Showing posts from February, 2013

If Age Brings Wisdom...

And I'm not actually saying it does , but if age brings wisdom, how come these days I feel I got nuthin'? I'm working the short stories (AGAIN), without much break between them, and at varying levels of "work," from "what was I thinking?" to "is this ready to send somewhere?" I am discovering some very very VERY disturbing things. If you were to name Santa's reindeer after my characters, there'd be Robert, Robert, Robert, James, Jason (formerly James), Jim, Cass, and Carla. I'm tempted to name somebody Rudolph, just to do it. Plus I was looking through notes I've made for stories to come. They feature yet another Robert and another James. But wait, there's more: All these people drink a lot of coffee and talk. A lot. If my short stories were ever to inspire a drinking game, you'd need to watch out for the "drinking coffee" scenes. Sigh. There are a lot of advantages to being an ahem "mature&

Avoiding Feedback Frustrations

A short time ago, I wrote about applying the "mouse view/eagle view" concept to revision . Before I make a pass through a manuscript, I've found it helpful to decide in advance what I'm looking for. Am I checking spelling and punctuation? smoothing infelicitous phrasings? or sending the main character to Gibraltar instead of the mall? On a related note, sometimes it's impossible for your own eyes to give you guidance about next steps. In those cases, it's important to get feedback from readers -- but which ones, when, and why? Here's some useful advice from agent Rachelle Gardner. Boiled down, she says to carefully consider why you want input from a particular person -- is she a subject-matter expert, a wide-ranging reader of your genre, an experienced writer who can step outside of personal preference to read the manuscript on its own terms? That last criterion is important. Say you're lucky enough to find a group of writers to learn from and h

Different Way to Say It

One benefit to being a (mostly) recovering procrastinator (and the reason my recovery is mostly) is that clicking around on the Internets can yield some pretty interesting stuff. For example. I read Girl's Gone Child . I don't read it every day (recovering! mostly). I'm not sure how I got there, or why -- I'm not a parent or grandparent; on lots of wintry days, seeing pictures of sunny California simply depress me instead of reminding me that I love winter; I don't cook vegan (or much of anything, either); I don't do much that's decorate-y; I haven't read any of Rebecca Woolf's books; I don't comment...and yet. That space is a destination I like. It's a creative space. It's encouraging, even when its people are out of sorts and life isn't rosy. Maybe especially then, because it celebrates the power of doing the best you can. (My parents were fabulous people, but sometimes the second half of "Do your best" was ": be

Best Canadian Essays: Really REALLY Real

Last August I received word that my essay, "All I Can Say," would be part of Best Canadian Essays 2012 , published by Tightrope Books. Last week, I received my contributor copies. Yes, my essay really is in it. Really truly. NOW it feels real -- like really REALLY real! You can order a copy from the publisher -- or check your neighbo(u)rhood indie bookstore. You never know who might be carrying it! Thanks again to Room for initially publishing the essay and to the hardworking folks at Tightrope Books for including it.