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Monday, February 27, 2012
So, you've taken the time to prepare yourself properly, your major homework is done, the skeletons in place and needs dressing - what do you do?
To be honest, that's down to you.
Speaking personally, I used my outline and notes to keep it to theme/concept and also to ensure it was as realistic as possible.
Being an avid reader, I also did my best to remember the methods used by my favorite authors - recalling what I liked about their styles and attitudes - to ensure my story was "likeable".
The reader has to be able to relate to the characters, so, as you make it as realistic as possible, add humor where you can, bitterness, anger, irony, disappointment, regret.
Ensure each character is endowed with a personality, so when they make an entrance the reader can instantly relate to them and think, "Aha, 'So & So' is here, I know what's coming now..."
You can't do this by rushing, and one of my initial problems - (being a bit of a perfectionist) - was having to fight the tendency to do it all at once.
So slow down, take your time. Quality will soon grow into quantity.
As I went along, I'd be completing last minute checks to ensure the story was tight! Eg, if A is in the USA and B is in UK and C is in Australia...what time is it? What is the weather like at that time of year? What factors will influence the way they interact? Would "the sun was shining in through the window".. be correct for all of them? - No!
As I completed each section, I'd skim through it afterwards to see if it flowed.
Then I'd read it slowly, pronouncing each word looking for spelling/grammar errors etc etc.
I'd read it a third time to ensure I'd kept things tight to what had gone before. (a must as your story develops) - believe me, a reader will pick up on the fact if you say your hero is brown haired and blue eyed and 34 years old at the beginning, if you then say he's 33 later on.... and its easier to mess up than you might think.
So check, check, and check again.
Believe it or not, making notes as you go along helps as well, firstly, to develop twists and turns as the story unfolds, but also, keeping your chapter notes will be a great help when it comes to constructing your synopsis.
So there you go - no great secrets, but essential basics!
Take your time - keep to a schedule - take regular breaks - maintain the quality, and check, check, check.
I must admit, at this stage I also spent a bit of time starting to research Literary Agents and Publishers to find out what they expected, and find out if any particular agent or publisher concentrated on my genre.
As this is important, I think I'll write a bit about that next.
Until then, take care.