BONUS – Coaching Session #2 with Elizabeth Wood (video, show notes, transcript)
In this special bonus episode, Miss Catherine M.H. and V.E. Griffith coach Elizabeth Wood talk through her first check-in after starting Nano!
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The Revision Wizards are at https://www.revisionwizards.com
V.E. Griffith’s website: https://www.vegriffith.com
Miss Catherine M.H.’s website: https://www.scribes-pen.com
Miss Catherine M.H. 0:00
Welcome back. We’re here with our coaching session for the Revision Wizards. And we have wonderful Elizabeth back with us. Hello.
Elizabeth Wood 0:09
V.E. Griffith 0:12
So all right, it’s November 3. Tell us how it’s going.
Miss Catherine M.H. 0:15
Nano has started.
Elizabeth Wood 0:24
okay sorry, guys. Okay. Well, I just wanted to make sure it was an interrupting anybody that was trying to speak.
So yeah, I feel, you know, you know how they say that you should kind of walk before you run like kind of feel like I’ve been launched from a cannon onto a treadmill going downstream approaching a waterfall very quickly. So I was not ready when we started, like at all like I was, so ill prepared. The the templates that you gave me, Catherine were freaking awesome. But they definitely took a lot of mental brain work, and I’m still working on them. But you know, I do I feel a lot more confident now. That, you know, there’s, you know, I haven’t even touched the main character one, but I’ve been trying to develop sort of the religion and the magic in the world a little more. It’s a little intimidating seeing as I’m trying to write the book before I’ve even fleshed all that out yet, but it’s definitely a learning experience.
Miss Catherine M.H. 1:35
That’s, that’s what pantsing is. You figure it out.
V.E. Griffith 1:40
This is one of those moments where the phrase you’ll fix it in post applies, you know, you’ll fix it when you’re done.
Elizabeth Wood 1:47
So does that mean rewrite basically, entirely?
V.E. Griffith 1:52
It can. Sometimes it does, yeah, you know, or the editing process, or, you know, however it works for you. You know, and, and that’s fine. If you find a situation where you go, Oh, I should have put this in five chapters ago, or I need to make this big change, because something isn’t working. And the reality has to shift somehow, what you do during an event like Nano, is you make a note to yourself and go, Okay, I need to go put the, put the antagonist actually in the front of the chapters, or in the front of the book, and then then you just continue writing as if you had already done that, you know, you don’t go back and edit because that will take you too long, you don’t have time to if you’re gonna make your word count. Right. So, you know,
Elizabeth Wood 2:51
Totally understand that. Yeah. So I feel like, at the point in the story that we were discussing on the last episode, I feel like I kind of landed right in the middle, and not entirely my fault, because a character that wasn’t supposed to be in the story at all. It’s actually become mostly a chapter in his story. So I decided to actually kind of start from the beginning, as opposed to getting stuck in the middle where, you know, this happens, where, you know that the sorceress, not the sorceress, but the priestess character, of, in and of herself is very awesome. And I want her to have her own story. But she’s just not not as developed or really as deep or even a character that I liked very much. So I’m having a very, very hard time justifying, writing specifically, just about her. And so, I’ve decided to start at the beginning, really at the story, where the story kind of begins so I can develop the world more, develop the magic more. And kind of what leads up to that point.
Miss Catherine M.H. 4:12
Yeah, as V.E. has told me, many times, sometimes you need to write all that backstory to chop it out later.
Elizabeth Wood 4:22
I’m not gonna be chopping any of that out. But yeah.
V.E. Griffith 4:26
You’d be surprised. One of the things you want to avoid is getting, you know, is getting too attached to your words, because they can all be changed, and they can all be thrown out. And it’s one of those things where, yeah, you as the author need to know these things. But and for right now, it’s fine to write them by all means go ahead and write them. But, but you don’t want to be in a situation where I mean, you’ve probably read books where the author was like, I had to research this so by God, you’re going to read. And, and that that doesn’t make for an engaging book for your reader. So, you know, you can call this, you know, a draft negative one or a draft zero or something, and or call it a research draft or whatever. And it’s good that you’re moving forward. And but you know, and maybe where you’re starting will be the real story you’re gonna tell. You know.
