Moonrise Ink novel progress

My progress on Moonrise Ink has been continuing slowly. The book is now at 71,138 words, and I’ve got about 7 scenes left to write. It’s nice to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve never finished writing something of this length before. Still, there will be a ton of editing and polishing left to do. Anyway, I’m hoping I can finish this first draft before the end of this month, as I’d really like to try NaNoWriMo for a fourth time next month.

Before you write

There are some things every writer should do before sitting down to write. These preparations will ensure that writing time goes smoothly and is a fun experience. Here is what I call the “Essential Writer Checklist”:

1) Get some sleep. You can’t write if you’re tired. If you do, you’ll make a bunch of mistakes and only waste time. If you have to take a nap in the middle of the day, do it.
2) Eat something. If it’s morning, eat breakfast, of course. Mid-morning? Get a snack or a drink. You don’t want to find yourself hungry in the middle of writing.
3) Make sure all house chores are done. You can’t write if chores are haunting the back of your mind.
4) Watch a movie. This will help give you some good story ideas, and inspire you with dreams of your novel getting turned into a movie. Most writers skip this step, and this is why so many books aren’t that good nowadays.
5) Browse the web. It’s important to be up-to-date on the latest book news, and you don’t want to miss any writing tips a blog or a forum post may contain.
6) Listen to some music. Music affects human emotions more directly than any other art. There is simply no excuse for not getting into the writing mood by listening to some good music for an hour or so before you begin.
7) Read back over everything you wrote and make sure it’s good. It’s a waste of time to continue writing something if it just has a bunch of mistakes.
8) Update Twitter and Facebook to let everyone know that you are now writing. This will help build your reputation as a writer, and thus build your self-esteem, and thus help your writing.

Remember, this checklist must be repeated every day you want to write. If you skip anything, your writing will suffer and you will never succeed.

If you don’t complete the checklist, don’t worry. There’s always tomorrow.

Putting the movie in the mind onto the page

I’ve heard quite a few writers talk about how they can see their story in their mind like a movie, but they get frustrated that they can’t seem to capture it in words.

To which I reply:

Well, of course you can’t. If writing could communicate images as easily as actual images, the film industry wouldn’t exist.

You shouldn’t be trying to capture images with your writing, you should be trying to convey emotions. Let the readers create their own images; give their imaginations some credit!

I’m not saying you should never describe anything visual. Of course you must do that. I’m saying that the point of your descriptions should not be to share the “movie in your mind” or the “picture in your head.” It should be to convey an emotion (usually the emotion of the POV character at that time) through the description, both in its wording and in what you choose to include in it.

The reader is never going to see that brilliant image in your mind, but if you can convey a powerful emotion with your words, you can trust that his imagination will be perfectly capable of filling in the details and coming up with something that will work better for him than anything you could describe.

Not Just Rockets and Robots

My short story Maker of the Twenty-first Moon appears in Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. Daily Science Fiction publishes a story every weekday, and this book collects all the stories from their entire first year.

The resulting book is 871 pages of science fiction, fantasy, slipstream; 260 or so stories to entertain and possibly even make you think. At more than 425,000 words, it’s more than 4 good-sized novels worth of fiction.

I got my copy last week. It’s wonderful for someone like me who prefers to read on paper.