Friday, August 19, 2011

Pointless Rambling

So if the whole point of a writing blog and using other social networks is to find people who read the kind of stuff you write I'm not doing very well.  And I think it would be creepy to go out and try to seek out kids, and how many kids really read blogs?  I used to mess around with xanga and myspace, but Facebook is the new thing. I don't think I would have any type of following with kids until after a Young Adult book of mine is published.  I have no clue how I would reach out to anyone beforehand.  Right now this blog just reaches out to other writers, because those are the only people who read this.  I don't feel like posting writing tips all the time, either.  I still don't know why I keep this blog but apparently you have to have one.  So here is a post from me. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Most Important Writing Lessons

I've learned a lot over the past couple years about writing.  I've almost completed a course through Long Ridge Writer's Group, I go to a couple critique forums, and most importantly I read and write a lot.  I have been writing since I was a kid, but the past two or three years are when I've really gotten into some of the more techinical details, creating stories not just as an art, but a craft.  Here are the things I think are the biggest lessons I've learned.

1.  Use adjectives and adverbs sparingly, and when you do use them, make them count.   This is the biggest one for me, and not always easy!  But I think it can make or break the story.

2.  Most dialogue can be cut.  I just picked this one up a couple weeks ago.  The article I read, on Writer's Digest, says that after you write a first draft you can probably delete half of your dialogue.  As always, I was skeptical about this, but I decided that it's true. Here is an example of how you can cut dialogue:

First Draft:
"Hi, what are you looking at?" asked Jay.
"I'm looking at something," said Timmy.
"That thing does look good today," Jay said, sitting beside Timmy.
"Yes, it does."
"Oh em gee, this thing you are looking at is really important and totally advances the plot."

Edited Version
"Hi, what are you looking at?" Jay asked, sitting beside Timmy.
"I'm looking at something," said Timmy.
"Oh em gee, this is really important and totally advances the plot."


3.   The things you  learn from a critique group may be right, wrong, or subjective.  In all areas if life, not just writing, I believe it's unwise to put all of your beliefs into one group, organization, or person. And I question everything I hear.  This is the best way to receive critique advice.  And sometimes suggestions may be right for the critiquer, but not for you.  This is where doing all the reading and writing you can comes in handy, so you can decide which advice to take and which to pass on.

4.  "How to Write a Book" Books are invaluable.  For some reason I never wanted to read these when I was younger and I don't remember why, although I'm sure I was suspicious of them.  Now I know they are awesome, but I still don't recommend blindly accepting everything you read.  And if you can make it through a whole book of rules, suggestions, exceptions, and contradictions without running screaming into the night, you've found your true calling.

5.  Reading and writing are still the most important ways to learn and practice.   And once you get to a certain point, the other thing you must keep doing is submitting.  Then you will have editors/agents/publishers giving you specific details as to why they will or will not publish your work.  And just like in all the other situations, sometimes what you learn is subjective.  But when specific details are given about your writing style, not just your subject matter, they're probably right.

Did I miss anything?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

My First Rewrite

I'm doing my first rewrite of a submitted article.  I am the one who came up with the idea for the rewrite and the editor said he was "intrigued", and I actually feel better about the fact that it was my suggestion to change it then if the editor had told me to himself.  I've been turning my mind inside out trying to figure out exactly how to create a broader discussion on Bullying and GLBT Suicide.  I think I've got it now. I just need to be less lazy in my interview process, which so far consists of me writing down questions and asking people to fill them out!

I'm also completing another article for my writing class, which I will also submit somewhere for publication.  I only have two more assignments to go after this!  My awesome friend Kristin Stewart has provided me information for this one, and yes, I am going to make a Twilight joke about her name.  (The article is humorous--  "Moms and Exercise:  Exploring the Myth.)

While I have had my main focus on paying publications, I think I might submit a couple things to some non-paying places.  Is this a horrible idea?  There is one I just heard of that seems like it would be an honor to submit to called Lesbian Connection, which apparently started sending out pamphlets in the mail decades ago in envelopes that were massively stapled shut for privacy.  Other than that, since I'm trying to rack up legitimate short fiction and non-fiction publication to impress an agent when I send out my book, should I even bother submitting to non-paying markets?

Monday, August 8, 2011


I am in The Long Ridge Writer's Group Newsletter, Applause section, which celebrates the successes of students and graduates.  Click here!  (My blurb is the 9th paragraph down.)