Elizabeth Wood 5:28
That’s kind of what my aim is. And that’s, you know, that was the story that I wanted to tell initially. But that was just because that’s the one that I had really developed during the roleplay, that it was based on. The whole of the story, really, I think is the most the most interesting, not just that one part. Plus, you know, I feel like it’s, it’s a good exercise and kind of bringing me away from what the story was based on and making it my own. So I’m a little more confident now at least talking about it than I was when we first started. I’m like, I have no idea what I’m doing.
Miss Catherine M.H. 6:16
And I find that with worldbuilding, it really does sometimes help solidify things because like V.E. was saying before, with my space opera, the the first book that I wrote for it, which I did land up tossing and I tossed the second one, I’m working on the third one now. Third version, I should say. In the first version, I changed the size of the colony spaceship five times.
Elizabeth Wood 6:45
Miss Catherine M.H. 6:46
And that was because each time I figured out oh, wait, that wouldn’t work. And I just have to, I have to, like make it bigger and bigger until I realized, oh, shit, you can’t, you can’t launch a spaceship like that off a planet. And then suddenly, like three fourths of the way through the book, that ship had been built in space, instead of being built on a planet. And I just had to go with it. And I was like, I’ll fix it in editing. Yeah, sometimes your your future self is going to look back at you now. And want to slap you because of what you did. But keep going with that mindset of well, I’ll fix it later. Because now I know from here on out, I can write it correctly.
Elizabeth Wood 7:32
Miss Catherine M.H. 7:33
So don’t be afraid to be like, ooh, that’s not working. Make a note from here out is correct.
Elizabeth Wood 7:40
Cool, thank you so much. I appreciate that.
V.E. Griffith 7:43
What other questions have come up.
Elizabeth Wood 7:46
Um, so I’ve kind of gotten to, there’s, there’s, there’s a portion here, where that my character kind of starts, he goes through much what my original character would go through where she kind of loses her mind and sort of enjoys it. He is trying to basically, he’s trying to, to control the magic. He’s losing himself to it. He’s practicing trying to make it work. But at some point, I need him to kind of be discovered so that he can go off on his own and I don’t know. You know? Is he going to start picking off people? If he does Does he pick somebody? Does he you know, I’m having a trouble moving that story forward, where he’s discovered doing this magic he’s cast off. So then he’s able to just continue focusing on that magic and continue researching. It’s just that gap right there. I’m not sure what to do with it.
Miss Catherine M.H. 9:08
It feels like, sometimes when you’re talking about the magic system, it feels like it’s an addiction, with the way that you’re talking. Okay, so maybe look at it, not like he’s learning the magic. But what would someone who’s really seeking like hard drugs would be looking for? What are the little ticks that they give off? And now are they being found by a dealer so this is somebody who’s like, yes, come this way. Let me teach you this magic since that’s what you want to go for, because he can see those those ticks that like an addict would be giving off? Or are we looking at like, oh, somebody who cares about you have written is realizing that you’re addicted to something you shouldn’t be in your hiding. So maybe if you look at it from that point of view, you might be able to bridge some of those little gaps.
Elizabeth Wood 10:03
Yeah, so it’s sort of both. So basically his son catches him, kind of realizes really what he’s doing and is like, Okay, you’re no longer my father get out. He leaves at that point goes around to various towns, he’s heard of some people that are able to practice this magic who may actually know a little more. So he’s actually seeking, I guess, the dealer, if you will. And they actually pull him into sort of the cult that he participates in. I’m just not sure. Really, what is the vehicle that kind of climaxes and changes his life, to the point where his son finds them and kicks them out? I’m having a hard time determining what he does. That pisses the son off so much.
Miss Catherine M.H. 11:05
So then, maybe it’s not him that you need to worry about, it’s what is if you were to build, like the smallest character background for his son, what are his son’s values? What are the things that would tick him off? Don’t look at what the parent would do. What does the son as a character? What would he do? So then upon finding that, that would bridge that gap of it could be something really simple. Like, he brought a mouse back from the dead. He’s like, Yo, now nope, nope, I know where that leads. Or it could be like something worse, he kills an entire village and brings them all back. So I would look at what the the sun’s moral standing is, to then give you the basis of well, what would tick off the sun enough to be like, get out? I don’t want you here anymore.
Elizabeth Wood 12:04
Right. And that is something that I actually have explored again, I just don’t know what that thing is. That he does, he finds him doing. You know, I haven’t determined really what’s in his character, if he is actually going to start picking off things, is he going to start killing things? Or is it you know, something by accident that he becomes addicted to? is, you know, does he start off small and then get bigger to the point where everybody notices or just I don’t know.
