Writers Chatting: Chapter Two

Welcome back!

I asked jacy (who besides doing beautiful cover art, used to teach creative writing and has published several books) to write up a little something about Query Letters and Submission for this week.

I also thought it would be fun to talk about how you write. Do you start at the beginning and power through to the final chapter? Write the end first and then wind your way back there from the beginning? Write scenes and character arcs before putting it all together?

Other than that, remind us what you’re writing and let the discussion begin.  Also, hit me up with topics for the next writing group and I’ll try and find someone to bring us some expertise.

Query Letter and Submission

Self-publishing is now a viable path for writers, but even if you’re wildly embracing self-publishing, you still need to know about querying and submission. Many authors both self-publish and trad publish, and every author needs to know how to submit to contests, magazines, anthologies, publishers, and agents.  Here are some basics, no matter what path you’re taking.

Before you begin, there are three rules:

  • Be finished: Have your manuscript completed, polished, and edited.
  • Know your market: understand your genre and audience, and where your manuscript fits in.
  • Do your research: know who you are submitting to, that they want what you’re submitting, and what their exact guidelines for submission are.

Read more



Writers Chatting: Chapter One

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Welcome.

To get things started, I’m going to propose two topics, but don’t feel you need to stick to them, I just wanted to give us a place to begin.

jacy provided a great suggestion in the last writers post. With your first comment, introduce yourself, tell us a bit about what you’re writing, what experience you have and what you’re interested in. And remember my golden rules: kind, supportive and informative comments only, leave your snarky, critical, discouraging voice for another time and place.

First topic, by popular request: How to begin and how to stay focused. Hillary R has some very helpful advice over at her place and I’m going to start with this piece:

(1) Show it! Often we procrastinate because we’re afraid to show our work to anyone. (“Afraid” is probably putting it lightly—we’re often terrified.) So stop hoarding your work and start showing it. But be judicious: there’s no point in showing to clueless or callous people. Show only to kind supporters who “get” what you’re trying to do.

Start now! Show bits and pieces, or the whole thing. Invite any feedback, or certain kinds of feedback, or no feedback at all. (Tell your audience what you want!) The showing, not the feedback, is the important part.

(2) Finish small stuff. Finishing is a skill you can practice. If you’re a fiction writer, write anecdotes and vignettes. (Bring them to completion, and then show them.) If you write nonfiction, write up (and show) one small point instead of several big ones. If you’re stuck on a complex email, write (and send) several small ones instead. (Here’s how to overcome email overload.)

Click on over to the entire article to read the rest. She’s going to try and stop by to answer questions today. What helpful tricks do you have for starting and staying on your writing task?

Second topic, for those who are farther along, or who have actually published and can offer advice. What to do when it’s time to start the editing process. I’ve spent my life in theatre, film and television, so I understand collaborative art, the whole process is a group effort. But I am stymied when it comes to novels and short stories. How do you go about editing – finding a good editor, incorporating their input in what is a highly personal work, what boundaries to set, etc. So I would love to hear your thoughts and struggles in the editing process.

Okay that’s it, have at it…

FYI, to read all our group posts, just click on the Writing Group tag and it will pop all of them up in a window.

 

 



Writers Chatting: Meeting Reminder

Just a reminder that there will be a writing group thread on Sunday (Dec 4) at 12:30 EST/9:30 PST. For now we are going to talk process, resources and support. We’ll revisit sharing pieces after the new year.

See you there!

Also: There will be no recipe threads for a while, but I’ll probably put together some holiday stuff later in the month. My focus is usually around Christmas stuff, but if anyone wants to send me recipes and info on different holiday celebrations, please do. I would love to post about that – include photos!



Writers Chatting: Prologue

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Let’s talk. First things first – are you still up for a writers group? I thought it would be important to move forward with something that let’s us focus on good things again.

Next, how do you want to approach this? Do you want to use it as a place to share journeys, ideas and ask questions of each other? Would you like me to bring in some people to offer their experiences in the post and possibly hang out in the comments to chat? I have a couple of people who are willing – one is Hillary Rettig – and I think she can provide some good insights.

Do you want to share works to get opinions from your fellow writers? If so, we’d need to discuss how best to do that. I’m thinking a dropbox-type link – as long as you realized there is no way to secure it – it would be available to anyone who clicks on the link (although with dropbox you can put an expiration on it – I don’t know about the other services). If anyone knows a better way, let me know.

Now, let’s talk about the rules here. I taught for years – many of my classes were for adults who needed a safe, accepting place to explore their creativity in a way their careers didn’t allow. That’s how I’m approaching this. I’m going to monitor the comments closely – this is not the place to be snarky, criticize your fellow writers or decide to unload personal cynicism.

