It would be an understatement to say that I’m a goal oriented person. I’m super-driven to get my to do list completed. I find great satisfaction at ticking things off the list. This is why I am now on my second Fit Bit.
I’ve just finished On Writing by Stephen King, and setting strict writing goals resonated with me. He does a daily 2000 – he recommended that those just getting started might consider a daily 1000. We talked about this in my writing class, and my teacher recommended a daily 250 – something really achievable that mirrors roughly a page of content per day. I’m splitting the difference (not mathematically accurate, but still) by shooting for 450 (with the idea that I’d really like to go over every day).
A recent discovery on Scrivener has completely appealed to my checklist loving personality. Under the Project Menu you will find “Project Targets” – complete with a bulls-eye icon. My eyes immediately popped open a little bit wider with the possible excitement.
Project Targets did not disappoint. I can set an overall target for my manuscript, a Middle Grade novel. 35k is the average, so that’s my first draft goal. It compiles words in the Manuscript section only – so my notes aren’t counting towards my Word count, but my actual text is.
But as far as daily goals go the dream discovery was session target. Each morning I click “Reset” and then away I go.
I can see exactly where I am both in my overall manuscript and in my daily goal, and an awesome color bar gives me an immediate visual.
Do you set a daily writing goal? How do you motivate yourself to meet it?
Within 24 hours, I’ve heard advice from two published children’s books authors that removing dialogue tags is a best practice in your writing/editing. “Really?” she asked. “’Tis true,” I replied.
Ana Crespo’s advice was personal – she was reading a picture book manuscript I wrote and said I had an opportunity to trim by cutting a lot of my tags. In fact, she said in a lot of the picture book industry there’s a drive to cut them altogether: let the nature of the statements and the illustrations clarify who is saying what.
Denise Vega’s advice can be found online – it’s #8 on this video. She talks about cutting tags and, when needed, replacing them with the ‘invisible’ tags (said, reply, and ask). Definitely check it out for the other 9 tips she offers.
I will say that the prevalence of dialogue tags in writing has led to my children using them in their speaking. My son will say (these quotes are in the right place) “It’s time to go, he said.” So we’ll gain tighter narratives, and we’ll lose a little adorableness. Luckily there’s no shortage of cute things that kids will say!
How often are you dialogue-tagging your writing? Do you have dialogue tags that need to be cut or given a cloak of invisibility?
We were explaining love to the twins (they were early three). Jason and I met in our 30s – ok, my 30s. He was still in his 20s (but late, sheesh). Unlike Jason’s parents and his sister, who married their respective teenage sweethearts. We talked about how sometimes you don’t find the person you love when you’re younger – you might meet them later in life.
“Mommy and Daddy had to wait a long time to find each other,” I told them.
The boys considered this.
“Like I had to wait a long time to find Beta,” said Alpha.
It just doesn’t get any sweeter.
Alpha and Beta are my twin boys. Alpha asked if he could dress up like Cinderella. The answer is always “Of course!” when we aren’t on our way somewhere else, requiring him to be in actual clothes. We have a costume box that the boys can access at will.
Alpha – I need a prince charming.
Me (Mom) – I’ll be prince charming.
Alpha – No, prince charming is a boy.
This is fascinating because the boys are frequently Cinderella, Anna, Elsa, etc. and gender has never come into it. They know boys and girls but this has never been a limitation of play.
Mom – Ok, I respond.
Alpha – Beta, can you be prince charming?
Beta – No, I’m Lightening McQueen. Prince Charming is at work. <meaning Dad>
Mom – Will that work Alpha?
Alpha – No, he needs to be here.
Mom – I offered to be prince charming. <gentle reminder>
Alpha – You can be prince charming if you pretend you are Beta being prince charming.
Mom – Deal
Do your kids have a favorite character to play, particularly one that crosses gender roles?
Now that I work part time, Tuesday mornings are spent with the twins at the library for story time. We all pick out children’s books to take home. During an early visit, I found The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. “Oh, babies, this is one of Mommy’s favorite books.”
The next morning, I started reading it to the boys over breakfast. As the boys were just shy of three, I explained the pages to the boys. “Look, she gives him her apples. Look, her branches.” Then the tree started to give things that could no longer be replenished. I started tearing up. I tried to explain it to the boys – “The tree loves the boy so much, that she gives him all she has, until there is nothing left, because she wants him to be happy.” And then I was bawling. Clearly when I had read this book in earlier years, I was identifying more with the boy (or watching as an observer just appreciating the tale). Suddenly, I was totally the tree.
And the boys started saying “Put it away! Put it away!” and describing it as “The bad book that made Mommy cry.” Sigh. We’ll try again in a few years.
Have you shared a beloved story only to have it go awry?