WFMAD Day 29 – Question Day Two

More questions today, with the added bonus of answers!!

::shoos chickens out of way::

Not sure if you can answer this, but how do the covers of books get chosen?

It’s kind of a mystery to me, too. Publishers have departments of people who are artists. They have other departments filled with sales and marketing people. Near as I can figure, when it’s time to design a cover, the members of the three departments gather in a secret location and hold a massive game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to determine which dept. gets to take the lead on the design. The other two depts. have input, but too a limited degree.

I don’t know how much input other authors have on their covers. I seem to have none. I like most of the covers of my books and love a couple of them. Whenever I have tried to make suggestions about cover art, I’ve been gently reminded that I am an author, not an artist or a member of the sales and marketing departments. So my approach is to focus on what I can control – my writing – and leave the other stuff to the people who know more about it than I do.

1st person verses 3rd person ~ or do you feel it matters?

How do you know which character’s person if first person?

The point of view (POV) from which you tell your story is hugely important. But sometimes you might not be able to figure which POV to use. Or, in the case of 1st person POV, which character is your POV character.

This might help: Do a quick and dirty draft in the third-person POV – from the first page to the last. By the end of the draft you’ll know who the most important person is in the story. Experiment with writing a few chapters from that person’s POV. If it feels natural, then run with it – turn your first revision draft into an exercise of shifting the narrative from 3rd to 1st POV.

I wrote the first eight drafts of FEVER 1793 in 3rd person. Then I shifted to 1st person, did another five revisions and finally wound up with a book that someone wanted to publish.

Yes, it seems like a lot of work. But sometimes it’s what you have to do.

How do I weed out the “fluff”, to see the forest for the trees, so to speak, no matter how awesome the fluff may be?

How do you know when a story is worth the time of others for a critique?

How do you maintain confidence when success rate is like 0.1%????

These questions are all connected. And I will answer them all… on Tuesday.

Ready…. “Ideas are the cheapest part of the writing. They are free. The hard part is what you do with ideas you’ve gathered.” Jane Yolen

Set…. three days left in WFMAD – you can do this!!

Today’s prompt:

1. Write out the steps you need to take in order to finish your current work in progress. Be as detailed and precise as possible.

2. Give yourself deadlines.

3. Now double the deadlines and write the dates down on a calender. Do you have a writing buddy you can share this with? Someone who will hold you accountable to your deadlines?

4. Write out your vision of the most perfect things that could happen to your story and to you after you submit it for publication. Be detailed and precise about this, too. And have fun with it!


8 Replies to “WFMAD Day 29 – Question Day Two”

  1. Hi Laurie,

    Great blog again, as always. Not sure if you’re still open to questions, but I had one. In the early stages of your career, did you ever get to the point of receiving “good” rejections but just “not quite there yet” rejections? How did you handle those? How did you keep going?

    Obviously an editor or agent saying what they liked and didn’t like is better than a bland “not for us” scribbled on a postcard, and I have incorporated the suggestions that make sense (not all of them do, but being honest with myself I did incorporate some).

    But it’s really like a kick in the gut. I keep thinking this is as far as I will ever get, and that is incredibly depressing. I’ve been receiving “good” rejections for the last 2 years and I feel like I need to move to the next step of more fulls requested or something. Did you ever deal with anything like this?

    Many thanks,

  2. Hey Laurie,
    Loved the tip. My deadline would have to be 2015. I started a new story for WFMAD and I’m only 15 pages in. I’m a slow writer. I also, tend to do a lot of different things with my writing. Recently, I’ve started to fill drawings with writing like, yesterday I drew half an eye and then a big teardrop and after I coloured it in, I wrote in it. It’s just something I like to do. I don’t know if anyone else does it but it’s nice. You still haven’t answered my question. So, I’ll ask it again: How does music effect how you write and what you write?
    Thanks for reading,
    Adelaide Potter

  3. Thank you for the POV tips. I now feel normal about the way I write. POV can be perplexing and at times I have written stories from two POVs to discover different angles to a scene or if I had picked the right character to carry the story. I felt guilty for taking so much time (sometimes hours) on a story. Thank you so much for helping me realize it is part of the writing process. I have dumped the guilt in a hole and buried it.

  4. Today I…
    *Points up* Chickens!!!!
    Today I actually wrote something for a project that wasn’t related to my writing project. Instead I used my 15+ minutes to wrap up another project that did not involve writing, however I had to write a letter to accompany the project.
    That didn’t make any sense did it?
    Anywhoo I’ve been thinking of resetting some dates again for my writing project. My friend and I did last year, however, they failed. Maybe this time we can stick with them. 😀

  5. Laurie – just have to say, your chickens are sooooooo adorable! And they’re getting so big!

    I totally **heart** chickens. Wish I had the willingess not to eat them.


  6. Thank you for WFMAD this year. It has changed my life as a writer and I find myself disappointed that August is coming to a close. At the end of July a close friend of mine passed away unexpectedly and I found myself compelled to write young adult fiction. Your prompts have guided me as I’ve entered this genre and the characters and storyline have emerged. For the first time in my life I understand what writers mean when they say the characters take on lives of their own and lead the story. It is exciting and scary all wrapped up in one package.

    So my question is this: I have scenes here and there, but they are not written in order, nor do they come to me in order. I like the way the story is evolving, but I’m feeling overwhelmed with finding the whole. How do you plan or map your stories in order to understand the big picture?

    (I’ve published a professional book for teachers on writing, but I’m finding my process for writing fiction to be almost opposite as it was for that kind of writing. It’s an exciting discovery and one you have sparked through WFMAD.)

    Thank you just doesn’t seem like enough as I experience the way writing heals, as well as a new writing process.

    May your day be filled with unexpected joy,

  7. This was a great prompt as it made me face what I need to do, and haven’t done this summer. Prior to this year’s summer distractions, I worked with a calendar on which I listed a writing task to accomplish each day. And I stayed on task because the calendar was large and in front of my face and I wanted to be able to put a smiley face (noting I stayed on task) on each date.
    If I was revising a novel, I divided the pages by thirty days and then committed to revising a certain number of pages each day–to have the revision completed within a month. This worked for me, and many days I surpassed the day’s goal.
    And so, prompted by today’s prompt, I am back to the calendar. Full steam ahead.
    I will write what I want to write, need to write, regardless of the market.

  8. Thank you so much for answering my Q on POV! I’m glad to know that you go through such a process, as it gives me perspective on time. (I’m one of those that believes it should just all come into fruition or it isn’t meant to be…)

    A co-worker/friend has encouraged me to read your blog for a while now. I’m so glad that I finally have (bummer I didn’t sign on til end of prompt month) for your insight is wonderful. I need to work on carving out time for writing (before midnight, that is) and appreciated your words on balance. That, and finding a few kindred spirits to keep me honest!

    Best Regards ~ angela

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