Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

(Now I'm going to have that song stuck in my head. Sorry if you do too!)

I've pulled out that older story I spoke about the other day. It's been marinating for over a year on my computer. It's a lot of fun revisiting this world and the characters in it. I've noticed a few interesting changes though.

I'm a better writer!

I write in past tense. I rarely use 'ing' verbs. I prefer 'ed'. To me it adds more action to the scene - makes it more immediate, less distant. I didn't have tons and tons of 'ing' verbs in the ms, probably one every couple of pages or so, but it felt good to change them out! Progress.

I also did some accidental head hopping during scenes. I love Nora Roberts' books - she's a very experienced, popular romance/romantic suspense author. She head hops all the time. BUT, she's a highly successful writer and is allowed to. As a newbie, I know this can be a deal breaker. Even though I don't think any of the scenes with the head hopping were confusing (I actually think I hopped pretty well thank you very much!), I'm changing up all those scenes. Now, each scene will have a single pov.

I've noticed technology changes too. In the story, one of the characters buys a cell phone that has email. Very high tech and new in the story. Yeah. Not so much now. So that required a change up too. It's amazing how quickly the technology has changed in just over a year!

What changes have you noticed when you've gone back to look at an older project?

68 comments:

  1. It's interesting to look back at older pieces of writing, isn't it? Hm . . . I'd need to steel myself to do it!

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  2. Too bad, I am a poet and not really a fiction writer. I found that out while trying to write a fictionalized memoir and a mystery, while scribbling lines of poetry in notebooks all around.

    Good luck with your project. I envy all you fiction writers!

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  3. I love realizing how much I've improved as a writer. It (somewhat) makes up for all the disappointments.

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  4. Talli - I know what you mean - I'm not going back too far!! :)

    Harvee - we do have to listen to our hearts. I spend over a year playing around with different genres and categories to figure out where my voice fits. I'm glad it's in fiction too.

    Ms H - it's fun! There are ALWAYS going to be disappointments in this journey - but the joys sure make me bounce high! :)

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  5. I love opening something that I started a year or two ago. I always notice that I've come a long way, but I'm usually kind of surprised that it's not as bad as I thought!

    My big problem is telling. As I've grown as a writer I've learned to show more, so the bits with telling really stick out.

    Good luck with the revision!!! I hope it's fun. :)

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  6. That's wonderful that you see so much improvement. It means you're headed in the right direction!

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  7. Natalie - it really is fun! Especially when it's not as bad as you thought - but you can still see how you've grown. Love it! :)

    Johanna - I think so - and I hope so!! Thanks :)

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  8. It's been over two years since my first book was published -- and it's been 6 years since I wrote it. (OMG -- I just counted that out. SIX years!)

    My writing style has completely changed since then. I have learned SO much, and a lot of it through blogging. I can't wait to show off my ch-ch-changes ...

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  9. Yeah, looking at old stuff is a good barometer of our growth. But I really like when I open something old...and it's GOOD. :)

    I love Bowie, so I never mind his songs getting stuck in my head.

    Hugs,
    L

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  10. Dianne - that's awesome! It's fun to watch ourselves grow! :)

    Lola - Bowie's allowed to get stuck here too :) I was pleased with this story too - loved the interactions between the main characters!

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  11. Too many to name! As I've been working on my third book, I can almost hear my critique partners pointing out mistakes before I make them. (Which means I don't make them now!) OF course, I'm sure I'll come up with some new ones.

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  12. Oh man, looking back at older projects can be an adventure! Usually a very, very painful adventure. :)

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  13. Technology is really hard to write because it does change so fast! It's awesome to actually see yourself growing as a writer--congrats. :)

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  14. Alex - me too! Every time I almost add a dialogue tag I feel them squinting their eyes at me - do I really need that??? :)

    Bethany - true! This one was a good surprise though. I love the characters and their interactions - just needs some polish! :)

    Mary - thanks! It's fun. Technology is a bit of a pain though - it changes SO quickly! :)

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  15. Good for you!! I'm so happy to hear that you are making the changes and getting on with this story. It an amazing thing to be able to pull out something we hid away for various reasons and look at it with fresh eyes. I wish you all the very best with this.

