Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing. Show all posts

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Journal of Life.

Do you keep a journal? Journaling is one of those things that I toy with now and then. I used to be a diary-keeper when I was a teen and young adult but life got busy with five kids and I fell out of the habit. Now, with all the writing I do I find that I have a kaleidoscopic journal that is in colorful pieces here and there. I keep a blog and journal on many of my trips. We're in the habit of making a photo book when we get home of our best pictures.

Here and there in my writing I am influenced by my grandchildren. Usually it is because they have provided a good laugh. Case in point: One night we got a 1-800-Grandma call from our oldest grandson, Tyler. It went something like this:

"Tee-hee. Grandma? Can you come and give my Daddy a spanking? Tee-hee-hee."

"A spanking? Why? What's Daddy doing?"

"Well, he's your son and he keeps teasing me."

"Yes, he's my son, but what's he doing?"

"He flipped me with his sock. And it smelled, Grandma! Tee-hee-hee."

"Tyler, is this a 1-800-Grandma call?"

"A what?"

"Never mind. But if your Daddy needs a spanking, you better call 1-800-Grandpa."

Guess I still subscribe to the just-wait-until-your-father-gets-home threat. Tee-hee-hee.

And then there was the time when Kotomi, who was about four, walked up to Cinderella at the Disney World Castle and asked, “So, where’s the prince?”

I could go on but then I’d just be taking advantage of your listening ear—or make that reading eye. The point is that these are precious memories worth noting somewhere because along the way, they are often forgotten and too soon these little people will be grown up with little people of their own. What fun to be able to share the memories of their young lives with each other and their parents who may not have the time to write it down. And what a precious treasure for the future generations.

Journals come in all sizes, shapes, and price-points. When I was younger, I used a diary with the lock that had a one-key-fit-all to open it. Then I advanced to a seventy-nine cent spiral notebook when I figured out anyone could get into the locked diary.

Whatever type of journal you may choose, a clothbound fancy parchment-papered book with a raffia ribbon or a spiral notebook, put it in a place where you will see it often and remember to record those warm fuzzy moments with grands. And even if they aren’t so fuzzy, it may help you to see them in a different light. A journal is a map of a journey. Not necessarily where you are going but where you have been. It’s nice to look back once in a while.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Editing Your Book is Like Renovating The House

The title of this post may have you wondering: How is editing a book like renovating?

Let me show you the ways: For starters, both endeavours have this in common: They are attempts to make right something that you know needs fixing. Something that is wrong, in other words.

Better, Stronger, Cleaner

People may come into your home and express admiration at things just the way they are. And maybe they're not lying. After all, the house is okay. Livable. The plumbing works. No obvious eye-sores. But, deep down inside you know that it could be better, stronger, cleaner.

If you compare your home to the one in your mind's eye, the one you WANT it to be, you know for a certainty there is work to do. Yes, it could pass muster the way it is, but you know in your heart it could do much more than that. It could shine! It could make you happy to live in it, happy to get up in the morning to another day within its walls.

Your book is similar: You may have shared it with friends and family who are in awe that you wrote a book. To them, your accomplishment is great.
But you know in your heart that it needs work. There is a tiny, nagging voice in your head about that opening, or that sorry excuse for a hook, or SOMETHING. You know what it is, and you know it could be better, stronger, cleaner.

How do you know? All you have to do is compare it with a similar work by another more polished, more experienced author.

So, what to do? Sometimes, things have to get worse before they can get better. 

Tear Down, First

Ever see a house in the midst of renovations? It's a mess! Even the simplest improvements require changing what was to make room for what can be.

Before you can paint a wall to make it shiny and bright, you have to take down all the pictures, paintings, photos or other carefully placed decorations that have gone up over time. You have to make it worse before you can make it better. You must dismantle before putting everything where it belongs.

Same goes for writing. (But this is the hard part. Destroying what you've done in the past. It's often necessary, however, to make the final work better, stronger and cleaner.)

If there's a problem because of a plot twist in chapter one that isn't working by chapter ten, you have to go back to that first chapter. Delete the darn plot twist. Change it around. Delete the whole chapter if you have to. Make it worse in order to make it better.  You know your plot and characters much better than you did way back in chapter one, and, using that new knowledge, write the thing better, stronger and cleaner. 

Writers need to be willing to take their work apart, if need be--to dismantle the thing and make a mess of it--in order to strengthen, polish and make it sing.

This should become less necessary as you mature as a writer, but every writer, newbie or seasoned pro, has to get out the red ink from time and time and be ruthless. Tolerate the chaos of messiness in order to enjoy the beauty of a well-written piece that flows seamlessly, makes sense from beginning to end, and delights the reader. 
Happy Writing!

Linore Rose Burkard writes Inspirational Romance to Warm the Soul. Find her much-acclaimed regency trilogy on Amazon or at other booksellers. She teaches writing workshops with Greater Harvest Workshops in the Cincinnati tri-state area. Linore blogs at Woman of Faith, where book giveaways are weekly events.