel in progress. This was a huge effort, mainly because I rewrote just about the whole thing. Except for one or two of the early chapters it’s almost unrecognizable compared to the first draft, with major point of view and character changes. I’m much happier with the resolution to the mystery. I’m reading back through, looking for the places the story slows down. (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 8:57 pm PST, 12/02/05

September 13, 2005

A second viewpoint character

My current novel started out as a story told from a single point of view, that of a young woman named Iris Somerset, who’s a tarot reader. She gets caught up in a murder investigation, mainly because the police don’t believe she had a psychic vision of the murder. She doesn’t really blame them. She can hardly believe it herself.

The first draft seemed to go great, and I finished it quickly.

It felt a little flat to me. There was a lot more story seeping into my mind, as the original idea developed and morphed over time, than was apparent in that draft. The main problem was the limited viewpoint. After debating with myself for a while, I decided the story needed a second viewpoint character. Actually I have to admit the character himself told me this. Yeah, sounds a little crazy, huh. But this is fiction. He was coming to life, and he wanted a voice.

The character was already there. I just had to make him a viewpoint character, change some scenes that involved him so he could tell a portion of the story from his perspective, reveal some of what he knew.

It sounds so simple. (more…)

— Barbara @ rudimentary 12:39 pm PST, 09/13/05

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