Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Writers that do not read?

The other day or month or so (I have no clue but this did happen) I ran across someone studying creative writing with the career goal of becoming a writer. The person had no idea that I enjoy writing and I didn't offer up the info as that can sometimes shut a person up if he/she doesn't feel as "in the know." So instead I asked about this person's writing interests, which logically lead to this person's reading interests. With that I received the reply "Oh, I don't read."

Yeah...

Ok...

Hmm...

It stopped me short. I have never met a writer that didn't enjoy reading. Have you? It really stunned me. Why would you want to do something for a living that you yourself do not enjoy? Ya know? So after a minute of picking my jaw off the floor and pushing my bulging eyes back into their sockets, I asked. The response ran something like "It's boring." And mind you, I am not talking about some high school kid. This is an adult, going back to school, to persue a writing dream. I suggested sampling lots of different genres to find one that the person would enjoy. I suggested books that I thought the person would enjoy. I suggested talking to friends about what books they enjoy. And finally after being stared at like I was a complete moron I said - "Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but it takes a reader to become a writer."

I gotta say, I have always loved to read and always loved to write. To me the two go hand in hand like a good peanut butter and jelly sandwich and, just like that sandwich, I tend to think(depending upon who you are and your tastes) you will need a little bit more of one than the other to find a good mix that tastes just right. For me, I lean more towards the jelly. :)

M.B.

Friday, June 25, 2010

To platform or not to platform?

Today I received an email notification from the QueryTracker blog which linked over to a popular editor's blog. I read over the editor's entry for today and then perused the rest of said editor's posts. One post touched on a guide to publishing and in that post the editor discussed platforms. See below:

http://editorialass.blogspot.com/2007/05/moonrats-guide-to-getting-published.html

This editor pretty much says that you better get your name out there if you hope to land on the big book chain's shelves. I can see the point and, as a business person, support the point. But, I then went on over to Verla's and ran a search. There are numerous posts that suggest a platform is not really necessary for children's books.

See link below to one such discussion:

http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=36869.0

So, is it true that platform is mainly an issue for adult books. What about YA? I would think YA books/authors would definitely benefit from a solid platform and know of several authors that specified how having a strong platform helped with no only getting an agent, but an editor to take a bite, and also with sales.

This brings me to my next question. If having a platform is essential, what does that involve? Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the like? Tell me, is a platform important and if so, how does one go about creating a strong platform?

M.B.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

How honest of a reader are you?

So I started reading Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel. In the foreword Anne Perry (one of his clients) mentions that the books that she claims to love are not always the books that she really loves -- basically. This got me thinking, which can be dangerous, but I digress...I have a list in my head of my favorite books. The books that I have read a zillion times and love each and every time that I read them. But if I can put out a little bit of honesty here, none of those books (with the exception of one) are considered classics/greats. I often read blogs or interviews with authors where the author is asked to list his/her favorite books. They are almost always classics/greats and it is very rare that the author lists a book published in the last say 20 years.

Now tell me, if you are honest, are your favorite books classics? Do you read them and relish in the story or do you simply appreciate the complexity of the writing or the depth of the characters? Perhaps that is one in the same to you. This is not the same subject to me at all. I adore Jane Austen and have read all of her books numerous times. I absolutely detest all Charles Dickens books. And by far my favorite book, as of this moment, is Hunger Games. Why? Because it forced me to think of my world differently and what else can we hope for in a good book?

So, I'm interested. Tell me what are your favorite books and, if you are honest, are they classics?

M.B.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Are your characters a reflection of you?

Hello fellow writers,

It is a dreary day here in Atlanta, GA. I drove home in rain so thick that it felt more like driving through heavy snow. You know the kind that falls sideways, hitting your car with such force that you want to pull over or grip the steering wheel for your life. Yep, that was my drive home tonight. So anyway, on to my topic for today - Character traits.

I realized the other day that my characters are not exactly reflections of me, but instead represent characteristics I wish I had. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those hate myself kind of people. But I like my characters to have traits that resonate in people around me. The respectable sub character reminds me of my father. The snappy character of my mother. And so on. I do push certain elements of my personality into my characters, but I often find they are my struggles instead of my virtues. Lack of patience. Stubbornness. General know-it-all attitude - just kidding, well sort of. :) The glowing traits of my characters are what I admire in others and the darker traits are my own.

Anyone else do this?

Monday, June 14, 2010

The revision process

I find the writing process to be almost relaxing. I settle in, throw on some appropriate music, and set my mind to the specific scene that I am writing. I love this part of the process. Then the relaxation melts away and I enter the revision process...

To me, revising is like exercise. There are many that enjoy it, maybe even love it, but most of us hate it. The rewards are similar - a tight product (body or manuscript). But the process to get to the tightness is grueling. Trainers will often say that your body aches because you are changing the muscle. I guess that is why revisions are so damn painful - you are changing, toning, buffing up your WIP until you could be proud walking around naked, or eh - in your writing I mean. :) . We polish until we are ready to bare our souls to agents/editors/publishers.

So I am interested. Tell me your revision process. Is it as painful for you? Check out my process below and let me know if yours is similar.

My current process:

I fast draft my 1st draft, for the most part. But I am a peeker. Like one of those kids that has to search out her presents before Christmas. I neeeed to see, to know, what I have done. So I check back, review and make minor edits to chapters as I go along. This inability to move on is why my current WIP's Ch.1 is on it's 6 millionth revision.

After I finish draft 1, I set it aside for about 2 weeks. Then I pick it back up and start with chapter one, shaping the ARC, flushing out my plot, tweaking my voice until the chapter looks failry clean. I do not line edit at this point unless something is staring me down with an evil eye. I continue through the first quarter of my book. Then I reread that quarter for flow. If everything looks pretty then I move on to the next quarter, continuing the above until I have completed the book.

Once I have completed draft 2 (which honestly is more like 2 or 3 drafts) I line edit the entire book using a red pen and a print-out.

I let it sit for 2 weeks. Then I reread.

Tell me your story.

M.B.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Is anybody out there?

Today, June 11th, I decided - on a whim mind you - to start a blog. It is a common thing for aspiring and accomplished writers for sure. So in my many searches across Verla Kay and other sites I decided that today, yes this very second, I needed a blog. So here I am world.

I hope to post helpful information for aspiring writers like myself - articles, any new stats, etc. I also hope to post my struggles with this new world and will bare them (as openly as possible) for you all to read.

So let the fun begin!

M.B.