Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Moving Overseas and Unexpected Pitfalls

Just had my latest article come out: 

For those who've moved overseas, there's some emotional aspects that no one really mentions, and which become the focal point of your life for awhile. I hope these help others who move know what they're experiencing is normal.

It's funny how even a small change can render such huge emotional tolls on a person. Sometimes we focus so hard on the practical stuff, like money and securing employment, that we forget there's an emotional part to moving.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Editing a Novel: Not Just About Copy-edits

When I started editing my first novel, I felt like an astronaut in free fall. Yes, my novel had problems. Some of them big, some of them small, but mostly workable. The problem was, approaching it with a list of fix-its wasn't always helpful, and was, at times, a back-fire, because it meant I only approached edits with my critical, logical mind rather than letting my writer's brain have a say.

Part of the reason it's so hard to convey how to edit a story is because 1) we all have our own process and 2) I don't think people care to put down the emotional aspect of how to look at a story. So when I found this article by David Farland about your character's feelings and how your book portrays them, I was thrilled.

It's another good way of looking at edits. Here's a small quote from it:

Ultimately, with every pass, every rewrite, you need to ask yourself, “Is this the right choice of words, images, and scenes to make the reader feel what I want? Have I selected the right details?”

"The Rules" of Writing - Lee Child's Advice

I read a really great article today which got me to thinking. In this article, Lee Child dispenses healthy, common sense advice about a publishing career.

Although I liked how he pointed out how to be a gracious professional, what stood out to me was his dismissal about the 'writing rules'. How many times have I, or my critiquers, used "show, don't tell" to explain something? Were we 'right', or were we trampling on the writer's story? Now it has me wondering.

And the bottom line:
“It’s a long game. It will look bad on plenty of days, but hang in there, keep showing up and see where you are in 10 years.”

This is something I've been meditating on for the past few weeks. There are so many writers I see lathering at the bit to make their stuff go-go-go in the fastest way possible - always reading a how-to book or needing a critique partner to evaluate their work. And yet, as this shows, sometimes that can backfire in the writing process.

I'm not saying either of these are useless, but they're tools which must be used with care. Care and a deeper understanding of how you as a writer write.