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  16. Sometimes I get way too discouraged when I look at old stuff. Other times I think there's potential but you're right - I can't believe how much head hopping some of my oldest writing has. What was I thinking?

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  17. Melissa - thanks! I love this story, but there are always so many ideas roaming around in this brain!!!

    Deniz - I didn't even know head hopping was a no no when I started writing. Several of the romance authors I read do it (and sell LOTS of books!) - but I know better now!

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  18. Funny thing about me and technology--aside from my computer, I'm a technophobe. I don't have a cellphone at all, never mind one that's amarter than me. In the books I've written to all or some degree of completion, I have one that's largely set in a jail (no tech for prisoners there), another involving a guy that spent the better part of the last two decades in prison, and has not really adjusted to new tech yet (he doesn't even use cash machines if he can avoid it!) and one where electricity and communications are knocked out. I think that says something about me.

    As far as the writing itself, I haven't really looked too far back yet to see how much I've (hopefully) improved.

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  19. It's definitely fun to go back and read a manuscript with new eyes. I've gotten to do that twice this year. One MS had me cringing and the other was a pleasant surprise.

    And funny with the cell phone issue--my characters definitely don't have that problem! ;)

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  20. Gosh interesting that technology has already moved on that fast. Looking back is interesting I think, it's good to think one has learned and improved... and also to think, hey that wasn't too bad!

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  21. Jeff - that's so funny! what a great way to avoid the technology issues! I'm finding the tech can date a story quickly, so I'm trying to work around that!

    Stephanie - no kidding! That's a definite advantage of writing historical fiction!! I thought of you the other day when Hatshepsut was an answer on Jeopardy!

    Vik - the technology is changing so quickly these days! That's exactly what it's like. This story needs a few tweaks here and there, but overall it's pretty good!

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  22. If I could go back and redo my first book, I would! There would be lots of adjustments and chopping involved.

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  23. I catch tons of those passive verbs also. Since I write fantasy I don't get caught with techno updates.

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  24. Diane - I haven't been in the position where I can't change up a book - that would be a (small) downside of being published! :)

    Susan - there's another advantage of building your own worlds!! :)

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  25. I'm getting ready to tackle another revision of a manuscript I haven't seen in a year. I'm like you. I find I'm a better writer. I'm looking forward to getting back into revising.

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  26. More than one writing project? Wow, you guys impress me...I am a newbie for sure =)))

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  27. Natalie - it is fun, isn't it? I like leaving the story for a while, but this was much longer than usual. It's been fun to look back! :)

    Elsie - It doesn't take long to build up a couple of projects - you'll be there in no time at all! :)

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  28. My writing has changed a lot, particularly in the area of plotting. Also, my dialogue and characterization are more realistic.

    I haven't revisited any old manuscripts, though. If they're put in the drawer they tend to stay there, but there's at least one that I'd like to pull out.

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  29. Medeia - I have a story or 2 that will never see the light of day again, but this one has just been marinating for me. It's so nice to see the growth we make! :)

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  30. The cool thing is even when opening something old that is good, you can still see ways in which your craft has changed.

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  31. Matt - exactly! I love this story - and with some twaeking and polishing, it might be ready to send out into the world :)

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  32. First, I try not to dat my book by using political names or events if I can help it. And I do have to keep up on the latest and greatest in scientific research. Fortunately, I have not had to go back and make any major changes in this department.

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  33. Stephen - that's good. When your book has so much science involved, you'd have to be so careful with the facts! Thankfully research is so much fun! :)

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  34. I do think it is good to let a story sit and marinate. I am going to do that very same thing and revisit a manuscript that has been sitting for about 6-9 months and REVISE like a maniac! :)

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  35. Hi, Jemi,

    Glad you found the project right for you at this time. I know how you feel about changing and improving as a writer.

    I recently reworked a short story I had written two years ago. And like you, I found things that needed to be updated and tweaked.

    Fun.... isn't it? You have an exciting new story with all the passion and soul from something written in the past.

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  36. Kelly - it's fun to open it up and see where it is. This story had been through several drafts, so it's actually in pretty good shape!

