Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cross Training for Writers

Some writers limit themselves to one genre. They may prefer one category or style. And it’s certainly comfortable to stay within the area that’s rewarded us with the most success. But in my experience, limiting myself to one area gets boring, and my writing can feel stale, formulaic, more boring.

The refereed, continuous storylines on TaleBait allow me to stretch different writing muscles and make fresh mental connections. It’s cross training for the brain.

Monday, March 15, 2010

The State of Having Written

Do you actually like to write? I don’t. I prefer the state of having written. Sure, there are moments when a good idea or phrase comes together. Those moments are enjoyable, but more often than not, I’m uncomfortable during the fingers-on-keyboard-butt-in-the-chair phase of writing. That is, this very moment as I type.

Part of the problem is that I want to edit as I go along. I confess I once spent 1.5 hours on a single sentence. I wanted to move on, but I just couldn’t let go. It was a miserable 1.5 hours. I kept thinking I was close to getting the sentence right, but not quite there.

And I’m critical of writers who expect me to read their rambling, wordy musings. I’m offended that they think their time is too precious to spend editing, but my time is so unimportant that I should be expected to read through their dalliances. Perhaps part of this annoyance comes from the years I suffered through student essays that were hastily written and stretched to hit the required length.

This discomfort with writing contributed to my development of TaleBait. I want to enjoy writing, to have fun, to explore. When I’m not solely responsible and can’t control the outcome, it’s easier to let go. Drop a line and let’s play.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Endless Edits

I recently read the last chapter of my middle grade fiction to a critique group. Now it’s time for yet another round of edits to incorporate the group’s suggestions and address weak spots. I truly appreciate their advice and look forward to reworking the story. But should I read the next round of revisions to the group?

Each time you present a piece of writing, you’re likely to get another opinion. When is the process finished? Hmm, the answer may be that it’s finished when it’s good. I’m sure you see the problem. There’s always room for improvement, a better word, a more powerful image, a character detail, tighter construction.

At some point you have to declare the work good enough and release it. And then prepare for another round of edits if it’s picked up by an agent or publisher.

How do you know when it’s time to submit your book? How many rounds of edits do you share with your critique group?