Friday, 29 June 2012

Friday Guest: Jade Varden

Today, I'm delighted to hand over my blog to Jade Varden, a YA author who has published two novels in her Deck of Lies series, to explain how she gets the most out of her writing time.

Take it away Jade... 

Every Great Book Begins with Pre-Writing
By Jade Varden

Every book begins with an idea. Writers might ask themselves a question one day, and suddenly an entire book series is born. A dream, a line in a song, a TV commercial, a news report -- they’re all capable of inspiring great literary works. Before you ever write a word, you’ve already got the makings for a fantastic book. But too many writers skip a necessary step between idea and book-writing: pre-writing. The idea is just the beginning of the pre-writing process. Before you sit down to type, you’ve got to stop and think.

Pre-Writing: A Secret Writing Technique

Would you sit down to make a dress without a pattern? Cook dinner without at least some sense of a recipe? You can’t sit down to write a book with only a few random, scattered ideas in your head. Writing will go much smoother if you have a plan to follow, if your thoughts are organized, if know where you’re going with the story. That’s where pre-writing becomes so important.

Every book begins with an opening scene. Think about the characters you need to introduce, what you want to say about them, how you want the reader to perceive them. Pre-writing is all about imagining. Imagine that opening scene like it’s playing out before you. See the setting and the characters interacting within it inside your mind. If you can see the scene in your head, it’ll be much easier to write later. Take note of how the characters are moving around in the space, what they’re saying to each other. When you can hear your characters talking to each other, you can make a lot of little tweaks to your dialogue so it sounds more real. Once you sit to write the scene, you only have to access the memory.

Imagining the scene makes it much easier to add vivid details to your writing, and helps you stay on track plot-wise. You know what needs to happen, and instead of re-writing and struggling through a scene several times on paper you can face the keyboard with a few solid ideas of how you need to get there.

I pre-write just about every scene I’ve ever put into my books; otherwise, I find myself going back and changing everything several times before I can move on to something else. Every time I find myself feeling stuck, or if I’m confused about where I need to go next, I immediately stop typing and stand up. Instead of trying to write my way through the scene, I pace around and I think it out. Instead of wrestling with the scene on the computer screen, I subdue it on my own private movie screen inside my head. Ideas are much easier to move around and edit than printed words, no matter how fast you type.

About Jade:
Jade Varden writes young adult novels for teen readers. When she’s not working on her books, Jade contributes freelance fashion articles to VAR magazine, and blogs practical writing tips for authors who self-publish.

Follow her on Twitter @JadeVarden. 

You can also find Jade, here:
Jade's blog
Jade on Amazon
Jade at B&N
Jade on Smashwords
 

35 comments:

  1. Great advice for plotters! :D

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    1. Oops, missed this comment. Sorry Kyra, I wasn't ignoring you!

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  2. First book I ever wrote, I did the "pantster" way. It's a mess. I will always have the plan in place now...it just saves time and head ache!

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  3. I'm a plotter in my head but a pantser in my heart! I try so hard to pre-write and do manage it most of the time but once I start writing down ideas, I find it hard to stop myself writing the whole darned thing! It's a bit of deep-rooted concern in my sub-conscious that if I don't write it all down now, I'll forget. I actually think that it works ok if you like re-writing and editing as I do. However, I do think that plotting makes for a much calmer experience! Thanks for the post, Jade (and for hosting, Annalisa).

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    1. I do so many re-writes that the original story is always improved and expanded. Perhaps if I plotted I wouldn't need to do so many re-writes...?

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  4. These are really great tips. Thanks!

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  5. Pre-writing seems like a solid concept, thank you!

    Have a beautiful weekend, Annalisa.

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  6. I find that i see a scene in my head first but the finished version of what i write rarely ends up exactly how I had it planned out ... things change and develop as u sit down and start writing

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    1. I love it when the characters and events in a scene take over!

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  7. I'm not a good pre-writer. I tend to be a pantser. I sit down and I type. When I come across an issue, then I sit down, wrack my brains, something might fall out and I scribble for England on bits of paper until I feel I can sit back down and start typing again. Plotters are amazing people. I envy such organisation.

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    1. Some of my best ideas come from trying to solve a problem, it makes you think past the obvious.

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  8. I'm also a total pantser, but certain scenes pre-write themselves whether I want them to or not. :-D

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    1. I write scenes out of order because they just happen to pop into my head too. Then I spend time sorting them into order.

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  9. Good post and excellent advice that I don't know if I'll ever do. I'm an organized person in every aspect of life except writing. I may have to try pre-writing and better plans. It's good to have a goal or try something different.
    thanks. Have a good weekend

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    1. How odd that your writing is totally different to the rest of your life! I'm just disorganised all over the place :-)

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  10. Having an idea of what the scene needs to achieve is sensible - otherwise it's easy to have a few pages of nothing happening.

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    1. Yes, the pacing can go horribly wrong if you're not careful!

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  11. Awesome post! Jade's meathods are always quite usefull. I think I might just aswell use thsi for book reviews. I have a hard time just writing what I fealt for a certain novel. Then a stop and play around with an objext on my desk. Too distracted too easily :(

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    1. Hi Nic, thanks for visiting. Too distracted too easily sums me up too :-)

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  12. Awesome interview! Thanks for your knowledge, Jade!

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  13. I like Jade's post a lot. I often let characters and ideas float around in my head for six months to a year. I'm not so much a pacer, but a lot of my prewriting happens when I drive.

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    1. 6 months? You must have a really good idea of the story by the time you come to write!

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  14. I do a lot of mental pre-writing before sitting down to write. I found I could make so much more progress that way, both while writing and figuring out the storyline. As at least one other person said, a lot of it happens while driving or while walking. Great advice, thanks!

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    1. It has a lot to do with not being in a rush to start writing, I think.

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  15. This is great advice. I can't write without a plan, I think because of all the essay writing I'm used to doing. If I don't have a plan my mind is just blank. Sometimes even my day needs a plan hehe :)

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    1. I find it very easy to waste a day, if I don't have a plan. Essay writing is a great skill to transfer to fiction though.

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  16. I do a lot of pre-writing too. I'm not a pantser in anyway and delving into a new story without an outline will definitely throw me off schedule. :)
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. I run through scenes in my head before I write them, so I kind of take Jade's advice - just not in order or to a plan!

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  17. I like this idea of prewriting. I think I've done it without really realizing it before. As I write I try to picture the sotry like a movie in my head.

    Also, I've given you the Open Horizons Award 'cuz you have such a cool blog. Just follow the link to my blog for more info.

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  18. Interesting idea, Jade. I do some pre-writing with a scant outline and writing out my main characters' lives before the story opens. Helps me see new things. I always have to know how I plan to end before I can start.

    Hi Annalisa.

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Please comment - I love a good chat!