Friday, May 02, 2008

How's That Study Month Going, Gail?

Yeah, the study month.

That's been a bit of a disappointment, mainly because I ended up getting two jobs for author appearances. One of them required revising my regular presentation for an older age group, and for the the other one I needed to create an all new presentation for littlies built around A Girl, a Boy, and a Monster Cat. The day I finished the first program, right down to making rough drafts of slides to give to Computer Guy, plans were finalized for the second job, so I had to go right back to work.

You are all aware of how slowly I work, right? I think I just about finished the second program this afternoon.

Then I kind of forgot that now's the time to be promoting A Girl, a Boy, and Three Robbers. That was kind of embarrassing.

Plus a manuscript was rejected far, far faster than I expected it to be. I thought I had a couple more months, easy, before I heard from that editor. She very generously gave me some feedback that makes me want to do some revision, though wouldn't you think doing a study month first would help with that?

I have managed to get through some of my reading this spring. Over the years, I've found writing books deadly and often useless, covering the same old generalities. But I inherited a just-like-new copy of Writing Fiction A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway and Elizabeth Stuckey-French, and after having read a number of sections, I have to say that it is the most marvelous book on writing that I have ever read. I am learning masses of stuff. Masses.

What I like about this book is that the authors really get into nitty-gritty craft. There's none of this "Go forth and write your dream" malarkey that I found in a lot of books I've run across in the past. Burroway and Stuckey-French truly deal with problems I've had as a writer. I recognize a lot of what they talk about because it's stuff I've had to do or tried to do in my own work.

That does make me wonder if I would get as much out of the book if I wasn't a somewhat experienced writer. But I am a somewhat experienced writer, so I'm loving the book. In fact, it makes me feel embarrassed about a lot of manuscripts I've mailed out to editors over the years.

But, hey, Zen tells me that those are past moments and I should live in the present ones--the present moments being ones when I should be doing much better work because I've read Writing Fiction.

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