    Michael - exactly! I loved revisiting the characters and the world. The time away gave me some perpective and it was easier to pick out the issues. Just a bit more polish now! :)

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  37. Don't you love seeing progress? There's nothing better than comparing two drafts of a project and realizing how much it has improved.

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  38. Beth - it's great! I'm happy with the draft itself and happy with knowing how to polish things I didn't know/think of before :)

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  39. I reread my first novel last year and found a lot of problems I know I don't make now--uncertain POV, pages of description, too many characters, and telling.

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  40. Golden Eagle - that's awesome! I've learned so much in the few years I've been writing - it's exciting! :)

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  41. It is so cool to see improvement in the writing when it comes out of the "drawer." I've become a better "show-er" as opposed to a "teller."

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  42. Leslie - I'm still working on that one at times, but I'm improving there too! It is fun to see growth! :)

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  43. No kidding! It changes so fast! I try to stay ahead of the game by reading Popular Science. ;)

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  44. PK - that's a good idea! By the time a book is written and published, there are all kinds of new changes floating around! :)

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  45. It hard to keep up as a writer when you piece has "modern" tech in it. You really have to pump it out and publish it immediately or it's out-of-date.

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  46. The world seems to change so fast these days. I think iPhone is about to come out with its next version. Seriously? How many updates before you get it right? Wouldn't it be nice if writers could update a book with a few changes and then people would buy it again. And again. And again?

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  47. Southpaw - exactly! I've tweaked it enough ... I think. Although there's no telling when/if this story every hits the world!

    Helen - it does! And I like that plan! We could tweak tech and send out an update every few months too! :)

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  48. I like to go back and see what I wrote in the past. Of course, I have to some "fixing" and that leads to more of the same. Guess that could continue forever and old work either has to die or get published!

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  49. Lee - fixing definitely leads to more fixing! Deciding when it's done is tough!!

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  50. isn't it great when you can actually SEE how much you've improved? I love reading my old work for that reason, hehehe.

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  51. Lynda - it really is! I haven't gone back to the first drafts of this story, but maybe I should! :)

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  52. I've noticed that some of the stuff I wrote in college was rather interesting--to me at least.

    Now I have to go search out "ing" verbs.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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  53. How exciting to be able to recognise improvement in our own work. I recently pulled out a very old ms, one of my first pieces, and no one had mobiles/cell phones. Even the style of speech among teenagers was different!

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  54. Lee - teehee! It's probably more of a personal style thing, but the 'ings' seem so blah when I'm reading

    Rosalind - it is! Teen speech changes so rapidly too - almost as quickly as the tech! :)

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  55. Yep, you have to be careful about dating your manuscript with those techie things!

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  56. Lydia - the story wasn't that old, so it surprised me how much things had changed! :)

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  57. we do love nice marinated stories, hope it didn't turn into pickles though :PPP

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  58. Dezzy - no pickles! :) It's actually turning out quite nicely :)

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  59. It's tough for me to get into a Nora Roberts book because of the head hoping. I've been thinking about picking up an old book. I think you just inspired me. :)

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  60. Ciara - yay! When I first started writing, I didn't realize head hopping was so taboo! A lot of romance & romantic suspense authors do it. But I know better now! :)

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  61. I will have that song stuck in my mind all day now.:) Awesome that you have shown so much progress and that you can notice it in your own writing. I love to see the way my writing has changed from a year or two ago. :)

    ~Jess

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  62. Jess - I know! Those songs get in there and refuse to leave! :) It's sure fun to go back and see the improvements - and still love the story! :)

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  63. It's hard to know what to do when writing contemporary novels of any kind with technology (and everything else) changing so fast. Our stories can become dated before the book even releases.

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  64. Pat - the tech is really hard to keep realistic because of that. I hadn't really thought of it when I was writing this story, but I will from now on!

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  65. Yay for better writing!!! Wahoo!

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  66. Jean - I agree! It's so much fun to see the growth!

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  67. I always love looking back at older works and seeing how far I've come, or finding something better than I thought it was. Your note on the technology changes made me smile, even as someone who's never had a cell phone that does more than call and text :)

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  68. Robin - my cell phone sounds like yours! It's amazing how fast everything is changing - have to keep those stories up to date!

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