Updated: Nov 2
The road to publishing your first book is a thrilling yet challenging endeavor.
In this blog, I'll take you on a personal journey through the process of bringing my first book, a short story collection to life.
We'll cover first time editing, finding the right story order, "killing my darling" (a term used in editing and recently popularized by Steven King), fixing point of view. I'll share a romantic scene and an inspirational Haiku, that keeps me going and helps my literary dream to fruition.
1. The First Round of Editing: Refining the Gems
Every great work of literature begins with a solid foundation, and that often means rewriting and editing. The first round of editing is where you scrutinize each story for clarity, coherence, and depth. You'll want to focus on grammar, syntax, and overall readability, but don't forget to pay attention to the big picture as well. Are the characters well-developed? Is the plot engaging? Are there any inconsistencies or plot holes? This stage is all about making your stories shine.
If you think you've given your Best, the script goes to a professional editor and comes back with even more fine tuning ideas and corrections. For me this process was painful. My editor and me were on totally different planets. So I tweeked as much as I could and adapted as many changes as possible, without loosing my unique voice. In the end we are rewarded with an even better Book, more tension, easier reading and lovely characters.
2. Finding the Right Story Order: Creating Flow
Putting the stories in perfect order for the reader is like crafting a symphony, You want a seamless flow that keeps them engaged from start to finish, considering the thematic or emotional arc. It's common for authors to start with a compelling or relatable story to hook readers, followed by a mix of highs and lows in terms of tone and intensity. Experiment with different sequences until you find the one that creates a satisfying narrative progression.
This is on my to do list this week.
3. "Killing My Darlings": Cutting with Precision
The term "killing your darlings" probably comes from William Faulkner, was popularized by Steven Spielberg and refers to the painful process of cutting or revising parts of your work that you hold dear.
In a short story collection, this often means omitting stories or scenes that, while well-crafted, don't fit with the overall theme or flow. It's essential to prioritize the collection's unity and reader experience over personal attachment. Sometimes, what's best for the collection means saying goodbye to your favorite stories, places or characters.
This happened in the story "Zufällig glücklich". An unimportant character was so intriguing that he was overpowering the hero, sadly I had to scale him back.
4. Fixing Point of View: Ensuring Consistency
Point of view (POV) is a critical element in short story collections. Consistency in your choice of first-person, third-person, or any other POV is key to creating a cohesive reading experience. Make sure that the switch from one story to another doesn't jolt the reader. Inconsistencies can be jarring and detract from the collection's overall impact. This is another writing task of the production process this week.
5. Sharing a Romantic Scene: A Glimpse of Passion
Sharing a glimpse of a romantic scene, can add a rich layer to the emotional landscape.
This scene is from the short story: Gwendoline's high school sweetheart.
"The little romantic has grown up." Slowly, he walks towards me. He takes my hand, pulls me close and pampers me with savvy caresses. I had missed that so much! I let loose and enjoy his meditative touches. His hands are dancing on my body, he is kissing me and gently strokes my neck. One by one, he peels me out of my clothes and lets them sink to the ground. The light plays and on our skin. I open his shirt, a breath of aftershave, masculinity and passion washes away any guilt left in me. Kay gathers my hair in the back and pulls my head back demandingly. My lips part to take in his searching tongue. My body is tense and a game of lust and curiosity, climax and new beginnings, give and take, and finally exhaustion makes us fall asleep...
6. An Inspirational Haiku: A Poetic Finale
To conclude this journey of crafting a short story collection, here's a haiku inspired piece of poetry for you.
This one always reminds me to get going, to not give up and be patient for the end result, maybe it can inspire you, too?
Planted long ago
Seeds under the surface grow
Blooming soon, I know
(Astrid F. Schneider)
Conclusion: navigating the path from the first round of editing to finding the perfect story order and embracing the painful process of "killing your darlings," creating a short story collection is a labor of love.
Each story is a brushstroke on the canvas of imagination, coming together to form a masterpiece. In the end, this collection will provide readers with a tapestry of emotions, ideas, and experiences to cherish.
ASTRID F. SCHNEIDER
Writes love stories in the context of todays life and uses her coaching experience to create characters you can relate to. Her stories open the heart, calm the soul and inspire. She is passionate about her Life Balance Living Blog, where she shares ways to create balance, romance and true sustainability. Her common sense approach is fun and refreshing.
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