Sunday, May 22, 2011

Adair Lara Advice

Award-winning author and writing coach Adair Lara talks about writing essays and memoirs in her book, Strip and Go Naked. One suggestion is that since the turning point is the goal, it should come at the end. If essayists begin with the turning point and work back they will realize the revelation and they’ll instinctively know where to start.

She states, "There are two kinds of writing: pieces that don’t work and pieces that don’t work yet. Let a piece marinate and come back to it." Lara says it like it is with, "If people can’t get over their dislike of revision, they aren’t writers."

A strong statement, but a correct one in my opinion. After five drafts of my novel, Hada's Fog, I'd like to ask Lara, when does revision stop? I have a feeling it never does.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Between the Lines

My writing students and I have discussed back story blocks many times, yet those paragraphs of info dumps creep into many a good read and we either skip them or put the story down for later. Often, the later never comes. The story had a good plot, interesting characters, sensory setting, hooks and tension, but remains unread, too long on a shelf, and eventually ends up in the library's donation box.

The writer's job when editing, is to get out of the writer's head and look at what's written from the reader's viewpoint. Look at those blocks. Was all that telling necessary? Will those paragraphs move the story or stop it? Take them out. Cut and paste them into a note file. Sprinkle some of the lines in the story as you go along or to remember them might be all that's needed.

If the writer knows the details, the reader will be able to read between the lines.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Chris Baty of NaNoWriMo in Pleasanton on Saturday

The Tri-Valley Chapter of the California Writers Club will have Chris Baty as the speaker for their May 21st meeting. I highly recommend attending (non-members are welcome). Here is a little background from their newsletter and notice the name of a successful author who wrote her first draft during National Novel Writing Month:

A resident of Berkeley, California, Chris is the founder of National Novel Writing Month and the Executive Director of its parent nonprofit, the Office of Letters and Light.

Chris started his novel writing project in July, 1999 with 21 participants in the San Francisco Bay area. In 2000, it was moved to November “to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather,” and an official website was launched. That year 140 participants signed up for the event, including several from other countries, and 21 completed the challenge. The following year, Baty expected similar numbers but 5,000 participants registered. In 2010, it was 200,000.

But does it work? Ask Sara Gruen, who wrote the first draft of her award-winning best-seller, Water for Elephants, during NaNoWriMo.

The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. I've written the first draft of four novels in the four years I've participated.

Take this opportunity to meet Chris who will inspire and entertain you. Oasis Grille,780 Main Street, Pleasanton, Saturday May 21st at noon.