V.E. Griffith 12:41
The other thing that you can do, if you really do get stuck, you don’t want to, especially during now, you don’t want to spend a lot of time, not writing or navel gazing, because you just don’t have the time if you’re going to get the word count. So the other thing that you can do is just put in brackets, insert motivation here, and then go on with the rest of the story you do know. Okay, you know, there’s nothing there’s nothing wrong with that. So don’t you know if you if you got to skip a scene, if you don’t feel confident, right? You know, insert sex scene here.
Miss Catherine M.H. 13:21
yeah, I’ll do that with the emotions too, if I’m, like, really into it, and I’m writing and I’m like, he felt angry brackets describe what this looked like. And then I’ll know when I go back in for my edits, who I’m not saying he was angry, I’m gonna describe it here. And it’s, it’s a way even with me, sometimes I’m like, I’ll put in a Why haven’t you picked a name, you need one. And that’s that character’s name, until I’ve picked one later on. And you can just do that where it’s simple, it’s easy, it won’t break the flow. And you can just keep going. Because sometimes sometimes you hop around. And that’s okay, too. If you are super excited to write a different scene, go write it, especially if you’re stuck on something and you’re like, I hate this story. Be like, Oh, but I could go write the scene. I really want to go write and probably boost to go back and write the rest of it.
Elizabeth Wood 14:16
Yeah, and that’s kind of, you know, what I was explaining before. That’s, that’s exactly what’s going on. Now, as I’m just I’m struggling with their stories. So I went back, but I think, you know, insert brackets here, I think is probably, you know, a good plan just to keep moving forward. You know, hey, this is what happened and then work off of that. I just hope it doesn’t come to bite me in the butt later when I haven’t actually developed it.
V.E. Griffith 14:41
Oh, that’s Don’t worry. It’s fine.
Miss Catherine M.H. 14:47
And see, I was gonna say it could actually be that you figure it out later on. Like, when you would take those multiple choice questions on a test and you’d be like, no idea what this answer is, and then later on the test will give you the answer, because like it mentioned something else, and you’re like that was the answer. So maybe you’re writing later on. And he talks about how like, Oh, he did this one thing, and you’re like, Oh my God, that’s what he did that his son was pissed off about. And you can go back and finish that section sometimes. That’s all it takes.
Elizabeth Wood 15:18
Miss Catherine M.H. 15:20
Yeah, so don’t be afraid to discover it as you go. You don’t need a plot.
Elizabeth Wood 15:27
You don’t need a plot. Wow. I think my mind has just been blown. So what do you do? Like when you’re stuck? Do you like roll a die? Do you go for a run? Do you flip the coin?
V.E. Griffith 15:42
It depends on you. There are some folks who roll dice. There are some people who go for runs some people flip coins. I have seen I know of writers who pull tarot cards. So you know, and it’s not that they read the cards and woowoo it tells them what it’s just for inspiration, you know, but it anything that works for you, and this is, and it’s going to be different for every writer. So for me, what I do is I go on to the next scene, you know, and I come back to it later. And that’s just to keep writing and everybody knows that I write very slowly and I struggle to write. And that’s sometimes if I don’t want to, if I actually want to write, that’s the only way that I can do it to keep to keep getting words in and keep, you know, butt in chair. And so you know, find your find what works for you, you know, experiment, there’s nothing, there’s no right answer.
Miss Catherine M.H. 16:44
Thank you. I like to use a lot of music. I will create playlists for my book as if it was a movie. I’ll have playlists for my characters, and sometimes certain scenes. So like, right now I have my characters are crawling across dead bodies. I have this creepy, like intense music that I will play during that scene. So sometimes just changing the music you’re listening to will inspire you. If you’re somebody who likes to write with music. I’m one of those.
Elizabeth Wood 17:16
I definitely am. And I went ad nauseam on on Aaron here. Like, oh my gosh, I can’t believe what just happened. This is great. This is awesome. And I’m like, This is awesome. I’m like, share it with them. And he’s like, please just stop.
V.E. Griffith 17:35
I’ll read it in line edits.
Miss Catherine M.H. 17:36
He doesn’t understand the power of pantsing. Okay, it’s the power of pantsing. When you’re sitting there and you’re like, my character just did this. And it shocked me. And every plotter I’ve ever known has been like, What do you mean, your character surprised you? And I was like, Yeah, my character figured out stuff before I knew it. What are you talking about? And I was like, Yeah, my character is so smart. Scanda’s Pen prime example. Eleanor figured out things before I knew. It took me another five chapters before I realized that she figured it out before I did.
