Five Things to do While You Wait

Before I begin, it should be noted that KJ, who won the Flash Fiction contest a few weeks ago, has not replied to my electronic letter. KJ, if you are reading this, please do reply. I await your response.

Greetings, friends.

Today, I would like to offer a few things to take up your time in the intervening space between sending a manuscript out to alpha or beta readers, and receiving their feedback. Upon receiving the feedback, there is a completely different list of things to keep in mind. But for now, we will discuss the so-called "dead time" where we wait to hear back.

Most writers with experience will tell you, at the very least, to keep working. This is important, but keep in mind there are many ways we, as writers, can work on our craft. Here are my top five ideas.

1. Write Another Book

Note that the Man of Iron always has a backup suit. Likewise, you should have a backup manuscript or some other work-in-progress. Depending on the speed at which you draft, an entire new manuscript could be a possibility. For those of you who draft slower, consider having a side project you can write in during these times, which you will set aside when you are ready to revise the former.

*lots of suits*

2. Catch Up on Your Reading

The good Doctor Banner is often seen reading in his field of expertise. (When he is not tearing pages from said books.) As writers, we love to read. This is usually what attracts us to writing in the first place. I, like many of you, have a stack of books on my shelf. Some I will read for pleasure, some for education or craft. Either way, reading with a critical eye can help us grow as writers.

3. Expand Your Range

As you all know, the Hawk Man has an array of arrows in his specialized quiver. Because of this, he is always prepared for whatever comes his way. If you do not have to focus on one large project, consider doing many small ones. As we had our flash fiction contest this month, you can search the internet for beautiful photography or art, and use it to spark a short story. Write a different story every day. Write in a genre you never considered writing in. Write from a different point of view. Write a story using only description. Another using only dialog. All of these can stretch your muscles as a writer and help you learn skills to utilize in your larger projects.

4. Listen to Writing Podcasts/Videos

Just as the Captain can teach us lessons of past wars and battles, we can learn much from the writers who have gone before us. There are many writing podcasts out there if you search for them. As mentioned in the past, my alter-ego is a fan of Writing eXcuses. Also, for SciFi/Fantasy writers, there are a number of lectures on YouTube you might find interesting. (Click here. Start at #1 and work your way through them.) Related to this is playing video games or watching movies with an eye toward storytelling. Watch what the writers do with the characters, whether the dialog is fast or slow, and see if you can apply it to your own writing.

5. Clean Your House

Not necessarily related to writing, at least not directly. But your family/roommates will be glad you did. As an additional bonus, you can listen to podcasts or lectures WHILE cleaning house. I do this often, since Loki never cleans up after himself.

I hope these ideas are useful for you. I do suggest making sure you do not touch your story while others are reading it to give feedback. The reason for this is that distance helps. You will receive the critique, and at first it might be hard to accept that your story needs improvement. But give it a few days and you will start to see which comments ring true to the story you are trying to tell and which do not. For more tips on how to handle critique, read this post.

Good luck, fellow writers.


No comments:

Post a Comment