Stepping into the forest of my mind

Stepping into the forest of my mind
Just as every journey begins with a first step, every story begins with the first word.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Writing is not a Cookie-Cutter Science

Writing is not a cookie cutter deal
Take all suggestions to your writing as just that—suggestions.  It is, after all, your writing, not someone else’s.  This is why it is important to have a trustworthy writing/reading partner, someone who’s writing style or expertise you admire. 

            After taking writing courses at the University of Pennsylvania, I have learned to think about each comment before I start ripping my plot to pieces or thinking that the way I did things is wrong and the comment is absolutely correct.  Sometimes I consider the comment for a week or two before changing the manuscript or ignoring the comment altogether. 

Don’t let anyone tell you what you should be writing.  Write what eats away at you, what needs to be said.  That's what memoir is. Your story.  No one else's.  Writing is not a cookie cutter deal.  Oh sure, there are tips and suggestions on how to organize your writing or what to include in the scene or plot.  Just look at how many books, blogs, and magazines there are on the subject.  But in the end, you need to be true to yourself and to your story.  It is what's in your heart that needs to be said that counts.

I'm like a stick stuck in the quagmire of life. I'm not likely to budge unless an editor loosens me with a legitimate view or suggestion for my manuscript.  Of course I'm not always sure that's the correct attitude to take, buy hey, it's me.  How do you handle any feedback you receive from beta readers or critique partners?

Writers know what they want to say.  Occasionally they need a fresh pair of eyes, someone they respect, to make sure what’s on the page is what’s in the writer’s mind.  Don't ever let anyone slow you down or stop you from writing.

            Two months left in my Write Your Memoir in Six Months course.  I have close to 45,600 words and three more chapters to go to have the first draft complete.  Then the revising process begins.  Wish me luck!  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Need for Objective Readers: Writing Partners

Writers helping Writers

Many times, I don’t see what’s missing from my scenes or story.  In memoir, the writer has lived through these adventures, and in most cases, can still experience these emotions.  So while I know exactly what’s going on in the scene, the reader may not.  Telling details may be missing from the manuscript.  This is where objective readers come in, a crucial part of any writing project.

            More specifics and reasons for emotions are two difficulties that I have in memoir writing.  But even in story writing, these are important issues.  The reader needs to know enough detail and reasoning to keep the story believable.  We don’t want the reader to leave the writer’s real past world of the narrator in memoir or make-believe world in fiction.

            Another important factor in memoir as in fiction is to keep the protagonist genuine for the reader to stay connected to him or her.  Yes, the protagonist needs to grow and develop throughout the manuscript, but his or her core beliefs or wit or in my case, her family-oriented lifestyle needs to show through in each chapter.

            In memoir as well as in fiction, this leads to a balance between scene and insight.  Scenes keep the story moving forward.  Insight helps the reader to know reasons for actions and emotion.  And objective readers can assist a writer in seeing any tip in the balance of the scale.  What do you think of this balance between scene and insight?

            Are you lucky enough to have a good writing/reading partner?  It’s important to have someone you trust, someone who understands your work or your genre. I have one and am truly blessed to have her input for my manuscript.

           It’s the halfway mark in my Write Your Memoir in Six Months course.  While I only wrote a little over 11,700 words for March due to family and work obligations, I have about 36,350 words altogether for the first eight chapters.  Thanks for your continued support.