It is the evening of my departure for my month long adventure to France. Some anticipatory butterflies are fluttering through my stomach.
My bags and travel apps are packed. (And yes, I do need to recharge the battery).
The kids have heard the Riot Act in a couple of different versions. Everything seems like a go, but I’m sure once I’m on the airplane I’ll remember one or two things that are sitting on my dresser at home and not in my suitcase.
I know I’ll miss my family, my boyfriend, my dog Chip, (but not KiKi the cat- the feeling is mutual). What I didn’t expect was something that crossed my mind a few minutes ago.
I’m really going to miss my writing ritual.
The one where I roll out of bed, stretch, push the power button on my laptop,before I go into the kitchen to make a pot of coffee and return to my swivel chair with a big mug of steaming coffee, a dash of half and half, and my peanut butter toast. For two hours, sometimes more, I type, refill the coffee cup, and blow crumbs off my desk.
When my friend Amada and I arrive in Upper Normandy on the 1st of September we will have to establish new writing routines. Luckily both of us are early morning writers and both of us like quiet.
During this Labor Day weekend, I’m sure you will want to squeeze in some time to put pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. With that thought I’d like to share some tips for your writing weekend.
1-These 10 gems for first time novelists to think about are from former St. Martin’s Press editor Toni Lopopolo, Agent in her “Bare Knuckle Writing Workshops.” One of the most important tip is:
Mistake # 9: Poor Self Editing Skills: self edit by editing other writers’ fiction, or by reading the recommended books.
Sure, you can pay for a professional edit (anywhere from $4 a page to a flat rate of $ 2000) or you can learn how to self edit, make your story stronger, and save the $$$ for a trip abroad or a new roof.
2-A terrific book, Self Editing for Fiction Writers (How to Edit Yourself into Print) by Renni Browne and Dave King (Editors at William Morrow and Writer’s Digest) is a must for a writer. I belong to a writing group, a writing club, and recently the Goodreads pick for our online writer’s group, Wordsmith Studio. This book has been a must read for all three groups.
The topics which first time novelists find hard to grasp and usually lack in their stories are:
- three dimensional characters,
- maintaining point of view,
- interior monologue, and
This handy reference book delves into subjects such as showing and telling in a way as to engage the readers’ emotions. Each of the 12 Chapters has a checklist so that you can apply the concepts to your work.
If you’re not at the self editing stage yet, here are some amazing questions and tips about story, from an instructor I’ve had the privilege to meet.
3-Shelley Lowenkopf is an editor, writer, and Professor Emeritus at USC. In his Seven Things You Write A Story to Discover you are asked to consider the who, what, where, why and more of story. The question, “Why should we care?” is most important.
“We tend to care about stories dramatizing experiences that squeeze characters in ways similar to the squeezes and pressures we have experienced. We care if someone we identify with is vulnerable.”
If the reader doesn’t care, they will stop reading. End of story.
4-For those of you who are in the throes of revision here’s a handy guide that explains editing marks-you know those scribbles all over your work in progress or manuscript.
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I’m going to skip tip # 5 for another day, another post, because this one is longer than I anticipated. IF you have a 5th tip let us know in the comment section. We really want to know.
Now, I must get back to the suitcase on the floor and cast out some unlucky clothes.
And remember, before you start your Writer’s Weekend please:
Au Revoir Mon Ami’s.