Saturday, February 18, 2012

Golden Advice: Mining

Hi folks, this is the last weekend to VOTE for THE BIG FUZZY COAT. I appreciate any and all support. :)

For golden advice, I'm going to recommend that you spend some time mining your material to help you create your best possible book. What does that mean? You may have created a book with thick veins of gold running through it, but if you don't mine the gold, your book will be one of those full of good ideas but never quite pulling any of them off.

Mining is about cutting through the layers of inessential that hide the gold. This is about embracing a story length that showcases your story. Yes, it often requires the tossing of reams of wonderful material, but the refinement makes the best parts shine. And that should be the goal of very writer.

Mining also is about making the most of the material available to you. Is there something in your current work-in-progress that is just not being utilized to its full potential? You need to make sure you are making the most of every opportunity. I find the mining often rises out of the quirks and desires of my main character.

Finally mining is about making pathways to the gold. Deep shafts lead to the mineral deposits mines. Other mines strip everything away, leaving minerals exposed and easy to access. One job of the novelist is to make the gold of your story accessible to your readers. There many different ways to make stories approachable: save the cat, make your characters suffer, make your main character lovable, clarify goals, up the stakes, and up them again and again, try pinning that point of no return to the novel's center,get to the story's core.

Dig deep this week! Seize the day! See you next week.

My doodle this week: "Teddy."

Here is a quote to think about.

Mining is like a search-and-destroy mission. Stewart Udall


Vijaya said...

Mining also means coming back up changed ... I am not so much having fun with my story as learning more than I ever thought possible. We lead privileged lives, Molly, to be able to do this. God bless.

Candy Lynn Fite said...

Molly, although I completely understand the idea of "mining," I also think this is the stage of our writing when a CP is called for. Digging deeper, extracting, and excavating are sometimes difficult for authors to accomplish without a nudge.

I know for me, sometimes I'm so close to the story / character that I think what I've written is enough because I know everything; backstory, desires, motives, wishes, fears, goals...and even when I feel I've conveyed these through the words, I'm too close, I fail to do the very thing I set out to accomplish. The reader is left wondering.

This is where a critique partner or beta reader is most necessary. To offer us the nudge to mine our story / characters. Thanks again for your wise thoughts and suggestions.

You really should think about pulling all of these tip posts into one area of your blog. An ebook would be great, too. :)) You're a wealth of info, Molly, and I'm grateful to you for sharing.

MollyMom103 said...

I feel that way, Vijaya. Books change us. Totally. We are very blessed.

Hi Candy, I totally believe in critique partners. That can really help open the eyes. Digging into our own lives helps too. What are our secrets?

I hear you about the ebook. And I'm going to do it. It's going to be tips and my best articles and such.
I have a ton of raw material to sort through

Faith Pray said...

I second the ebook idea -your mine of writing gold is great stuff! Your posts have been so timely for me lately, in going through the finish of a long rewrite and now entering into the edit zone. I'm all for mining! And critique pals, for that matter!