Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Project

So in a sense I'm in a lull between projects. I just finished a middle-grade science-fantasy novel called UNGIFTED, which is now on submission to agents. Regarding my science fiction mid-grade novel, SAVAGE JUNGLE, which is my thesis for Seton Hill's Writing Popular Fiction program (I could rant forever about how much I love that program), it's in its "nitty gritty/polishing" stage. I might take a little break first, but it's definitely time to kick off a new project.

I've been playing with a couple MG dystopian ideas. One of them is similar in a way to THE HUNGER GAMES, and given that book's (and movie's) immense popularity right now, I feel like it might not be the best idea to pursue that project at the moment (talk about going AGAINST the trend on that one). The other one, however, I'm equally excited about and has one of those premises that is similar to tons of stories. In fact, recently I found a couple books that use this same general premise, one of which has been inspiring. At first I was horrified. I thought I'd conceived a fun, original idea, but nooooooooo, it has been done quite a few times. Thankfully, though, the stories are still very different from my idea (I read them) and each other, so I think I'll go ahead and write mine. It's funny how so many stories can be written using the same basic premise (no, I'm not going to reveal what it is, but believe me, it's been around), yet turn out so wildly different. It's also a wonderful thing.

Anyway, I've already written some of this new book, so all I need to do is pick up from where I left off before. Should be fun, and I should be getting to that soon depending on how long my "break" is. I'll keep you updated!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reading Out Loud

Wow...OK, I know I said I'd do a post a week, and now it's been quite awhile since my last post (I'll have to be more timely in the future), but I would like to talk about reading your own manuscript out loud. I've been doing this for my non-thesis manuscript called UNGIFTED, and it's such an incredible exercise. It's amazing the things you catch when you actually hear the words. Not only did I catch sentences and phrases that were a mouthful to say (since I stumbled over them), but I even caught some minor inconsistencies (like what characters were wearing). I was surprised by that last one. Another big one is repeated words. These can be tough to catch when you read silently, but when you read your work out loud, you actually hear any repeated words; they're like little red flags.

That being said, reading UNGIFTED out loud is the final step before I start to query it. I think this exercise is best done right before querying, because the things you catch are minor or small-picture rather than big-picture. This book has gone through several drafts and has received lots of feedback and it's in the best shape I can get it in at the moment from a story or "big-level" perspective. But every time I read another chapter out loud, I'm so glad I did! OK, off to read another...