The Well

Novel Research

How much research do you usually do before writing a novel? I’m sure it depends on the genre, but maybe not.

— Kelly

Thanks for the question, Kelly!

For me personally, I don’t usually do any research before writing a novel. It doesn’t matter the genre, though I’ve only really tried fantasy, contemporary, and YA. A book of essays or something more… research-based, for lack of a better term, would probably merit a little bit more, but I’m a pantser in the worst way. I would even occasionally start research papers in college before I actually did the majority of my research. Continue reading “Novel Research”

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The Well, Writing

Worldbuilding: The Devil’s in the Details

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How do you incorporate details into a story? Like if it’s a fantasy, how do you balance world-building with plot and character development? If it’s set in a historical period, how do you make sure the details are accurate, necessary?

-curious writer

The most important element of worldbuilding is the knowledge that people will approach your world with only the understanding of their own world. If they’re an avid reader, they might have a broader vocabulary concerning worldbuilding, but you can’t rely on something a reader might or might not know. So as you introduce details of a foreign world, be it fantasy, sci-fi, historical fiction, alternate realities, what have you, always keep in the back of your mind how it relates to the here and now—the world to which your reader will unconsciously compare your world. Continue reading “Worldbuilding: The Devil’s in the Details”

The Well, Writing

To Draft or Not to Draft?

Not sure how many drafts you should write before sending your work to beta readers or asking for feedback? Here's your answer.

How many drafts should you write before you get feedback from someone? Should you write the first, rough draft and let people read it or should you try to edit it first and then send it off?

— Jaime

That really depends on what you want from your readers.

It also depends on how polished your drafts are. Personally, I can’t just word vomit, so my first drafts are as edited as some people’s second and third drafts, and I’m usually okay sending off a first draft for feedback. But I know people who just spit out everything that comes to mind and like to edit a few times before they let anyone read whatever they’re working on. Continue reading “To Draft or Not to Draft?”

The Well, Writing

Six Tips for Better Editing

What’s your process for editing a story after you’ve written and keeping interested in said story enough to edit it?

—Jaime

First, thanks a billion for your question, Jaime. Seriously. A billion.

I’m honestly still working on the process, unless you’re asking about physically how I do it, in which case I have the original draft up on one screen, the draft I’m working on up on another, and a bunch of notes scattered in front of me. As for the actual writing process, I only have one full-length novel draft so far, and I haven’t yet found the willpower to edit it again, though I have a lot of ideas for it. Even my poems are turning out harder than I thought to edit. I just can’t look at my own work objectively enough to know if the changes I’m making are better or worse. But I’ve found a few tricks that have worked for me on shorter stories, so I’ll list those out. Continue reading “Six Tips for Better Editing”

The Well

Ask Me Anything

I know a lot of random information, and I really love researching and learning more random information. I figured I could put all this to good use. So I’ve introduced an advice column—just in case you wanted opinions from some random person on the internet and Reddit wasn’t cutting it. Ask me anything—advice on a relationship problem, how to make your own jewelry, what book you should read next, how to properly use punctuation, whether the moon is made of cheese, etc. The world is your oyster, and I want nothing more than to help you harvest the pearl. So ask away! Continue reading “Ask Me Anything”