Elizabeth Wood 18:17
I feel like that’s what happened.
Miss Catherine M.H. 18:20
Yeah. Yeah. pantsing is the best. I think it’s awesome. It’s a lot of fun. I agree. He’s a plotter.
V.E. Griffith 18:30
I’m somewhere in between, but I like to have, I like to have some notion of the direction I’m going into. It’s it’s like, it’s not driving with Google Maps. But I I prefer to do something like drive with an you know, an old printed road atlas. You know, so you know, okay, generally in that direction. You know? So,
Miss Catherine M.H. 18:58
I mean, Pantsers have that. It’s just very difficult for us to say it to somebody if somebody’s like, what are you doing? And you’re like, it’s, it’s there. I know what he’s doing
V.E. Griffith 19:12
Says the woman has thrown away. 400,000 words. So.
Miss Catherine M.H. 19:17
yeah, well, you know what? I knew what I was doing. I just didn’t add the village.
Right, yes. All right. So are there any other things that you want to try to spit ball with us? If you had any questions? What would be your goal for our next meeting?
Elizabeth Wood 19:41
Oh, the goal for the next meeting is to really have you know, at least the first quarter of the story kind of flushed out. I think it’s definitely going to end up being a lot longer than, you know, 50,000 words. But at least I’ll have the 50,000 words down
V.E. Griffith 19:59
The challenge is 50,000 words, it’s not a complete novel. Those are different things.
Elizabeth Wood 20:05
So, at the very least, I do want to get to the point where, you know, he’s had his family he’s had as he’s starting to meddle with magic a little more, and he’s getting closer to the point where he’s about ready to get kicked out. So that’s, that’s, that’s my goal. That’s where I want to be next week. We’ll see what happens.
V.E. Griffith 20:31
You should be able to make it.
Elizabeth Wood 20:33
I think so. You know, maybe he’ll surprise me and he’ll do something else. I don’t know. That’s where I think the story is gonna go and till he decides.
Miss Catherine M.H. 20:46
Yeah, just let him tell you where it’s going. Yep. That’s what your editors for later. Now. I’m just kidding. I’m sorry.
Elizabeth Wood 20:57
You know, the last year, or the last story I showed my editor he got past I don’t even think he got through the first sentence. And he was like, This is what’s wrong with it. was funny.
Miss Catherine M.H. 21:14
Yeah, my partner has never read anything. That’s a lie. He read the first paragraph of Scandal’s Pen. And he had read marked it like a line editor. And when, when you’ve published it, and it has no errors, I will read it because I can’t do this. is yet to read anything of mine since. So yeah,
V.E. Griffith 21:37
You should show me my edits.
Miss Catherine M.H. 21:42
I haven’t even looked at them. They’re still there.
Elizabeth Wood 21:45
I’ve heard stories, nothing in detail. But I’ve heard stories.
Miss Catherine M.H. 21:49
oh. He’s a great line editor. And at the point where I am in the story, I am ready to literally cut sections, I’m ready to take that red pen and just scribble over and be like, I don’t need it anymore. Fine. But you also have to get to that point. And that took me a while to learn how to take feedback and criticism for people. And when he came to me and was like, You need to cut the first 17 chapters of your book. Okay, like that was my answer. I was like, Yeah, sounds good. Cool. Have you told me that three years ago, I would have like been like, No, you don’t know what you’re talking about. So it definitely takes time to learn how to take criticism and like feedback. So don’t worry, you’ll get there. This is the first baby so like, yeah, gentle with the baby. Right? The baby love the baby. Then you murder the baby.
Elizabeth Wood 22:50
All right. I’ll write that as a direct quote.
Miss Catherine M.H. 22:57
Yes, yeah. I mean, that’s probably like what I feel like they’re teenagers would be now at this point. You just want them out of the house and you’re trying to kick them out, like, please leave.
Elizabeth Wood 23:11
Oh, wow. No, I don’t think I’ve got anything else.
Miss Catherine M.H. 23:14
All right, so V.E. do you have anything else.
V.E. Griffith 23:18
I don’t have anything else I think. I think we’re done until next week. All right. Then thank you all for listening and we will see you next time.