While in all my other posts, including my recipe threads, I let you say whatever, here I will delete your comment. If you feel that’s unfair, you can email me and protest. Or, hey, John loves getting your complaints (in all CAPS if you really want his attention) and he can let me know I’m out of  line. But this will be a place where people feel safe exploring their creativity. Period.

Okay, lets’ get started. Let me know how you want this to take shape.

ETA: Next Writers Chat is set for Dec 4th at 12est/10mst/9pst

ETA2: Okay, I’m going to read through this thread tonight and come up with a good plan for our next post. So keep posting comments…..



Calling All Writers: UPDATE

These are my concord grape vines – the grapes were delicious and the fall colors awesome (you can read about my grape jelly escapades here )

There seems to be enough  interest to pursue this. What I’d like to know next is when is a good time? I’d like to do it twice a month (at least to start) and find a time that works for most. We won’t start until after the election. What works best for you – weekend afternoon, weekend evening or week night? I’ll try and find what works for most. Of course we won’t be able to make everyone happy, but I’ll do my best to find a good time.

Hillary and I are still discussing format and how to approach it all. Stay tuned.

Here is the original post:

I have been toying with an idea since Authors in Our Midst.  I really enjoyed the comments on those threads and it seemed like we had a lot of people who were in progress on some writing project or another. Do we have enough interest to start a writing support group here?

I was thinking we could “meet” a couple times a month and encourage each other, offer advice and suggestions. Maybe a secure drop box to share work to critique. I can see if our published authors would be wiling to pop in and offer their experiences and answer questions.

Hillary Rettig has offered her support/expertise with this, too! So if you’re interested, leave a comment in this post and I’ll take it from there if we have enough interest.

 








Calling All Writers

The view from my office:

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I have been toying with an idea since Authors in Our Midst.  I really enjoyed the comments on those threads and it seemed like we had a lot of people who were in progress on some writing project or another. Do we have enough interest to start a writing support group here?

I was thinking we could “meet” a couple times a month and encourage each other, offer advice and suggestions. Maybe a secure drop box to share work to critique. I can see if our published authors would be wiling to pop in and offer their experiences and answer questions.

Hillary Rettig has offered her support/expertise with this, too! So if you’re interested, leave a comment in this post and I’ll take it from there if we have enough interest.








More Things in Heaven and Earth

So the most shocking news of the year may turn out (for me, at least) to have nothing to do with the election. It’s that Christopher Marlowe has been officially credited as coauthor of some of Shakespeare’s plays:

Shakespeare may have had a little more help than previously suspected.

The New Oxford Shakespeare edition of the playwright’s works — which will be published by Oxford University Press online ahead of a worldwide print release — lists Christopher Marlowe as Shakespeare’s co-author on the three “Henry VI” plays, parts 1, 2 and 3.

It’s the first time that a major edition of Shakespeare’s works has listed Shakespeare’s colleague and rival as a co-author on these works, the volume’s general editor, Gary Taylor, said in a phone interview.

There’s been literally centuries of dispute on this, with the Shakespeareans accusing the Marlovians of all kinds of bad faith. But it was Big Data that validated Marlow’s authorship:

For the New Oxford Shakespeare scholars ran tests to determine whether authors like Marlowe could be reliably identified by the ways they used language — like frequent use of certain articles, and certain words commonly occurring in a row, or being close to each other in the text. Once this was determined, researchers applied these patterns back to texts, to see if they suggested an author other than Shakespeare. If results came out positive, further tests were run.

Mr. Taylor said that the exact nature of the playwrights’ collaboration cannot be certain, but that they did not necessarily work together in person. Scriptwriting at Shakespeare’s time was often structured similarly to how movie writing happens now: One author would earn an advance for writing a plot outline, and theaters would hire other authors to write other scenes, according to their strengths.

It’s possible that this is how the “Henry” plays were written, Mr. Taylor said, noting that some playwrights also collaborated by hashing through ideas in pubs.

Personally, I find the Big Data angle a bit creepy. I’m happy Marlowe is finally getting his due, and am all for the use of scientific techniques in the humanities. But if Shakespeare’s not “safe,” no one is. What other time-travel toppling of literary and historical edifices awaits us?

PS – someone at Wikipedia needs to get cracking:

The Shakespeare authorship question is the argument that someone other than William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon wrote the works attributed to him….Although the idea has attracted much public interest, all but a few Shakespeare scholars and literary historians consider it a fringe belief and for the most part acknowledge it only to rebut or disparage the claims.

Also, PPS – for those who are interested, a reminder. I know some Juicers are planning to participate in NaNoWriMo or AcWriMo, so here’s my resource center for those. Also my SavvyAuthors online class starts Monday (10/31) and will provide great support for all writers in November, and there’s a $5 discount for Juicers. (Happy to answer questions on any of these; email me.)

Christopher Marlowe

Someone’s looking smug!