Saturday, June 28, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I opened my eyes and beheld one of the most spectacular sunsets I’ve seen . . .
Because of working nights, I often miss out on needed sleep. I was trying to catch up on some of that sleep the other day when my eyes popped open. It was like my mind knew what my eyes didn’t, and it showed me a beautiful sunset just outside my bedroom window.
Streaked with red and orange, and set against the dark blue of the sky, the clouds were really only wisps, but the centers held a deep purple hue. It was beautiful, and I was impressed. I watched for a moment, but I needed the sleep so I closed my eyes again.
A few moments later, curiosity opened my eyes again. By now, the colors were fading, the sun had fallen farther away, beyond the mountains. I looked again after a few minutes, and found the sun had set—the world had returned to normal.
I closed my eyes and pondered the metaphor. As writers we spend hours learning our craft. We learn about hooks and sentences, self-promotion and marketing. We often overlook the beauty that lies just before our eyes. The drama, waiting to be described and preserved in our memories, and written on the page.
Much of life is spent collecting memories, little snippets of time we can draw from to give our characters depth. How many of us trudge through our busy lives in too much of a hurry to see what lies before our eyes, if only we would open them. Like my sunset, things happen, people do things, there is beauty. If my mind hadn’t shown me what my eyes refused to see, I would have missed the sunset. Good luck in your writing and observation—see you next week.
P.S. In the comments section of my blog last week Annette Lyon said:
I take it that the Dead Authors Society doesn't include only dead authors, then? I love Ray Bradbury. It'll be a sad day when he dies, and that day can't be too far off, because he's getting up there in age.
Yes, you are right, Annette. Thanks for noting that Ray Bradbury is alive and publishing. His new book, Now And Forever, looks very interesting. Maybe I should pull Bradbury from the list of the Dead Authors Society, I included Farenheit 451 because it was required reading in High school and I weaseled my way out of reading it.
Saturday, June 14, 2008
She followed along with us and made comments on the manuscripts. I’m told she caught some things we didn’t see, but she was too shy to talk about it. I asked her how she liked critique. She said she really liked Nichole’s new book.
I’ve got to tell you I’m impressed. First that my daughter has a working knowledge of what makes good writing, and second; Nichole’s new YA fantasy holds her attention. I have told my daughter she can’t see the new Narnia movie until she reads the book first—she chooses not to—which gives you an idea of how good Nichole’s new book is going to be.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Are you part of a critique group? Several months ago I wrote about my dreams for a group that would meet once a week and help each other write correctly. After the LDStorymakers conference, I became part of one that exceeds my dreams. It’s great to get together with other writers who understand, but I discovered an added benefit I hadn’t planned on.
We patterned our group after the example we saw at the conference. The group that J. Scott Savage affectionately calls “The Ladies of Wednesday Night”. When we meet, we bring a copy of what we’re working on for each member. We mark each other’s manuscripts as the author reads it, then we discuss why we marked it.
I was editing today and discovered several places that needed changing. I knew this because members of my group have drilled it into my head. I went ahead and made the changes in my manuscript. Then I began to pore over the marked suggestions from the group, and found I had already changed most of the mistakes.
It’s obvious my group is helping me. I hear their voices when I’m writing, and I fix the bad sentence before it appears on my blog. I’m learning how to write, but more importantly, I have a group of friends who care about each other. When one of us is going through a problem, everyone is there to help.
Have you found a group yet? In our group, we have two published authors who lend experience. We have a beginner, but you’d never know it because of talent. Two of us are on the verge of greatness, and then there is me. In honor of President Hinckley and his ‘B’s, I listed a few of my own below.
Be humble—accept the fact you might be wrong. Be helpful—make helpful suggestions. Be open-minded—not everyone writes the way you do. Be quiet—don’t try to re-write their book the way you would write it. Be yourself—remember you are the only one who decides how your book is written. If you don’t agree with a suggestion, you don’t have to follow it. However, keep the first ‘B’ in mind.
Good luck in your writing—see you next week