I’m writing a book series called Tips For Better Fiction Writing, in which I tackle all the rookie mistakes new writers make.
And hey, I made them, too.
Which is why I’m helping you not make them.
Until the next book in the series comes out, you’ll see these gems here on the blog.
Today, let’s talk about process. Try to stay awake.
People say I write fast.
That’s more true than they know.
They mean I seem to crank out books and chapters and blog posts, which I do. I wrote 5400 words in a few hours this morning.
But that’s not what I mean here.
When I have a scene, especially dialogue, I literally write it as fast as I can. Often the words are illegible and the scene is full of typos, and some parts of it make no sense.
It’s the cadence that I’m after.
I edit it the gibberish with real words (and hopefully fewer typos) so it becomes readable.
In that, we may be different. Many writers you analyze a lot and review, polishing and looking for the exact way to phrase every line. I like to bust out a scene, then force myself – and I mean force – to let it rest.
That is sooooo hard, not looking at it AT ALL for a period of time.
But it’s necessary.
For me, a chapter of 1000 – 3000 words needs at least overnight. Maybe longer. Then I try to give my stuff the same effort I do yours or someone else’s that I’m critiquing. I look f or every place that baby blanket in the woods snags in my head. I’m relentless, or try to be.
You’d think it’s better to go slow and be thorough up front.
I should try that sometime…
Seriously, my approach captures the dialogues very effectively. So does having a verbal discussion that I speak into my phone’s notebook using talk to text. We repeat a lot when we speak, so you have to trim that out, but I envision both personalities in the scene, talking and trading lines, all verbally, so the ums and ahs and errors and stuff get in there.
But so does the cadence.
And one of them always disagrees or interrupts or goes off on a tangent, like we do in real life.
That’s why people like my dialogues.
They’re real, smoothed by editing and punched up with rewrites, but they don’t look like it.
You can do this stuff.
Wanna get personalized tips like this for your story and take it to the next level? Check out my Private Critique Group.
What’s YOUR revision process like?
And the less your reader expects it, the more surprised they’ll be – and the more sudden your scene will read. So set it up that way. Let readers think one thing and do the other without warning. Don’t announce it with “suddenly.”
Get A Is For Action today for 99 cents, part of Dan Alatorre’s Tips For Better Fiction Writing series.