Writers Chatting: Chapter 12

“Memories”  Illustration by Walter Beach Humphrey

Welcome back! I had a request for a writing thread to discuss goal setting and planning. It is actually a good timing for me. My finished novel has been sitting on a shelf for a year while I decided what to do next. Now all of sudden everything is in overdrive, so I have to manage all of that with continuing work on the second book in the trilogy.

I have spent so much  time in the bulk of the first book, I’m stumbling as I set up the second. Jumping back into the prep stage has been hit or miss.

How do you approach your writing? Do you outline everything first and then fill in from there? Do you just write and worry about structure later? Do you write specific chapters, out of order and decide where they go later? Do you write beginning to end – what do you do when you hit a roadblock? How do you manage your characters – do you keep a bible on hand, do you make index cards and hang them all over the room?

And can we talk a bit about social media? Who is doing it for their books and how is it going?

Okay, that should get us off to a good start. As always, it’s just a guideline, discuss what you need to in your process.

Final note: for you romance writers out there, the next RWA conference is in Denver in July. Info here.  If you go, let’s make sure  we schedule a meet-up near you, around that time.

There you go, have at it. And remember to be kind and supportive.



Writers Chatting: Chapter 11

Welcome to the final chapter for 2017.

Let’s start with some additional information from Andrew Durkin, see his original guest post here.  This part of his guest post answers many questions from the last chat. From Andrew:

The most surprising thing I’ve learned since becoming a professional editor is that not all authors believe in the benefit of professional editing. On the surface, that’s understandable, especially in self-publishing—why pay for something when you can get a friend to do it for free? Economic resistance is often compounded by a very human fear of criticism, as well as horror stories about bad editors who have corrupted an author’s artistic or intellectual vision.

But I’m going to start from the premise that professional editing is the sine qua non for anyone serious about being an author—regardless of genre, and regardless of the type of publishing (traditional or self). The real question is how do you get the most out of the process? In my experience, there are three rules of thumb, and they follow below. (Some of these will seem like common sense . . . but you’d be surprised!)

Read more



Writers Chatting: Chapter 10

We have a thoughtful guest post this week and as a reminder, I’m open for more guest posts on your experiences with writing, publishing and marketing.

Today will be another perspective on self-publishing – finding an editor:

Hello everyone. My name is Andrew Durkin, and I am an editor for a Portland-based self-publisher, Inkwater Press. Like many people involved in publishing, I am also an author. My non-fiction book, Decomposition, was published by Pantheon Books in 2014. I am currently finishing my first novel, a middle-grade fantasy. (Although “currently finishing” is a phrase I have been using for the last five years.)

Balloon Juice has been a regular source of sanity for me since back in the Bush era, and I wanted to start by thanking you all for that. I was of course thrilled to see the emergence of a writer-focused sub-group over the last year or so. Every time I noticed the discussion turn to self-publishing and editing, I got the itch to speak up. Finally I contacted TaMara to let her know I’d be willing to write something for the group, if she thought that would be useful. She did, so I am. Thanks, TaMara, for the forum!

I realize the writers here come from a range of experiences and backgrounds, but I’ll try to make this valuable to everyone in some way. (As usual, I’m sure the really good stuff will emerge in the comments.)

* * * * *

Read more



Writers Chatting: Chapter 9

Welcome back. I don’t have a guest today but I think there is lots to talk about. After the last writing post, I thought it would be a good time to continue to discuss self-publishing.

What are the best ways to go about finding and evaluating resources such as a good editor, a cover artist, beta readers and how best to market yourself.  Even if you’re not there yet, we’ll all need these resources eventually.

(For the posts on putting together query letters for traditional publishing, click here, looking for a literary agent, click here)

Let’s start today with a reminder of who you are and where you are at in your writing journey.

And also, a reminder, National Novel Writing month is next month. What would you like to do for it? I will be gone for two weeks in November, but I can set some open writing threads up to auto-publish if you guys have a plan.

Ok, take it way and keep it positive and fun….

 



Writers Chatting: Chapter 8 – Getting Back in the Swing

I almost decided against this post today, but I thought we could use a distraction. I’m jumping right back into more serious writing questions and essays. If you’ll add any questions you have in the comments (throw my name in there somewhere so I can search for your Qs later) I’ll do my best to tailor future posts to focus on them.

And as always, if you’d like to share your experience with a short essay, email me.  I think sharing our stories is a great way to focus our chats. Today we’ll jump in with an essay I received at the end of March:  Read more



Writers Chatting: Beach Read 4

Summer is winding down and I have several nice emails from writers with essays for us and other writers with questions. So we’ll hit the ground running come September. But for now…this caught my attention.

This Netflix movie, filmed in Colorado, caught my eye Friday and sent me on a hunt for the book and Colorado author, Kent Haruf. I found his story fascinating.

From his obituary:

Kent Haruf pulled a wool cap over his eyes when he sat down at his manual typewriter each morning so he could “write blind,” fully immersing himself in the fictitious small town in eastern Colorado where he set a series of quiet, acclaimed novels, including “Plainsong,” a 1999 best seller. Mr. Haruf often wrote a chapter a day…

Punctuation, capitalization, paragraphs — they waited for the second draft. The first draft usually came quickly, a stream of imagery and dialogue that ran to the margins, single-spaced.

His wife did the copy editing on Our Souls at Night, after imploring, “Don’t you dare die before you finish it”, which he finished just before he died. It’s now in my book queue. Has anyone read Plainsong?

How is your summer writing coming along?



Writers Chatting: Beach Read 3

We all seem to be in agreement that summer is time to kick back and relax a bit. So with that in mind, here is the next in our summer’s Writers Chatting open threads.

Besides writing the next great beach read, what is your favorite beach read? A few of mine, in no particular order: Jaws, One for the Money, Jurassic Park, To Kill a Mocking Bird and as a youngster, the first three Trixie Belden books.

Have at it!