One book leads to another...

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Read, Write, Breathe - and Smile!



It’s National Reading Group Month and if you aren’t too engrossed in reading that epic novel, you could always sharpen your writing skills to write one with any of the many great resources offered by the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex Cavanaugh, right here and right now on this first Wednesday of the month, when IWSG members convene through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter to talk about whatever is on our writing minds and agendas. See what we’re all talking about here.

And if you dare... 


 
Just when I couldn’t imagine witnessing something exaltingly fresh, unexpectedly vivid - and absolutely free (yes, I thought I had ‘seen it all’), I spent a week watching seasonal transformations in the woods. I had one last fleeting thought of our sassy whiptail lizards, cavorting year-round in the unyielding desert back home before an autumn butterfly perched briefly on my keyboard as soaring treetops swayed in a bracing breeze that rushed the clouds across the sky as if they were late for something. 

You couldn’t have peeled me off that bench, from that place where it was suddenly clear how so many writers before me; Zane Grey, J.A. Jance, Stephanie Meyer and Barbara Park, had been so completely suffused in atmospheric inspiration.  

But I hadn’t come to write about nature or the weather, though I understand Climate-themed fiction is popular these days. Perhaps “The History of Bees” by Maja Lunde would lend insight as to how to keep them out of hummingbird feeders. As an adventurous spirit who still needs a home to return to, Barbara Kingsolver’s “Flight Behaviorcertainly weaves the dreaded word extinction into my unsuspecting thought waves.

But what was I going to write about? Checking my inboxes is one of my favorite distractions, and that’s when I read the latest (at the time) IWSG newsletter in which Ninja Captain, Alex reminded us of the upcoming deadline for submissions for the annual Anthology. Four hours, four (single-spaced) pages later, and it’s history in the making! How’s your journey?

In answer to the optional Question of the Month: “Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?  Indubitably ;-)

Happy Writing!


Why can’t people just sit and read books and be nice to each other?– David Baldacci, The Camel Club



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Jackets Optional



Not that it’s happened in my area yet, but doesn’t the very name, September make you think of cooler days?  That alone is something to write about, don’t you think? In whatever form the stimulant arises, be it anticipation, longing, or absolute awe, seasonal colors uniquely present invaluable license to fill your heart and thoughts with restorative outlooks of uncomplicated change.  I tend to write a lot of poems – or move the furniture around, this time of year. How about you?

Now that I’m halfway through the revisit, revise, rewrite and rejoice segment of the project I told you about last month, my thoughts have wandered toward the cover. Perhaps it’s too soon to be concerned with what should be the last concern. However, it is the first glimpse readers have into the world of words you’ve created for their enjoyment.

And cover options are apparently endless: Graphics or illustrations, color glossy or black and white (I rather like the combination of both). Conversely, in one entire section of the family library (maybe a 1000 books), very few had covers as we know them today – let alone graphics. The title and the author’s name were neatly embossed on paper-covered cardboard, and thanks to Lewis Carroll, sometimes on the spine. A room full of mysteries, right? Trial and often shocking error led my young self to realize I shouldn’t always read a book without a cover. And then, beginning with children’s books (rightly so, I say), dust jackets became more than just for book protection. Indeed, they became so popular that nowadays an original jacket of a first edition of “The Great Gatsby” can sell for 20k while the original book itself might only garner a thousand dollars. So, are jackets still optional? Decisions, decisions.

But, hey! It’s Be Kind to Writers and Editors Month and if you haven’t yet finished writing that epic novel, you can sharpen your writing skills with any of the many great resources offered by the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex Cavanaugh, right here and right now on this first Wednesday of the month, when IWSG members convene through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter to talk about whatever is on our writing minds and agendas. See what we’re all talking about here.

As to the Optional IWSG Question of the Month, ‘‘Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?’’ Oh, absolutely! I’ve giggled myself silly after slipping off a snowflake, followed a homeless hero on the way to make a bank deposit for a ghost, and cried myself to sleep after killing off (Earl had to die) the only fictional hunk I ever truly loved. No regrets, just writing ;-)

Happy Writing!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Getting Back To Moving Forward



Wishing everyone a happy and productive month of August! It’s American Adventures Month, and if that doesn’t give us something to write about, we could always revisit or begin journaling. Perhaps write an article, an essay or a trailer for the last good movie you watched – or your next bestseller? You could also sharpen your writing skills with any of the many great resources offered by the Insecure Writers Support Group, founded by Alex Cavanaugh, right here and right now on this first Wednesday of the month, when IWSG members convene through blogging, Facebook, and Twitter to talk about whatever is on our writing minds and agendas. See what we’re all talking about here.

What’s on my writing mind? Well,

Photo by: Phil Reeder
For years along a winding two-lane road stood a weathered wooden sign with the word “Serendipity” crudely etched between its jagged edges.  How so? I fleetingly wondered, until summer’s lushness moldered in a bitter winter’s mire and a ramshackle house appeared. Much like the candy bar I’d tucked behind the horseradish where no one else would find it, the barely-discernible tire tracks that led to the crumbling house constantly beckoned my return.  Then life, as it so often does, intervened.
So now, years later, having unearthed the prefacing manuscript to the sequel; sketchily entitled “Serendipity,” I wonder if the story still breathes with the energy I poured into it so long ago. I have the drive, but what if the path has grown over? Only one way to find out, right? Can’t wait to tell you how it goes!  There you have the current scope of my journey, how’s yours?

As to the Optional IWSG Question of the Month, ‘What are your pet peeves when reading/writing/editing?’ I recently read a novel by two authors who, at one point repeated (nearly exactly) the same paragraph from one page to the next. Not sure who was at fault, but I think I’d speak to the editor. That being said, and speaking from experience, the job of an editor seems much like tightrope walking between grammatically correct and creative expression. Either way, words are in precarious balance, and this is where insecurity seeps into the spaces between each word I write when revisions come into play. Will there be anything left of my story? Or dare I commit (writing without revising) “the literary equivalent of waltzing, gaily out of the house in your underwear” ~ Patricia Fuller.  Somehow the old drawing board doesn’t seem as daunting after all ;-)

Fun fact:
Mickey Spillane ordered 50,000 copies of his 1952 novel Kiss Me, Deadly to be destroyed when the comma was left out of the title.

Happy Writing, Reading & Editing!