As we all know, writing is rewriting. It is with this in mind that I plan on writing several posts here on the topic of revision. When revising we go through and find areas that need cutting or expansion, to tie up loose threads, create setups and payoffs, and any other areas of improvement you can think of. A great resource, though perhaps hard to get through, is the book “Revising Fiction: A Handbook for Writers,” by David Madden. In Madden’s book, he looks at some famous authors’ early works and compares them to their revised later works. I would like to do the same today, but with my own writing. Furthermore, I would like to focus on openings for today’s post.
Recently, a professional editor edited my manuscript. His work underscored a fact I’ve already faced. I suck at proofreading. (Before you gleefully start looking for errors, I have to confess that John and/or Justin look over my posts before I publish them.)
One repeated error arose from my ignorance of a grammar rule. You’re all probably aware that when I own up to being related to Aunt Nancy, she becomes my aunt Nancy. I wasn’t.
- Dee Wallace is disproportionately represented in the number of movies we keep on hand at our vacation cabin.
- I have a difficult time wrapping up conversations.
- Every time I go shopping in a department store I become irrationally paranoid that people think I’m there to shoplift.
On the surface these things may seem unrelated to the condition of writer’s block, but upon further scrutiny, it would appear as if, somewhere along the way, my psyche might have gotten short-changed on balls.
This year I had a wonderful time at the San Francisco Writers Conference and am committed to returning next year. It was a weekend full of great dinners, wonderful people, and amazing discussions on the power of prose. A very valuable aspect of attending these events is that you learn about other upcoming events, and one of those that I would like to share with you today is the “Women Writing in the Redwoods” writing retreat, presented by the San Francisco Writers Conference.
You can click on the following link for the beautiful flyer, but as you wait to click, let me tell you why the retreat looks great.
Many veterans find they need to write, and it makes sense. Men and women of the armed forces go through several intense years. Whether it was serving time overseas or just working their butts off on the home turf, they go through a lot to keep America safe. It is no surprise that they want to express themselves and find some way to share their stories. Lucky for them, there are many great programs for current military and veterans.
For the new or aspiring author, publishing options can be boggling. The debate isn’t limited to self-publishing versus traditional publishing. If you choose to go the traditional publishing route, you have to decide whether or not you need (or want) an agent and which publishers to target.
I’m far from an expert about the publishing world. However, I found a niche that is (so far) working for me: a small publishing house. Hopefully, my experience will give you some clarity on your own decisions as you face your own labyrinth of options.
Six years…and that’s not counting the revisions. Entire residential subdivisions have sprung up around you in less time. New sections of interstate have been constructed. National monuments refaced. Six years ago, you helped elect a new President and have since come to regret it. Six years ago you had no children. Now, you have two. In six years, the few wily strands of gray hair you once had have spread across your head like tundra. Dictators have been deposed. Big-name celebrities have died. And all along, you’ve sat right there at that chair, staring out past the blinking cursor of your computer screen through a window as the seasons have paraded past.
While studying the craft of writing at the Johns Hopkins University, I had the pleasure of meeting many soon to be published authors. They were hungry for the craft, ready to show the world what they can create with mere words on the page. One of my classmates, an especially ambitious young writer named Kelly Ann Jacobson, recently published her first novel and agreed to share her thoughts on writing. You can find more information on Kelly and her novel at her website, www.kellyannjacobson.com.
The man sitting across the aisle from me openly peruses a Penthouse, which, for some reason, no one seems to take note of but me. I’m cradling a coffee and watching the day gather in the east. The image of my face appears in the window, ghostlike against the blur of the rolling landscape. Every so often another train will pass in the opposite direction; the indistinct faces of other passengers flashing quickly before me like grainy celluloid images. People with identities and dreams and triumphs and losses and stories all their own who’ll appear before me in a flash then vanish forever, as I to them.
In the mid-eighties, my dad traveled to Germany for a business trip. With a daughter living in Germany, he was determined to immerse himself in the culture and interact with Europeans every chance he got.
He was like a child in a candy shop. Everything was new and exciting. If he ordered something he didn’t like in a restaurant, he’d grin and pull out his little notebook, quickly jotting down the new word he learned. Now he knew what not to order. Sore feet? A great opportunity to buy some of those famous German stabile Schuhe. (Stable shoes)