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.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Write Game's Blog Hop!

Hello and welcome everyone, to Adventures in Writing.  Thank you so much for visiting.  I hope you find my blog helpful and interesting.

I'm trying
 C. Lee McKenzie's blog hop for the first time and hope I do it correctly.  I decided to look at two famous quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt because I think they can be of use to writers.  

Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”  

Sometimes when writers send their manuscripts out for critique or to be published, they can feel inferior when they receive negative comments or rejection letters.  

Notice I didn't say I feel crushed, although sometimes I do.  I try to rise above a feeling of inferiority to allow the comments or rejection to sink in, to notice if the comments pertain to the story I'm trying to tell, to see what revision needs to be accomplished to move from the rejection pile into the publishable pile.   

Another nugget of wisdom I've gleaned from Eleanor was to “Do one thing every day that scares you.”  

Okay, so maybe I can't do something scary every day, but maybe most days I try to stretch out of myself and submit my manuscripts, hoping not to feel inferior if negative comments come in.  I try to learn from every instance.

Do I succeed?  ...Mmmm, sometimes.  

But this leads to my own personal quote for writers:

Don’t let a blizzard of activity keep you from writing.
The things I do to be alone to write.
I got all the way out to the chairs
 and forgot my computer. Can you believe it?

Fellow writers, this means cast out your manuscript into the sea of publishing to see if you can catch a contract.

All the best, in 2016!

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Monday, February 8, 2016

Synopsis Mini Course Part 2
Surviving critique and revision in writing is
as tough as backpacking the
Appalachian Trail.  But it can be done!
Okay.  My revised synopsis critique came back. 

I don’t know about you, but I’m beginning to hate question words.  You know the type.  Why did you do that?  How did this make you feel?  When did this happen?  What exactly do you mean by that?  What finally made you decide?  Where’s the trigger?  Why now? 

Why, why, why?  How, how, how?  I feel like I’m in therapy.  She’s worse than my children with all her questions.  It seemed like everything I wrote wasn’t specific enough for this editor.  

All these details are supposed to be in the synopsis? 

There are mountains of messages in my margins.

She picked on my phrasing:
            This is too formal.
            What happened to your humorous voice?

She unpacked my factual sentences:
            Clip some facts here.
            Sprinkle some other facts throughout the synopsis.  

She tried to get me to move from the general to the specific:
            Why is this important?
            What’s the bigger picture here?
             Comment on your experiences.
She poo-pooed my maxim: 
What is this statement tied to?  It feels random -
            I’d said, “Opportunity changes lives.”  [I thought it was one of my themes.]

This seems like a stretched reference:
            No person is an island.  [Okay…it is…but doesn’t it sound cool?]

Transition lines were missing.  So were some explanations.  I’m supposed to step back and reflect—even in the synopsis.  Then some of my reflections are too abstract, and others need to be more specific to me.  

Pick!  Poke!  Shred! 
…Boy, is she good.    

She helped me put my voice back into the synopsis.  I had changed some of the language, and even I thought it sounded too stilted.  I thought I needed to sound educated.  Obviously there’s a huge difference between educated and my particular voice.

I reminded myself that I asked for this carnage.  Unfortunately, it still stings.  But it’s the only way for the manuscript to get better.  For a writer to learn of her weaknesses.  To see what she can no longer see for herself in the manuscript story.  Don’t you think so?

As I sit here licking my synopsis wounds, crying into my teacup, I berate myself to get over it and send the entire manuscript in for a formal undressing if only to see what’s worth saving, what should be expanded upon.  This is my college journey, a ten-year ordeal.  Let’s not make the writing of it also a ten-year ordeal, Victoria.    

Thanks for listening.  Your insight is invaluable to me.  Feel free to share any experiences you have or to offer any tips.  Thank you!