Sunday, January 02, 2011

Ask Away

Since I'll be back on track with regular posts next week, I figured it was a good time to see if you guys had anything in particular you wanted to hear about.

Things you can look forward to in the coming months...

Since I'm starting a new book, lots on planning a novel and getting started.
Me finally having time to get back to the "Defining what we do" idea.
More writing a first draft type posts.

It's actually a good time to start a novel, really. Y'all know I do extra posts about whatever stage I happen to be working on, so I'll be writing it along with you and likely running into the same issues. I imagine Find Your Plot Fridays will be better since I'll be actively plotting.

There will still be plenty of revision tips and general writing stuff, so don't worry. But hopefully I'll have a lot of fresh new discoveries to pass along. I haven't written a whole new story (sequels don't count) since I started blogging, so I'll be paying attention to what I do and why.


  1. I look forward to everything you'll be offering in 2011!!

  2. I look forward to some posts on how you start a novel. I'm doing it right now and am trying to be more organized. So tips on world & magic building (I seem to be struggling with this), character development, outlining the plot, where you research, would be helpful. Thanks.

  3. If I can come with a wish it would be a post on 1st person vs 3rd person POV and character development. How would you approach it? What's different? What similar?

    Cold As Heaven

  4. I'd be interested in a post or two about plotting. I'm also planning and organizing and getting started, so I'm looking forward to more posts about that.

    Happy New Year.

  5. Anything, anything on plotting and keeping it organised. Thanks Janice.

  6. Happy New Year everyone.

    Finding this blog in 2010 improved my writing leaps and bounds. Thanks Janice, and to all the people who make comments. I've learned tons.

    My favorite posts are when you discuss POV. Because it effects every aspect of the novel there can never be to many posts on the topic IMO. I'd love to hear your ideas on helping us understand and implement it better.

  7. Thanks for being open to suggestions. I am having problems with the character arc and how it relates to the plot. Is the writer suppose to know where the character is heading/motives before the first draft? In this particular ms I know where he's at in the beginning and what he wants, but I really don't know the progression yet. Is that a bad thing?

  8. Happy New Year Janice!

    Like you, I'm also starting a new novel, and I'd really appreciate a post about

    Plus, more insider tips on approaching edits and rewrites is always an important issue for me.

    In that same vein, I know you've said many times in the past that's it's possible to over edit something, though that's never happened to me as of yet, it's usually the other way around, even after months of work, the laundry list of things to fix never seems to get considerably smaller.

    Maybe a post on how the writer can figure out if that's really happening, or if it's just the conflicting tastes of different readers or other writers disguised as "Helpful advice?"

    Finally, more posts about improving your short stories and finding markets looking for new writers like still trying to make their first sale.

  9. I'd really appreciate a post about seeing the evolution in your craft. For writers who, like me, have yet to publish anything (For pay) it'd be nice to better gauge where we're improving, and what weaknesses are still holding us back, are there some exercises or self-study things we can do to figure it out, so we know where to go from there?

    I think that would help boost many a writer's morale if they've yet to sell anything, or haven't sold something new for some time.

  10. Thank you for taking suggestions. I think each of your posts are great, so I'm sure I'll learn something from whatever you blog about.

    My suggestion: Something on how you revise. I just finished a draft (missed ya by a couple months, darn) and before I jump into revisions I'd love to find out how you tackle the big-picture stuff.

  11. I struggle with identifying what genre my manuscript belongs in. if possible, could you please do a post on the characteristics of the different types of genres??

  12. Y'know, what scares me the most is writing POV characters that are a different gender than my own. It scares me because useful advice on doing it is hard to come by, and I really don't want to resort to stereotyping. You give the most useful writing advice I've ever seen, Janice. I love this blog!

  13. This blog has been so helpful to me and I've recommended it to other. Don't stop!

  14. Great ideas everyone! Some I've talked about before, so I'll link to then when I write a new post. (and cover some new info)

    Thanks! I need to do a few blog days and knock out a lot of posts while I have some downtime. And now I have tons of ideas to work with :)

  15. I just thought of one yesterday that I would love to see on here- a post about tone(I guess that's what you'd call it). I heard a song on the radio that really spoke to me- it instantly brought to mind my novel and I thought "THIS is how I want people to feel when they read this novel!"
    But I'm having a hard time figuring out how to infuse that feeling into the words. The song was very tragic, but hopeful at the same time. Any insights you could offer would be great!

  16. What a fantastic idea, Candace! Totally going to do one on tone.

  17. Dear Mrs. Hardy,

    First, let me say that this blog is immensely helpful. You came to my school about a month ago and spoke to my english class. I came home and looked you up and found this blog with amazing tips and tricks.

    My question is rather specific. If some higher person(s) does something that affects the lives of many characters in the book, and possibly many more, is it important to explain why they did that, or just let it do it's plot related job and move on?

    Example: The government passes a law, a law that they would never pass in real life, but it's the inciting incident for my story. Should I explain why they passed it, or just let them pass it?

  18. It's tough to answer that without knowing the story, but if that's all part of your world building, and this is the inciting event, and the story occurs because of this law being passed, then odds are the reason why is important.

    You might not need to go deep into the reason, but if the problem was big enough to require a law, people will be talking about it. And if it's your inciting event, then it's going to cause whatever happens in your novel, so knowing why it's there is likely going to matter to the reader and the story.

  19. Thanks for that answer, it's been a major pain trying to decide if I should include the reason. Your reply answered it perfectly, thank you so much.

    Now I have another question. How important is it to include the physical description of a character??

    I know you don't want to describe your characters to death, but you also want to describe them so readers can get a grasp of what they look like. What I'm really asking, I guess, is how much is too much and how little is too little?