Hey, my nugs! Welcome to May! I hope everyone had a great April, and let’s hope for no more snow until next winter. If your region is just beginning winter, then I hope it’s not a terrible season for you. But with the spring/summer beginning here, I hope everyone enjoys some more sunshine. I’m going to attempt some writing at our local park to see if I like that this summer. But, now, let’s get into May’s Newsletter!
I re-wrote one of my oldest short stories. I originally titled it The Boy and the Actor, but the new working title is Beautiful Fear. It was really fun to go back to such an old story and return to a character’s head that I hadn’t been in for a while. After doing a read through and making some notes, I’m preparing to revise the story before I pass it off to a reader for some outside feedback. It’s changed a lot since the first draft, and I look forward to seeing what others might think of it before I find a literary magazine to submit it to. If you have a favorite Horror/Thriller Literary Magazine you like, please add it to the comments below!
I’m happy to say that I’ve finished my read through of the first quarter of the Scroll of Stone. During my read through, I kept an eye open for little details about characters, setting details, foreshadowing, and anything else I might need to watch for continuity. I did most of my primary writing of The Scroll of Stone in Scrivener and exported it to a word document because I like Word’s Comment feature. It’s one I became comfortable with in college, but if you have a different method, I fully support you in that. Now that I’ve made notes and reread all 163 pages of The Scroll of Stone Act 1, I’m happy to say I really look forward to sharing this world of worlds with you. I’m working on consolidating my notes in my Story Bible and it’s blown me away that I don’t even remember some notes I made. Learn more about my review process in a brief article below!
Please Subscribe is still sitting in the digital drawer to age like a nice whiskey. Then I’ll tap the cask, if you will, and do a similar read through to the Scroll of Stone. I hope to get this story line done in 3 drafts to speed up getting the stories out to my readers! Each time I write a new story line, I’ve found I use a different approach. I’m still mastering my process, and the process for this so far was writing a 2 page outline where I gave a general summary of events in each act as: Act 1, Act 2A, Act 2B, and Act 3. By the time I reached Act 2A I had already deviated from the original plan, but I look at any outline or notes I use as a guidepost rather than a lane I have to stay in.
What to Expect:
I’m excited to announce I’ll actually have a book review for this month! Behind Blue Eyes by Anna Mocikat! This cyberpunk thriller is one to add to your shelf, especially if you’re a fan of cyberpunk. Check in later this month for the full review!
This month’s posts will be Types of Setting: Social and Historical. It may seem like there’s a lot of overlap between each type of setting, but what you’re focusing on and what the setting details achieve for you and your reader change with each type. So keep checking in every week and offering feedback on what you enjoy, dislike, or any additional comments you see fit.
Reviewing your Story
During every step of the writing process, I think it’s valuable to review your story. Here are some things to look for, and how you can find gifts you didn’t even realize you wrote in.
Most of the time, you are aware of what gestures you’re using for your character (s), but often a writer may not realize they’re overusing a gesture. You may use the gesture that they character rubs their chin every time they’re thinking hard about something. As long as you stay consistent and try to make it unique, then that’s okay. But with the unique gestures, you’ll find that using it too often will drive your reader crazy.
An example of one novel, that I didn’t end up finishing, used the movement that the characters turned acutely on their heel each time they turned away from something. I struggled with this because it wasn’t just one character that turned acutely on their heel; it was all of them. Such a small thing, but that’s what started the downward spiral in my assessment of that novel. Even in the one I’m working on right now, I’ve had a lot of clenching of fists and jaws without realizing it at first. This is my first draft, but by making myself aware of it now will make my future edits easier and focused.
If you have a friend who likes people watching, or you yourself do, talk with them about where they go to people watch and why that’s their favorite location for such activities. Try to recognize how you act differently in different settings, and you’ll be well on your way to develop those authentic differences for the social norms of your stories. If your character is a confident attorney in the courtroom, what happens when they have to move from the big city to a small country town? Do their words change? Are they sweating through their suits or dresses as they deal with the unfamiliar heat of the south?
Then watch how those in the community react to them. Did you notice certain side/random characters sneering at them? Or did everyone seem to smile at them like they knew something the character didn’t?
These are details that a writer may not notice at first, but may hint at a greater gift from the texts on what’s really going on in your story.
Of course, I’m going to talk about setting details while you’re in the middle of learning about building different types of setting in your story. I don’t know about you, but when I’m writing a scene in a city, forest, or mountain, I don’t know exactly what the character will face before they reach that point. So by going back and seeing what setting details you gift yourself in, each chapter helps shape the world and build the map of the world you’re creating.
There are so many more “gifts” you’ll find as you review your story, so keep your mind open to all possibilities. Thank you for reading today’s post and please add any insights, questions, or other pertinent information in the comments section. As always, keep writing, keep learning, and stay fresh, my nugs!
Previous Newsletter: April/What is a Story Bible
Previous Post: Types of Setting: Physical
Next Post: Types of Setting: Social
Next Newsletter: June/TBD(Check back next month!)
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