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On Finishing

I finished the second draft of To Be Phoenix,

and I must say, I’m getting excited about this book. I think it’s going to be one of my best.

Now to reward myself.pen

I find that writers don’t do this often enough. Writing is hard work. It’s never-ending. In between the giddy highs of milestones, the work is frustrating, annoying, defeating, and infuriating. Why in the world would we want to keep doing something like that? Sometimes we need little things to keep us happy.

When I’m having trouble staying motivated, I set little milestones with little rewards. Maybe, once a chapter is rewritten, I’ll go sit on the deck for the rest of the day.

Sometimes I need a reward for even smaller milestones: half a chapter, one page, sometimes even just figuring out a difficult situation without it even being written. I might get a little prize.

Bigger rewards are for bigger milestones. I finished a draft of my novel. I get dinner out. Though, it was a very difficult rewrite. Maybe a movie, too.  Yes, that’s the ticket. Dinner and a movie!

When I get it published, maybe I’ll take a little trip somewhere. Not a big one, just a weekender. There is the work of the release party coming up, after all. And the next novel is waiting in the wings.

The point is: Writing’s hard work; reward yourself often. Bribe 
yourself. Do whatever you have to do to make yourself keep coming back to your story. And finish it, any way you can.

Posted in Fiction Writing Tips, To Be Phoenix, Uncategorized

The Word

Instead of New Year’s Resolutions, every year I pick a word I want to live by for the next 365 days.

Last year, 2017, it was “Play”.

Looking back, I think I succeeded, considering how hard my family and I were hit by life things. I’m pretty sure if I didn’t play at things, I wouldn’t have made it as well as I did, mentally or emotionally.

So, I’ll call it a win.

I’ve been struggling to find a word for 2018, but I can’t find exactly what I want. So, I’ll give you this:

I want to learn to step back. To take a deep breath and get some distance. I want to let the river of life’s chaos flow around me without trying to swim against it. Maybe without swimming at all, just climb out and watch it go.

Relax. Accept. Re-center myself. Start again.

So, yes. My 2018 word(s?) is Step Back.

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Posted in Uncategorized

Editing Someone Else’s Words

My life is boring, I admit. I do pretty much the same things day after day. For me to blog “I wrote a chapter” and then, two days later, blog the same title again, would be very boring indeed.

But lately, I’ve set aside my writing to edit my writers’ group annual book. This year, instead of ‘The Best of’, we decided to write a cohesive novella. We’ve done this before, each of us taking a different character, or writing short connected stories about a main theme. But this one’s different; we decided to go Round Robin style. I started off, followed by someone else, and so on, until it was my turn to write again.

Makes for a rough story.

My job, as editor, is not only to do the usual corrections of spelling, punctuation, and grammar, but also to smooth the different chapters so they flow from one to the next without throwing the reader out of the boat.

The difficulty lies in preserving the original writer’s voice while making it work correctly.

So many people, when critiquing others’ work, try to rewrite the piece. That’s not the point. We need to preserve the writers’ style while showing him/her how to make it stronger.

Sometimes it means leaving little oopses, rather than change a whole section. Some writers use commas way too much, so I remove most that aren’t needed, but leave a few that aren’t wrong, yet aren’t entirely correct, either. I leave a few of the more harmless run-on sentences in a chapter written by a writer who’s known for them. After all, it’s not supposed to be just my writing. And if I over edit, that’s exactly what it will be, MY writing.

Our strength as a group, as a community, is having different voices, different ways of expressing ourselves. 

Posted in Breathe, Uncategorized