Friday, May 30, 2008
Thursday, May 29, 2008
I sent out my critiques through email last night, and this morning find that I cannot get into my email inbox (grr, Comcast, very annoyed with them right now). So if you didn't receive them, or you had questions or comments, I won't be able to do anything about it until next week. I apologize and I hope the critiques were received.
I'll be thinking about you all as I'm toasting s'mores in front of the campfire with the reservoir reflecting stars behind me!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Friday, May 23, 2008
My announcement is that I haven't done one blessed thing.
I have, however:
- watched several PBS movies based on Jane Austen's novels
- gotten quite far in a new cross-stitch design that I've been wanting to stitch for some time now
- gone for a long walk with Beau and Kate during a break in the rain and marveled at the sound of the water dripping between leaves while the birds chattered
- finished reading a wonderful novel by Agatha Christie
- read through far too many magazines
- realized that the perfect foil to my Creepy Frenchmen is not a German (how cliche) but a Swede (love the accents)
- added a Pretty French Interpreter to give Gus someone to smile at (because Creepy Frenchman does not smile)
- reworked the opening of Trinket Box (in my head)
- toured my garden in the rain
- put music on both my blogs that I listen to obsessively when online
- realized that I prefer apple pie cold as opposed to warm out of the oven
So, while no actual writing is going on, I've done a lot of it in my head in the midst of all the other daydreamy-type things I've been doing. Oh, and a few dishes. Not nearly enough dishes, but they aren't going anywhere and the iris blooms will last only so long, you know.
If any INK readers, would like to learn more, feel free to visit my site at http://www.stirlingediting.com/ebook1.html
Also, I will be teaching three workshops for the Southern Chapter of Willamette Writers at the Medford Public Library in Medford, Oregon. The first workshop, "Outlines for People Who Hate 'Em," is free to members of Willamette Writers and $5 for the general public. The two afternoon workshops are $25 each or $40 for the pair:
Rhythm: A study
Adding sound and style to your writing is essential to breakaway fiction, and subtle techniques can help you hone your prose to a musical high. By studying the masters of rhythmic fiction, we will sharpen our own prose to the grindstone of their techniques. Bring examples of your own work.
Fiction from film
Film writers are known for their skillful structure, their pithy dialogue, and their eye for the visual. This workshop will teach you how to employ these powerful techniques to raise your fiction to another level. Bring examples of your work.
For more information or to register for the afternoon workshops, go to http://www.stirlingediting.com/workshops.html
Thanks all! Jumping off the bandstand now . . .
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Anyway, the plight of the uncertain author seems like a conundrum. If you go to a critique group for expert, or at least respectable, opinions, shouldn't you listen to them? Of course, but you have to own the story, love it, believe in it. Sometimes a story you love isn't salvageable and you need to let it go, but you have to realize that, believe it, and trust that. Never take apart a story based on someone else's say-so if you're not absolutely sure they're right, even if they're All That. By absolutely sure, I mean you have an aha moment, a realization, a heart-felt feeling of oops when you see your story in a new light. You're not absolutely sure if your gut says, "Gee, Jim said he wouldn't wipe his ass with it, so I guess it's no good," or even, "Everyone had such valid things to say about the weaknesses of the story, it must not be worth fixing." You wrote the story for a reason. It's not like marriage at all, except in this: If you loved the story enough to write it, do what you can to keep that story alive. If it's time for divorce, so be it, but make sure you believe that in your heart, not because your mother told you he's no good for you.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
What I do remember is David emphasizing persistence. Have to keep writing, keep editing, and most of all, keep submitting.
He spoke about endings, too, in how to get to them and what to do when an ending doesn't work. It makes perfect sense, too, that it isn't the ending not working, but something in the middle that is throwing the ending off, so look to the middle of the story for the problem.
He encouraged us to continue working on short stories, since they are a condensed form of the writing process. Most of us have dived into the short story pond, and now I think the last of us is ready to get her feet wet, too. So it will be interesting to see what comes across the critique table in the next few months.
I believe most of INK will be attending David's reading and signing at Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing. If you are in the area, come join us. It's tonight at 7:00.
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Dear Carissa,Join me in a Snoopy Dance?
Congratulations, you made Honorable Mention for your story The Spirits of Iceholm for the second quarter.
And thank you, INK members, for helping me make this my best story yet.
Monday, May 5, 2008
I haven't done much in the way of writing lately. I've been picking myself up from the utter failure that was Script Frenzy, which is rather like trying to get back on a horse that just threw me and is rolling its eyes and flattening its ears in promise of another rough ride.
I do have a couple of story ideas, one in answer to the Garden Story challenge Carole and Kami issued a few months ago. The other is from a dream I had about the same time that has nothing to do with gardens, but quite a bit to do with West Texas, and since I just returned from there the story is nudging me.
I think today is the day when I might venture to swing back into the saddle. I received my first issue of Victoria magazine a few days ago, a newly reinstated magazine that disappeared about four years ago and had once been my favorite. While most of the issue is about china patterns and the joy of blue and white in decorating, there is an article by writer Jan Karon. I haven't read her books (she writes the Mitford series, among others), but I might be looking them up soon because the article is so lovely in its imagery and tone. Moreso, however, Ms. Karon has this to say:
When I write, I dive headlong into the work as into a river, where I swim for my life or, depending on the tenor of the story, float on my back, gazing at clouds. I inhabit that river for five hours or two minutes, ten, or thirty, whatever the day may yield. When there's nothing more to say, feel, or conjure, I make my way to shore, trying to separate fiction from fact, and get on with the business of living.I love this quote, not only the imagery of writing as a river, but the idea of not holding myself to a certain time frame for writing or a certain word count. This idea, more than anything, is coaxing me back to writing when I have so much else tugging at me to do and see. I know I could fit five, ten, fifteen minutes of writing in a day amid dog-walking, weed-pulling, child-playing, book-reading, journal-writing, and all the other things I like to do during the day. Half a page or six pages, whatever comes out. I could be happy with that for now, just to get back into it.