Scary Good News

Sometimes good news jangles as much enlivens us. That’s the kind of news I got a few days ago. A publisher to whom I had submitted a poetry manuscript gave me feedback suggesting some changes and asking me to resubmit. It took me about a week to calm my nerves. But today I am doing exactly as she suggested, making changes, retitling and I plan to resubmit after running the manuscript by a a few friends. It’s scar, because this has always been one of my goals, to publish in fiction and poetry and nonfiction. (Why narrow my dreams?) Oddly, my first writings and my initial publications were in poetry, so it’s strange to me that I first published a novel rather than poems in book form, but, hey, writing is a wild journey, and often unpredictable. One thing I have learned, though, is that when an editor asks you to resubmit, you do it, whatever else you have going on. So here goes. Wish me luck. And what are you doing to get your voice out there?

Study Hall, April 12: When You’re Stuck

Writer’s block isn’t a major issue for me—maybe because I am always struggling to find enough time, what with health issues, family, and activism, to write all the stories going on in my head—but there are times when I know a particular character or plot point needs underpinning, though I can’t quite suss out what’s missing. I have two main methods to address these quandaries. One is to take a relevant workshop with a writer I admire. If I’m having trouble, say, with a particular character, I know that if I take a character framing workshop with a good writer, I will likely hear something that will help me round out the person in question.

I am having trouble with a beloved story that isnt getting quite the juice it requires. I suspect the issue is that my main character isn’t quite “bad” enough to show a really great learning curve in the story. So this month I’ll be taking a workshop on ”The Mighty and Flawed” from a very successful writer, Tommy Dean, author of the fiction books Covenants and Hollow, and editor at ”Fractured Lit.” Tommy is a pretty modest guy, so his workshops are “pay what you want”—irresistible to a senior writer like me. He has a bunch of short workshops coming up this month; check them out at https://www.tommydeanwriter.com .

My other method? It’s a writing prompt exercise I do now and then to spur my subconscious to write what my conscious mind won’t allow.

I’ll post a video of that prompt in a separate posting. In the meanwhile, happy writing to you!

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, October 31, 2016: Use Your Imagination! 

What would you look like if you were a witch? How would your life work? Imagination is what makes us writers, grammar is what makes us intelligible, and structure is a toy to set our minds afire. 


I am not a witch nor have I studied Wicca (though I have friends who are and do.) Nevertheless, I feel I can perform magic. Not only on the page, but in real life.

Magic to my mind is what happens when we make connections, when a spark flies from me to you, when empathy causes us to save that spider, or impulse makes us leap to do the thing that terrifies us. I perform real magic when I can make a reader understand someone else’s state of being, realize a new value, or even feel alertly alive for a spell. 

In that second, we are at one with something larger than ourselves. We grow, pop! into a new incarnation. Even if you can’t wiggle your nose and force your house to clean itself, you can reach for the larger moment, flicker something new into life.


Writing is an amazing thing.

Today I’m going to get back in touch with my novel, which I’ve had to neglect as I traveled during the last week. I’m going to lay hands on it, and, in between dashing to the store for candy and answering the door for trick-or-treaters, I’m going to let that spark fly from my fingertips. Try it. You may glimpse a new world entirely and share it with us all. 

Happy Hallowe’en. As always, I ask that you leave me a note to let me know you were here. 

Write With Me Study Hall, Monday, October 26, 2015

  I am always writing a story in my head. You, too? 

That’s what makes us writers appear like scatterbrained police detectives much of the time. A friend may be telling me something heartbreaking, joyful, or worrying, but I am thinking about how it might fit into the bigger picture of what I will write. I hope I respond appropriately most of the time, as long as you don’t mind me diving for my iPhone to make a note while you talk. I really do care, honest, so much that I am deeply thinking about the implications of what you’re saying. Okay, maybe I’m only thinking about how cool it would be to have a kleptomaniac kindergarten teacher likes yours as a heroine in a story about overcoming obstacles, but I WILL remember you told me a story about a kleptomaniac kindergarten teacher. Being a writer is partly an art of listening deeply while thinking about many things.  

Today, I can only write after I do a long-neglected chore that has brought me up against a deadline, so I will be cranky, of course, until I can get back to my desk. When I do, I plan on working a bit more on writing some monologues from the viewpoint of a couple of characters who are puzzling me. If I give them free rein to answer some pointed questions, I hope they’ll provide me with a deeper peek into their motivations.

What are you writing today? 

Write With Me! Study Hall, Monday, September 27, 2015

 

Moving Day!

 Hi, All! So sorry about last week’s missing study hall link. My early morning Social Security meeting became a nearly all-day affair, in which I was prohibited from linking to the Internet. This week, I also don’t have wi-if, because we are packing up our Florida house and preparing for the final move to Charlotte. But this time I’m scheduling the post courtesy of free Barnes & Noble (I know, evil empire, but I live in no-other-bookstore land) on Sunday, and then I’ll be easily able to catch up with you via my cell phone tomorrow. 

Not sure how much concentrated writing time I will get done this week, but after the packing, on Thursday I’ll be joining a workshop taught by Laura van den Berg (Finding Me, The Isle of Youth, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us) along with Connie May Fowler and Parneshia Jones for a long weekend. More about that later! So I will be writing, all week long. 

So please check in and tell us what you’re up to. You could look at this, if you choose, as get-your-butt-in -the-chair-and-keep-moving-day. Let’s get it done–baxt (Good writing mojo, Romani style!) 

Write With Me! Study Hall, Monday, August 3, 2015

Have you been feeling a bit punchy lately? 

Me, too! 
Know what will cure that? 

Getting something down on paper!
It’s not a bad idea to write out whatever is bothering you. On the page, you can push, pull, manipulate, erase, and sometimes solve problems. 
But even if you’re Pollyanna today, I promise if you’ll feel better if you set a writing goal and strive to reach it today. You’re bound to make some progress, and you’ll have us all cheering you on! 
Please leave a comment below, because, you know, cheerleading our way is a mutual endeavor. Good luck, and hallelujah! (A tip: Don’t use as many exclamation points in your writing as I just did. Editors frown on that.) see you later. 
 

STUDY HALL: Write with us, beginning each Tuesday at 10 a.m.!

IMG_3546We check In each Tuesday here to give each other support and encouragement to work in those writing projects we might otherwise put off. Everyone is invited to join us by including below a brief comment about what you’re working on today. Afterward, please let us know how it went. If you can’t make it at 10 a.m., leave your comments when you can, before you start, by the Study Hall post dated today. Better late than never, better now than not at all!

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