Thursday, February 21, 2013

Writing for Children and Writing for My Children

Not counting my two practice novels, I have four finished manuscripts and one nearly finished.

I need to get back to some serious editing of my newest story. Please stay tuned for a post on why scene editing is essential to a good book.

Recently I heard Dale Murphy, Retired Major League ball player and member of my church, talk about how the trophies and awards and fame aren't nearly as important in the long run as his eight children.

Why am I revising this old book? Well, besides the fact that I still love it. my daughter asked to read it.

Someday I hope to have it published. This week, however, I am relishing how good it feels to have my little (almost not-so-little) girl beg for another chapter. There's never going to be a more valued reader in my mind. Well, excepting my other three children.

How do you know when it's time to unearth an old manuscript?

And how do you fix a picture that insists on posting sideways?!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Essence and Editing

I have cut and changed and edited a lot of my manuscript. As it's lying there bleeding ink,I know I need to take the next step--to go back and look at what I have left. Cutting the fat has been hard enough. However, I'm worried that in losing unessential elements, I may have lost vital plot nutrients as well.
I went to an art show over Martin Luther King weekend. Two of the artists we talked with mentioned the importance of getting the "essence" of the work. In other words, good art does not involve using a brush stroke to capture every single detail. When I dabble in painting, I want to paint too much detail. That's probably a clue for why I have a hard time cutting when I'm writing a novel.

Whether you're learning how to paint or how to write, I think there is a definite "art" to being able to determine what's essential.
I have written down a list of the items I want to make sure this first section is showing. Now it's time to get up my courage and see if I accomplished my goal.
And when I do, I may have accidentally left out a vital piece or two. The good thing is that I can still go back and add some things. In talking about how to write plot, editor Cheryl Klein spoke about layering. We don't always need a whole new scene to establish a plot point. So my next job will be to see if I can layer those necessary elements into the scene I already have.

Okay. I'm geared up and ready to start.