Prose is the undertow that immerses readers, and the deeper they sink, the more truth and beauty they can explore. The transformative power of storytelling resides in the author’s ability to pull readers into an unfamiliar sea and convince them they can taste the salt. Until they believe the waves lapping at their imaginations are real, they won’t set sail—or ever reach the shore of a new perspective.
How do you know what to change, when to change it, and whether you’ve fixed the problem? In today’s episode, Martin, Lori, and Daeus discuss how to manage large-scale revisions and find the motivation to edit when you’re overwhelmed.
We stopped at the teashop on Madison Street. Abstract renditions of flowers hung from the walls. A case displayed little pastries, perfect and neat. The worker behind the counter gave us a smile. We returned the greeting and found a seat.
When you think about the process of worldbuilding, what images form in your mind? Maybe you see a forest of exotic plants and mystical creatures. Or architecture that splices the sky and advanced technology that allows users to perform hundreds of tasks without lifting a finger. Or even a totalitarian regime that controls every citizen, from the rich to the poor. But have you focused on your characters yet?
Horror of horrors, beta readers keep telling you that your villain isn’t scary. You’ve given him a tragic past, control issues, and bloodlust. He even has an impeccable sense of style and color coordinates his weapons and outfits. Why isn’t he memorable?
Recently I had a dream; creeping and stealthy, it quietly came. The pictures I saw were dull and blurred, but the air about me with voices stirred. Confused at first, but gradually clear, each one shouted, “I knew him here!” Then one spoke out, the voice of Flesh, soft and low amid the clamorous rush.
An idea captures your attention, and after mulling it over for a few weeks, you begin to pursue it. The story flows naturally until you pass 20,000 words and realize you’re not sure why your protagonist made a life-altering decision in chapter one. All of your excitement flickers out. Have you failed at plotting? Every scene now feels contrived!