Sunday, June 07, 2009

Writer's Digest: Random Tips and Stories

I mentioned the other day that I was making my way through the latest issue of Writer's Digest. Since I actually took some guilty pleasure time yesterday to lie out by the pool and read it cover to cover, I thought I'd share some interesting tidbits with you:

Jason Roeder shares a few pieces of advice, including this one: "If you're going to write, you'd better get used to the word 'no'" and the fact that if you're doing a public reading, "a typical audience slips into REM sleep at about the 35-minute mark" (35 minutes?! No way I could read that long...but I digress...)

In the great central article "Publishing 101," which attempts to explain everything an author should know about the publishing process, the #1 tip is that authors MUST be prepared to market and promote their own work. However, there's also a great gentle reminder to balance that: if you spend too much/all your time marketing that first baby of yours, you'll never write anything else...and continuing to write is your primary job/passion.

I also liked this piece of advice: when working with an editor, hold onto the things that are really important to you. I have learned WONDEFUL things about writing from all my editors; almost always, they are able to point out areas of weakness, sections that needed change or clarification, and the result was a better story. Occasionally, though, you might feel strongly about keeping a plot point/name/character/etc...and if that's the case, then don't give up too easily. Explain to your editor why you want to keep your plot point/name/character the way it is. She might agree. She might still ask you to change it. But don't ever be afraid to have that conversation.

And how cool is this: Marianne's friend Charity Tahmaseb, whose debut novel The Geek Girl's Guide to Cheerleading I mentioned a few days ago, is quoted! She says, "The one thing that really stands out is how many times I ended up reading the entire book, in manuscript and page-proof form...As it stands now, the only book I've read more than my own is Pride and Prejudice." This is true as well, folks: by the time your book hits the shelves, you'll be so tired of reading through it, first for major revisions and then for minor edits and then again for typographical errors, that it's likely you'll never pick it up to read once it appears in print!

Finally, there's a great article on plot vs. prose, the debate between "literary" and "genre" fiction. More on this tomorrow...

5 comments:

Charity said...

Dude! I had no idea my quote made the cut. WD contacted me a few weeks back to say they were considering it, but then I didn't hear whether it was selected.

Thanks for posting this. I might have never known.

Allie Boniface said...

Yeah, I was tickled when I saw it!! It's big too, in a box about 1/3 of a page...make sure you can get a copy, or I'll send you mine :)

Liz said...

I still haven't gotten my copy! Maybe in Monday's mail. Sigh...

Mary Ricksen said...

How true. I haven't read it since, don't think I can.
Right on with the quote Charity.

Marianne Arkins said...

Woo Hoo, C!! You're in the big time now, bay-bee...

Thanks, Allie :-)