Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Update: slow progress on revisions

I had a big plan for July--Noah was going to be in school/camp every morning, so I'd have a chance to do major revisions, a couple hours a day. Alas, my plans didn't exactly work out. I did get some changes made, but also got involved in a freelance business writing gig that started just as school got out and that took up most of my available time.

Still, I got a draft out to my fiction group today, just before we leave on a two-week family trip. It might not be as far along as I'd hoped, but they always have very useful comments for me (we meet at the end of August).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The 200 Foot Garden (video from The BrooklineTAB)

This story appeared in our local paper (and on their web site) today. It's a project that's been brewing for a few months and has been a great experience (and we're just getting started). It seems far from theatre, I know, but I think it fits well into the basic framework of the things that interest me (and why they interest me).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How Books Get Sold

Agent Nathan Bransford's blog has a great guest post about the process of how books get sold from the publisher to the book stores (and become visible to you on the shelves). Check it out. Especially if you're an aspiring author, it's helpful to know how the retail side of the business works. (And why you see certain books on display at the store and not others.)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Feedback (and my fantasy life)

In my fantasy life, sessions with my fiction group would go like this:

Writer 1: Pat, I just have to say, this is the most brilliant thing I've ever read.

Writer 2: If you change a word of it, we might just have to kill you.

Writer 3: Seriously--I laughed, I cried, I called my agent and told her that she'd better sign you right away.

Writer 4: I have nothing to add. I just wish I could write something like this.

Writer 2: I mean it. Do. Not. Change. Anything.

And then I'd whip up a fantastic query, send it out, land an agent, a publishing contract and voila.

Of course, that's not really how it works. I make plenty of mistakes. I sometimes completely fail to see how a scene will be interpreted. Characters that seem clear to me, make no sense to my readers. The whole "show don't tell" thing pops up, even though I know better.

I brought the first 28 pages of the first draft of my new middle-grade novel into my group last night. They're terrific readers and good friends, and most importantly, they don't let me get away with stuff that doesn't work. They were definitely engaged by the pages, but they had lots of concerns and suggestions. My brain is now overloaded with possible changes to solve all the problems they pointed out.

Despite my wildest fantasies, I'm far from a perfect first-draft writer. Luckily, I have a good writer's group to help me work my way towards a solid (and more perfect) final draft.