Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Waning Summer Days and Writing Ops

The countdown for the First Day of School has started. Okay, I'm the one counting, not the boys, since they aren't nearly as excited about school starting as I am. Next Monday is the day, and we have new shoes, new clothes and soon...new backpacks.


Overpriced, soon to be destroyed, overpriced...Sigh. No lockers at either the middle school or the high school, so if they need their textbooks for class, #1 and #2 Sons must haul them around. This is sooooo good for their backs, too.

But I digress. With the advent of school, I get a portion of my day back, a portion that I can write without having to deal with squabbles, boredom, the endless parade of kids...It's great, but it's hard on the writing. So is Life, which, regretably, has been rearing it's ugly head around here lately.

As Life has been intervening, I've struggled with the will to write, it's hard to write when you're getting punched in the head, so I thought I'd pop over to my Squidoo lens, The Mechanics of Writing, to see what popped there for me. Something to get writing back into my consciousness, a warning, if you will, to the Muse that her mini-vacation is fast coming to an end. I have all sorts of reasons now for getting the manuscript polished and out the door, and get the 2 follow up novels to it done and ready for submission, too. My interest caught on the part about what I've learned about writing along the way. So, here it is, c/p'd, with some fresh observations tacked on at the end.

What I've Learned Along the Way

1. Be teachable. There's no one magical "Right Way" to do everything, and who knows? You may find a tip or bit of advice that proves to be more valuable than you ever suspected.

2. Emotion, emotion, emotion. Learned this from Valerie Parv (http://www.valerieparv.com/) herself. When you think you've added enough emotion, ADD MORE.

3. If you can't handle your critique partner's less-than-gushing comments about your manuscript, then you're not ready to submit it to an editor. I'd rather hear from my CP that my ms is crudtastic, honestly, than to have an editor say it.

4. If more than one CP or an editor mentions something they perceive as a problem in your writing, then you likely have a problem you need to address. This also goes back to tip #1--- be teachable.

5. It's not necessary to become an ethusiastic adherent to every new (or not so new) "how to write" process that's out there. I remember when I first heard about the Snowflake method. I checked it out and decided it had merit, but wouldn't work for me.

6. It's okay if the first draft is dreadful. Really. That's why it's often called the "rough draft."

7. The best way to write is the way that works for you. Just because others use note cards or white boards doesn't necessarily mean you have to use them, too.

8. Editors really do notice if you don't follow house guidelines when you submit. I know this because I was an editor for an e-publisher for several years. You really are sabatoging yourself by not following house submission guidelines. Why? Because it tells the editor you know nothing about their house or that you simply don't care and that you don't have a professional attitude towards this. Take the time and make the effort to tailor your submission to the house guidelines.

9. Rejection isn't necessarily a bad thing. Especially if you've received a rejection letter in which the editor has taken the time to tell you what he/she sees wrong with your writing. Turn rejection into a positive thing by viewing it as a learning opportunity.

10. Have fun while you write. It's important that you, as the author, connect with your characters and story---it will shine through in your writing.

11. Plot Happens. (Allison Brennan)

12. If the Muse is unwilling, open the WIP anyways, read what you've written, revise some, write another paragraph...even if it's just a little bit. Do it every day, keep that Muse on notice that she's not to take a powder to the Bahamas without you. ;)

13. Believe in yourself. If you're serious about publication, then don't treat your writing like a "fun little hobby."


If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I'd type a little faster. ~Isaac Asimov

The faster I write the better my output. If I'm going slow, I'm in trouble. It means I'm pushing the words instead of being pulled by them. ~Raymond Chandler



Anonymous said...

i really like the tips an hope to be a writer myself. its true abou words being pushed and pulled, unfortunately the former is my problem. have you read the minutiae by carter faulk? he's a great new writer.

Laura Hamby said...

I haven't read Minutiae. I tend not to read new things when I'm in the middle of a work in progress. :) Good luck with your writing.