WRITING A NOVEL? PART 5

WRITING A NOVEL? PART 5

BLOOD, TOIL, TEARS, SWEAT . . . EDITING Editing, blech! You’ve finished your novel? If so, you know only too well the blood, toil, and tears needed to reach the finish line. That’s the time to put our feet up, pour a glass, sit back, and smile. That’s when the plot bunny on the shoulder whispers the dreaded word . . . “edit.” Editing . . . Blech! Editing is the sweaty part of fictioneering, be it short story or novel. I’m the first to admit to the perils of rushing to print, relying on MS word to correct my spelling and grammar. Winston Churchill’s great speech referring to blood, toils, tears, and sweat was his call-to-arms when Britain faced an imminent threat of invasion and war. It also serves as a call-to-editing. In fact, Churchill was no stranger to editing. He rehearsed and edited his famous speeches up to the last moment. As a writer, he was a relentless self-editor. I’m still learning the craft of self-editing. That said, our writing must be subjected to a third party. A friend, if need be. A professional, if possible. Having a novel in print with CHAPTER THIRTEER serves as my reminder.…

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WRITING A NOVEL? PART 4

WRITING A NOVEL? PART 4

Ready, Fire, Aim: Getting it wrong When I asked someone in a writing group what her story was about, she said she didn’t know. Said, “I simply start writing. Eventually, I find out the direction the story is taking.” Huh? I think that’s wrong. What about you? Do you know what your story’s about? Have you ever started a road trip, route planned, map ready, car fueled, only to find a detour along the way? What if we never make it to the destination? I’ve had some happy memories visiting unplanned places. But to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never started the car, heading down the road with absolutely no clue where I’m going. Okay, that one time might be blamed to too much . . . I think writing’s like that. That first sentence is pointing to the last, the finale. My characters take detours, often ending up in unplanned places, but they always seem headed toward that last sentence. If the story-line takes a detour and doesn’t get back to the map, it may require taking an editorial knife to it. Skip the editing, and you’re sure to get it wrong Informed that Beat leader Jack Kerouac never rewrote…

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