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Apr 21, 2009

Writing the Breakout Novel

I'm going light on blogging while I:

A) Catch up on beta reading -- which is in itself quite illuminating. So often I'll catch some problem, say, overwriting, and realize, damn, I do this too.

B) At the same time, I'm using responses from my beta readers and the Donald Maass Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook to edit my Dindi story. (Yes, again. It still has not compelled five agents to scramble over themselves to represent it, so clearly it still needs work.) I've read the Maass book by the same name, but never read the workbook before. Has anyone else gone through it?

C) Beyond mere editing, I'm still brainstorming like mad to figure out how to fig-leaf the ginormous plot hole in the middle of my series. This is not even something caught by my beta readers, because they wouldn't be able to see it until a few more books into the series. But I believe that through the mystical power of the Great Unconscious, they can already sense the Black Plothole sucking all life from the story, even this far away from the event horizon.

21 comments:

Windsong said...

Ack! Good luck on fixing the plot hole. Not fun. :) Isn't beta reading great? I've learned more through alpha and beta reading than I could have without them.

sraasch said...

I did Maass's workbook and loved it! He has some really great exercises in there. Awesome help, and it's fun!

Lisa and Laura said...

Love this line:

But I believe that through the mystical power of the Great Unconscious, they can already sense the Black Plothole sucking all life from the story, even this far away from the event horizon.

That cracked me up. Good luck with the black plothole of doom and all of your edits.

We're FINALLY on the last 50 pages of our revisions, but it's taking forever. Writing is the easy part, it's all of this revising that's the real work in my opinion.

lotusgirl said...

Good luck with everything. We'll miss you.

PurpleClover said...

Have fun!

And I agree with LiLa (Lisa and Laura) great line!

BTW - I linked to you in my latest post. Hope you don't mind. Got a lot of feedback.

PC

Lady Glamis said...

Light on blogging is just fine. Good luck! I hope you get a lot done. And I've found the same thing while beta reading... "Oh, I do this too..."

I learn a lot from sharing my work and reading work that others share with me. It's great!

The Screaming Guppy said...

Hang in there!

If you need a re-read of anything, let me know. :)

scott g.f. bailey said...

I don't know Donald Maass, but I do believe you're writing your breakout novel!

I just realized last night that I spend a bunch of pages setting up an event that...well, never happens. It just fades into the background. Oops. That's more a loose end than a plot hole, but there is so much to keep track of in a novel. That's why I make charts. Which sometimes even help. Possibly I just like making charts.

ban said...

i understand scott, sometimes i get so caught up in the behind the scenes stuff (making calendars, family trees, outlines and sketches etc.) i forget to actually write the story.
tara, sorry about the plothole sucking all the light out of your story :( i'm sure you will eventually figure out the perfect way to draw everything together.

Tara Maya said...

Windsong and lotusgirl, thanks.

Sara, glad to know you recommend it.

Erin, I intend to take you up on the offer.

Lady Glamis, I'm almost done with Monarch and have many Deep Thoughts concerning it.

Purple, Links are always welcome. :)

Laura and Lisa, glad to hear the arduous process is almost over. Yes, I realize even if I finish all of my revisions and make it shine enough to win an agent's, the editor's attention, there will still be more levels of revision.

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Scott. :) I actually thought of your novel a lot while I was reading it. I still think your books has "high concept."

Davin has a discussion of mentors on The Literary Lab. One of my problems with my fantasy series is that it *is* a series and none of my beta readers have read beyond the first book, so I have no one to brainstorm with on the larger synopsis. :(

Ban, the worldbuilding stage is extremely important, especially in fantasy. Don't feel bad about spending time on it.

Litgirl01 said...

Sending you lots of luck!! :-) I have heard so much about that book...going to have to check it out!

ban said...

tara, you can always brainstorm on the beta bloggers - that's one of the reasons we set it up, not just to give feedback on snippets ...

beth said...

Hey--at least you have direction. You're already ahead of the countless people who don't even see the problems with their mss!

Davin Malasarn said...

Good luck, Tara! Yes, reading the works of others can be very illuminating. That was one of the reasons I took on an editing job at a magazine. Now I end up reading a hundred short stories a month and it really helps you see patterns and flaws in others and yourself.

Tara Maya said...

Thanks, Ban, getting my comments in on the site is one of the things I'm working on.

Janet C. said...

I learn so much from being a beta reader - and critting. And I love to see the excitement bubbling underneath the writer's words - the thrill of creation. If you have that, you will have no problems 'fixing' your problems.

I look forward to hearing your take on the Maass workbook - I've read the book and found it very useful.

And the betabloggers would love to help with any brainstorming you need :)

laughingwolf said...

i have the maass book, but not the workbook... will look for it

as for plot holes, needs must get the sanforized ones, no? :O lol

PurpleClover said...

You have time to fill the plot hole!

BTW - I just read your very first post out of curiosity...the comment section - HILARIOUS!

Solvang Sherrie said...

I recently bought the book, not the workbook, but my blogging buddy Becky Levine loves the workbook. She's done several posts about it.

And Lisa and Laura are right: the editing is more work than the writing. Have fun in the black hole!

Jenna said...

I've been through the workbook. Parts of it were pretty awesome, but the first few bits kind of irked me.

jessie said...

Ooh, the Black Plothole. No one ever told me how dangerous this work could be. I'll have to take care.