Friday, October 21, 2011

Barbie Jo's Bunkhouse: Putting on the Polish

This week I have been Polishing my current WIP "Bet on Love". I love this part of writing! While it does take a bit more time, the results really do make the story sparkle.

We all know, and have heard a gazillion time, that writing is RE-Writing. And that is 100% true. Unless you are a megga-super-writer, I'm sure there is always a first draft. Then what? You know, you send it to your critique partner (CP) and let them catch any typos you may have missed, find any inconsistencies in plot or character. Then you go through and correct those minor things. When that is done, it's time to polish.

By polish, I'm talking adding those extra details. The rich descriptions that give you story a big-book feel, things that will stick with the reader even after the book is done. But just like every other aspect of writing, it's work. Polishing means looking at every sentence and seeing if there is a place to add in a setting detail, a character tag, one of the 5 senses.

For example, my hero is a doctor working on diabetes research. He's a laid back, single dad. So when my heroine is having coffee at his house, he's not going to have fine china, and he's not going to have mis-matched cups. She's going to pull out a mug that says "I need coffe, Stat!". I thought it was cute, and quirky and gives us a touch more info on what he's all about. Yes, he's a dedicated researcher, but he's got a sense of humor. I love googling those little details too. It's fun to think of something like that, then turn to the internet to find just that special saying or picture.

Also because he loves the outdoors, I can bring alot of his outdoor sportsman details into the decor of his home. A small touch of pictures of the wall, fishing and camping equipment that might be around his house, all give us a hint about who he is and add those rich details when we are in his home.

Any detail, no matter how small will add that polish to your story helping to give it a life of its own. Sometimes it's kind of second nature and we add these details as we go. But it's very easy to get stuck going over the same chapter or scene several times which can hinder the progress of your MS. That's why I find it easier to get the story out, focus more on characters and plot as I write and THEN go back to add the details. Because if you're like me, your writing time is precious and that is when you need to focus on the story. It's easier to polish when you're on the go, sitting at a sports practice, during lunch hour, or a couple hours in the evening.

Do any of you have a favorite part of the writing process?


Kari Lee Townsend said...

So true, Barbie Jo! I love adding the sparkle. I do the same thing. Get the plot down, and then the fun begins. That's my favorite part of the writing process ... adding in the sparkle. It always puts a smile on my face.

Good luck....sounds like your edits are going fabulously :-)

Cassy Pickard said...

Barbie Jo, good post! I too like the edits. I like them so much that getting the first draft done is a challenge- I keep editing. So that means I have overworked 50 pages and underworked 200 pages. But, I'm learning to let go of that and keep the fingers to the keyboard.

Liz Lipperman said...

Count me in as one who loves editing, too. I love reading over what I've already written and adding stuff to make it better.

Great Friday post, Barbie. have a great one, everyone.

Lindsay said...

I'm not much of a fan of editing but know it needs to be done. I tend to add more details with each one until I'm satisfied.

Barbie Jo Mahoney said...

Kari - oh yes, edits going so well I am finally done! YAY!!! and yes, I'm having a drink or two later. :D

Cassy - I was in the overworking boat for quite a while. I could never move on until I felt the chapter I was working on was perfect. And even then, when the whole story was done...didn't I go back to said perfect chapter and have to work through it or polish. It's been a slow process for me, but I'm learning to appreciate the whole "puke it out" saying. I will even have pages of just head-hopping dialogue (cuz I know who's talking) and then go back and fill in the action/descriptions. now that's fun. And puking it out actually gets me words on the page!

Liz - Have you ever read something you wrote and were like "damn, that's good! did I really write that?" LOL. I love those moments! And then there are the "crap! that sucks! I can't believe I wrote that."

Lindsey - Stick with us M&M'ers. we will teach you the art of loving to edit! LOL. We can be like your fairy godmothers of editing! Wait! Where's my wand??

Lindsay said...

Make sure you bring the wand to CB. I or maybe you might need it