Monthly Archives: March 2010

Re-vision and revisions

I haven’t been posting lately to my blogs.  Why?  I do have a valid reason (excuse?)  I had been reading so much that my eyes were getting too tired and strained, and the small print in one book was hard to see well.  Being due for an eye checkup I made the needed appointment.   The result is that I now have stronger reading glasses, and with better vision I am able to get back at my reading.  I added another book to my ‘have read’ page, and hope to do well with my reading in April.

Remember I told you about a story I was working on, cutting it down?  I finally got it from nearly 3000 words (actually 2994) way down to 1300.  Amazingly, nothing of the heart of the story was lost in the cut.  My critiquer gave me further suggestions, and I worked on a second revision.  Now I am waiting to get further response on that before I send it on to a magazine to see if they are interested in it.

I also have some other stories brewing.  Maybe they will be for magazines, maybe short stories.   Not sure yet.  I will have to see where my muse will take me in those.

SO, how’s your ‘vision’ lately?  I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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Critiques and crankiness

How did you handle your first real story critique?  Me?  Not so well.

My rhyming story was not too bad, I could see where there was room for improvement once I understood some things I didn’t know before.  It will likely come back from the publisher with a rejection letter.  But then another story, the beginning of a possible novel in which I had invested more, was critiqued.

Owie!  To say I was a bit upset would be quite safe to say.  😦  I had thought it would receive ‘good story!’ and ‘well written’, ‘great ending.’  (I planned to build the story in the middle to make it longer and more involved.)  Um .. well, what I was told was not exactly like that but close.  Close wasn’t good enough in my mind.  I was not expecting to be told to take out this and that, make those changes, and cut it down for submission to a children’s magazine.  Nope, wasn’t expecting that.

So how did I handle my first real story critique?  Somehow I overlooked that I was told something positive about ‘my voice’, about my characters being great, about the great message.  Instead, I found myself getting out of sorts, sad (yes, I admit I actually shed a few tears), glum, discouraged.

My husband came home from work, and after a few minutes had passed he asked, “Okay, what’s bothering you?” with concern showing in his face.

“Why do you ask that?” I replied.

“Because you are the way you are when something is bothering you.”  Very observant of him, I thought, appreciatively.

But then I said … “oh, I dunno …. nothing.”    Not ready to talk about it.

And what did my concerned man do?  “Oh …. okay then ….”  and resignedly he walked away.  He walked away!   He gave up.  Just like that.  Hmmm

And what did I do?  I thought, but didn’t say, “Humph!  Okay then, don’t try again to find out.  That was not the right thing to say!”   *Sigh*   (It is hard for men to know when to pursue and when to leave it alone.)

Oh, the games we play.   Why is it so hard to just say what’s bothering me?  Why does opening my heart to him feel so raw and invasive?  Maybe because I was not prepared to deal with the emotion yet, and – feeling very disappointed that what I had written was not good enough – I had to work that through.  Yes, I felt a little cranky about my writing being challenged, but I didn’t take it out on him, nor did I go all evening like that.  Eventually,  I looked at my story again and started cutting, making those suggested changes, seeing the potential in it.

Before I got to that place of facing the challenge, I asked myself, “Is this  what I really want to do?”  Write, write, write, face critiques, cut, change, add, start over.  Am I cut out for this?  Maybe I am.  Is it worth finding out?  Durn tootin’!  I will keep at it until something happens.  Either I will be successful in being successful or I will be successful in finding out I am no good at this.  🙂  Looks like a win/win situation to me!   (Thanks D.E.)

I see now that in order to make my writing all it can be I have to let change happen.  I have to accept the challenge.  And I am willing to do that.

So, what’s your story about your first real story critique?  How did you handle it and what has it done for your writing?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Manuscripts and capturing ideas

Today I am still stunned by something l learned last night in writers chat.  Our guest author revealed to us that he has over 700 – yes, read that as OVER SEVEN HUNDRED, completed manuscripts waiting for a home!  Each of those has been submitted at least once.  He also already has 500 published short stories and poems!  And he is only in his 40’s!

I sat here marvelling, first at his achievement of 500 in publication, but when he said he has over 700 yet to be published — well, I don’t know if I have recovered yet from that announcement!  I hardly can grasp the image of that.  Imagine it! …  Can you?

From that I realized I am not capturing my thoughts and ideas nearly the way I should be doing.  Some writers carry a notebook and pen everywhere they go, others take a little tape recorder to talk into when something triggers their imaginations, some keep paper and pen by the bed at night (I do this) in case they get story ideas as they are falling asleep or are wakened by them, or maybe even dream them.

The point is … write, write, WRITE!  Don’t lose ideas  by not capturing them, thinking you will remember and then losing them!  Ever have that happen?  Never trust your memory, especially since – as a writer – you have so much creative thought happening.  For sure some of it will get lost.

Do you have a stockpile of manuscripts?  Or maybe you have tips to offer regarding capturing ideas ?  I’d love to hear about it.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

A riddle for you & do you Twitter?

Today I have a riddle for you.
Q: What day of the year is a command?

Think a little about that question.

Today is March fourth.
🙂   See it?

A: March Forth!

So, do you want to know how I am “marching forth” today?  Well, I signed up on Twitter this morning.  Yep!  I now have a Twitter account.

A few months ago a good friend suggested I try it, so I looked into it but just wasn’t ready to take that on.  Since then, several writers in the chat rooms have talked about the benefits of Twitter and convinced me to do it.  Okay, I finally see the possibilities and now I’m a Tweeter, um  ..  a Twit?  Oh, no! don’t like that one!  ; )  hmmm .. now I am a twitter-er?  I think that is what we are called.  Well, anyway, now I am a Twitter user!  I have made my initial post to get things started, and I also became a follower of a few members with whom I was already familiar.

It is a little daunting, but nonetheless, if I want to break into the world of writing for children I have to take the steps to get there.  A little at a time.

I also learned yesterday that all publishers now expect their authors to do a lot of the work themselves of promoting sales of their books.  In an earlier post I may have come across as sounding quite lazy, but not understanding how things have changed I thought traditional publishers still did most of that.  Of course, I am not opposed to doing what needs to be done.  I just didn’t like the idea of being an ‘unknown’ and having to cart books all over the place to sell them.  Do I have a lot to learn, or what?   🙂   Yes, I admit I do.  And I want to learn.

In the meantime I continue to read, and I have added more to ‘My have read” list’.

So, do you use Twitter?  And .. what are you doing to ‘march forth’?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