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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A MAN AND A WRITER GO INTO A BAR

    A man walked into a bar. “Writing a novel is easy, right?”  he asked. “I have this story I want to write. Tell me where to start?” Okay, maybe it wasn’t a bar, but a table at a book fair. I gave him the advice I heard from someone once.  “The beginning is easy. What comes next is hard,” I said. “Huh,” he said. “First, you need to get a license. Do you have one?” “I had no idea,” he said. “Where do I get one.” “The Department of Creative Writing,” I told him. “Each state capital has one, or province if you live in Canada. You have to pass a test. The written part is the hardest,” I added. “I had no idea,” he said again, starting to sound repetitious. I’m sure he didn’t get my joke about the written part. OK, the conversation didn’t go exactly like that. Still, we’ve all had one close to that. We’ve been asked where we get our ideas. Is it hard? How long does it take to write a novel? I did have a woman tell me she would like to write but didn’t have an imagination. I would be…

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A GOOD WRITING/WINE PAIRING

Wine Paring for writers?Countless times, Authors are asked what wine makes an excellent pairing with writing. After all, a master of the craft, Ernest Hemingway, said to write drunk and edit sober. Okay, writing and wine is a pairing rarely explored. So, let’s start. Some robust reds pair well while writing action. I suggest one of Italian Big B wines, Barolo, Brunello & Barbaresco. The flavors of the juicy ripe black and red fruit blended with savory herbs are complex, just what we want in an action scene. A problem for many struggling writers is cost. The Big B wines can be a tad on the pricey side. White wines? And yes, real men also drink white wine. They pair well with the contemplative writing moments. This is the time when a writer steps back from the keyboard, thinking about the next chapter or scene. Is Chardonnay to your taste? I personally lean to the dry whites like that, my fav being a Pinot Grigio. Romance writers may want some sweetness in their pairing. A Riesling or Moscato might serve you well. For the writers who just can’t kick into gear, you might try chugging a bottle of Old Swill…

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Watch a new season of CSI Grammar

Thrills are in store. Tune in Thursdays at 8 to follow the adventures of fearless investigators. In the pilot for CSI Grammar, the season opens with Episode one: “The case of the dangling participle.” When a comma is found in a coma, they struggle to get to the metaphorical root of the case. Rated “POV,” viewers are warned there are graphic uses of misspelled words. One allegory caused this reviewer to flinch in revulsion. Special agent Mary Allen Semicolon works to solve grammatical crimes. Follow Mary as she leads a team of top grammaralists as they uncover split infinitives and more. The CSI Grammer team soon becomes embroiled in a heated debate on the colon versus the semicolon. Later in the show, however, they are able to reconcile verb and tense disagreements. The show is produced by Alan “Thesaurus” Roget  and directed by Marty “Dictionary” Webster Note to the Grammar Police: do not bother senting any tickets for mspelling, errs and other mistooks 

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