Mechanics What is writing like?

What is writing like?

Roger Cohen wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times about Israel a couple of weeks ago.  He began by quoting a novelist.  The quote is perhaps the best commentary I’ve seen on the process of writing.  He said: “(Writing) is like reconstructing the whole of Paris from Lego bricks. It’s about three-quarters-of-a-million small …

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Mechanics Soar like an eagle, but don’t forget typography

Soar like an eagle, but don’t forget typography

I have an exasperating problem. Here I am writing (rewriting, actually) an exciting novel, capturing great thoughts, basting it in the oral tradition, riding high. Except the quote marks keep coming out wrong. There are two kinds of quote marks: straight up and down (like a typewriter) and curly. As the Chicago Manual of Style …

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Mechanics Editing And Playing Tennis Solo

Editing And Playing Tennis Solo

I believe there is a version of the 5-stage Kübler-Ross model of grief related to editing: Denial/Surprise/High Dudgeon/Fascination/Damn, I’m glad I did it. I’ve often been told that every writer needs an editor. Of course, my grammar and syntax are impeccable, so that admonition was easy to ignore. Pay for advice that I surely didn’t …

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Mechanics Critiquing: Electronic or Paper?

Critiquing: Electronic or Paper?

My writing has been enriched by my friends in writing groups.  I’m in three groups, and I think I see a trend toward electronic critiquing.  Two of the groups use MeetUp, which allows us to post files in advance of a face-to-face meeting.  The standard way of critiquing is to download and print the file, …

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Writing First Draft Finished

First Draft Finished

Finished the first draft of Skins and Bone. Now on to the dread rewrite. This time, I’m going to be a little better organized than I was for Hack the Yak. This time, I have 120+ critiques. Better yet, this time I have the mistakes I made before. I hope the new ones (mistakes, that …

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Mechanics Rewriting, Editing, R.U.E. and the two-by-four

Rewriting, Editing, R.U.E. and the two-by-four

About a week ago, I reblogged (yecch … are we brutalizing the language or just being creative?) — I reblogged a list of books on writing from Carly Watters.  I noticed one I wasn’t familiar with, Self-Editing for Fiction Writers (Renni Browne and Dave King).  It promised to speak to the challenge just ahead for …

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Mechanics Ten Rules For Writing

Ten Rules For Writing

Important rules, with thanks to my friends at Writers Alliance of Gainesville: 1.  Avoid Alliteration.  Always. 2.  Prepositions are not words to end sentences with. 3.  Avoid clichés like the plague. 4.  Comparisons are as bad as clichés. 5.  Be more or less specific. 6.  Writers should never generalize. Seven:  Be consistent. 8.  Don’t be …

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Fiction The Pilgrim’s Progress

The Pilgrim’s Progress

When I started out writing Hack the Yak, I didn’t think about genre, length or plot.  Just an interesting story.  The characters pretty much wrote the plot as they developed.  I ended up with 127,000 words, a main plot, two subplots, and a trip through the country where the blues music I love came from.  …

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Mechanics PROOFREAD!


One thing all writing instruction seems to have in common is the injunction to PROOFREAD.  The world is harsh … don’t add to your burden by making foolish typos, and certainly, in this day and age of electronic spell check, never misspell a word. Now, I have to admit, I’m a hell of a speller.  …

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