Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Revision, Revision, Revision...!!!

Top Ten Writing Mistakes Editors See Everyday

Number ten caught my attention. I recently met the great short-story writer, George Saunders. George said that if you have a finished writing piece after four edits, then you are either a true genius, or you have a lot of editing left. Another great author, William Haywood Henderson, told me that he edits his novels at least twelve times before he sends it to his editor.

Revision is not scary. Editing your work is where all the creativity happens. Chapters get flipped upside-down, dangling characters come to light, there's a realization that the beginning is smack-dab in the middle, etc. etc. In other words, you get to do whatever you want! Kill off characters, merge characters, tighten prose, but it doesn't have to get done all at once. Take baby steps.

The first thing I do is set MS Word to "find.". What am I trying to find? Well, it's all those "To Be" verbs:

Infinitive-- to be
Present-- am, is, are
Past-- was, were
Present Participle-- being
Past Participle-- been
Present Subjunctive-- be
Past Subjunctive-- were
Imperative-- be

When I find these often pesky verbs I have an opportunity to pick a stronger verb, or leave it alone. It's that easy.

The second thing I do is hunt for adverbs. "Find" is set to "ly" and off I go. If taking an adverb out tightens my prose, then out it goes.

These first two steps are just a few of my editing tricks. Blast fresh, creative air across the pages. Enjoy the breeze.

More later...
Write on!

Friday, October 31, 2014

I'm Starting a Meetup Group in Santa Fe

I miss my writing support system back in my hometown of Denver. Hi, everybody at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Dianne, Trisha, and so many others! 

So, after moving to Santa Fe back in June, I'm finally networking with other writers and started a Meetup group!  

Here's my introduction to the "Encouraging Each Other to Just Write" Santa Fe Meetup group:

  We are meeting 11/12/2014, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, at Panera Bread on Zafaranos. It will be mostly introductions, and a collaborative session on what people need from a writing group, and what time/place they would like to meet in the future. 

The writing group I belonged to in Denver always brought their most recent page of writing for the group, we wrote for fifteen minutes on our own pieces/or a writing prompt, and the facilitator of that week brought copies of an interesting article about the writing process. The members could critique if they wanted to, but mostly the group encouraged the members to write their story's next page and keep on writing!!!!  So things were said like: Your focus seems lost (or right on track); Your dialogue seems to halt the story (or is great); The long explanation in the middle seems out of place (or is right on), etc. In our group, there will not be major critiquing, or editing, because most members are probably working on a first draft. Back in Denver, we had one member with a first draft already completed so she showed us her editing process.

 I hope you can come to our first meetup. However, this group is one where members can jump in at anytime. 
Write on!  --Analee

As always, if we don't write our piece, it will not magically write itself.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Procrastination: The Writer's Sucky, Sucky Friend

Procrastination is like your worst friend. You know the one who always cancels, never shows up, and talks incessantly about themselves. That one. You can't cut them off because you've known them since______  (fill in the blank). 

There are soooo many articles out there that claim they can help a writer overcome procrastination.  Here's one who may, or may not, help:

In the meantime, Carpe MaƱana. 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Reader View: Big publishers don’t care about heart of literature - The Santa Fe New Mexican: My View

Reader View: Big publishers don’t care about heart of literature - The Santa Fe New Mexican: My View

Interesting article. Lucky for me that my book wouldn't be considered "literature."  At least I don't think so. I'm just writing a book I would like to read: A funny, complicated mother/daughter relationship combined with an incredibly interesting mystery attached. If it turns out to be the Great American Novel we will have to be on the lookout for flying pigs.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Writing Prompts That Don't Suck

I've given away so many writing prompt books in my lifetime. None of them ever matched what I was writing, or they required a particular format--essay, drawing pictures, taking a walk in nature, etc. Well, the search is over. I simply googled 'writing prompts that don't suck' and found this wonderful site:                  

The title is of the blog is "Writing Prompts That Don't Suck."  Fancy that. Usually google gives me thousands of entries to sort through; however, I stop looking after the first three pages. Doesn't everyone? Anyway, I highly recommend this particular blog for any writer, of any genre. It's fun, current, usable, and, most importantly, it doesn't suck. 

Tired of only finding sucky writing prompts on the Internet? I know I am. Check back every day for a new prompt that totally doesn't suck.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

George Saunders is coming to Denver!

July 31, 2014

Been in a writing dry-spell the last couple of days. Steven and I spent the time uber-shopping for kitchen and bathroom stuff to supply our new vacation/retirement/rental Teton Valley house. Yesterday we took an afternoon break. We went to the famous Jackson Hole "Million Dollar Cowboy Bar," then on to the "Ripley's Believe it or Not Museum," which was actually very good. There is so much to see and do in Jackson glad we bought in the Teton Valley!

Anyway, my short-story writing hero, George Saunders, is coming to Denver in September. Tickets go on sale tomorrow morning. I plan to dial-in first thing,right after my coffee. Can't miss coffee.

Check-out the video. Saunders talks about spending his childhood mimicing voices. In his latest book, Tenth of December, he returned to his childhood practice and created unforgettable voices. I have the book on Kindle, but must remember to buy a hard copy for signature!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The last three days in a nutshell...

July 26-29, 2014

Well, the last three days have been a whirlwind. On Friday night, my husband asked if I would mind driving to the Teton Valley to attend the closing on our new vacation/retirement/rental home. I called my son, Steven, and he agreed to accompany me. So, on Monday I drove from Santa Fe to Denver picking up Steven along the way. He had not done any of his laundry, so we left with just the clothes on his back. (This incident is definitely going in my novel.) Luckily, I had already packed a toilet kit for him as a present for his upcoming trip to visit his sister in Albania. Anyway, we drove as far as we could last night, stopping in Rock Springs. We literally got the last hotel room in town. Apparently, everyone is going to Yellowstone or Jackson Hole. I'm waiting for Steven to wake-up, so decided to blog post.

My writing life over the weekend consisted of writing down a dream I had about the mom character in my new novel. Jennifer is quite the character. Here's my rough dream sketch:

Jennifer's fear was getting all her old friends together and having all the stinging lies emerge. Every friend would have a different Jennifer story. When she and Davis married right after high school graduation, the first thing she shed was her last name. No more Jennifer Winefield. Jennifer Caulfield would be the beginning of her transformation. When Davis was offered a job working in a gold mine in Elko, Nevada, she knew this was her chance to create a different life for herself. Lying was her favorite thing to do, though Jennifer preferred to call it a "reality change". She'd had enough actual reality to last a lifetime. She grew up to fast; an adult at twelve years old. Blankness surrounded her in Elko. No one knew her, except Davis. The nice thing about Davis was his self-absorption and selective memory. He didn't even notice as Jennifer changed from a plain Colorado girl into a sophisticated, beautiful woman with a new past she shared with her select group of mining wives. She started a book club called "Wine, Classics, and more."  She became the toast of Elko, Nevada, and beyond, with, or without, Davis.

Well, now I have to try again to wake up my 22-year-old son. Wish me luck!