Reblog: Getting in the Zone

 

Priscilla Bettis offers several points on how she was able to get into the “Writing” Zone.  These are helpful and may make you smile at her insight. reading glasses, prosevia Getting in the Zone

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They Weren’t as Bad as I Thought

writing editingMy read and critique group meets the third Friday of each month.  We submit our pieces by midnight on the first Friday of each month,  One of our group leaders assembles them in a PDF document and emails them to us the following Monday or Tuesday.

Depending upon whether we are in two or three groups and how many people submit pieces, we each have four to six approximately 10-page submissions to read.  The guidelines say 10 pages per month, but people submit up to 19 pages so that an entire chapter can be included.  Most of the submissions are fiction.  A few are memoirs and occasionally someone submits poetry.

This month I submitted poetry that had been posted to this blog.  Titles included The Feral Wind, Assaulting the Beaches on Christmas Day, What Book is This,   How Fast Are You?, and a few others.   In the two weeks between submitting them and having them critiqued, I wondered why I had taken the easy way out and submitted poetry.  On a few of the poems like Feral Wind and Assaulting the Beaches on Christmas Day,  I had spent some time molding the words.  Most of the others were dashed off as quickly as I could get the words typed and the mispellings corrected. (Thank you Grammarly, even if I don’t always agree with you.)

Anything can be improved.  Removing most “the”‘s from The Feral Wind really smoothed out the flow.

Original lines

The playful breeze

Tossed birds into the air

To soar with the currents

Swoop with the downdrafts

Gliding and pirouetting

Between the cliffs of the cove and the point

Where the sea cave channeled the waves through the jutting land.

Revised lines

A playful breeze

Tossed birds into the air

To soar with  currents

Swoop with  downdrafts

Gliding and pirouetting

Between  cliffs of the cove and  point

Where the sea cave channeled the waves through  jutting land.

The other poems were critiqued because of imagery (or lack thereof like How Fast Are You which is just a word play on the number of words that end in fast like breakfast or steadfast.)  The uneven cadence in some poems like Be Leaf in Yourself were highlighted with re-write.  Everyone had a differing opinion on whether a poem had some or no meaning.

People seemed surprised and liked the variety.  No one shredded the poems with criticism.  The light hearted poems were as well received as the more lyrical or highly scripted poems.  I told them I was regretting the submission of some poems.  They asked which ones.  I said I would tell them after the poems had been critiqued.  The ones I had not wanted  to include were Be Leaf in Yourself and Valentine’s Day: Day of Love,.

Take away:  Be brave.  Let your work be judged. It is often not as bad as your inner critique would have you belive. The insights of others, may just improve your work.  It improved mine.

Book Clubs and Authors Need Each Other

Sources fo book clubsAre you in a book club in need of authors?  Are you an author trying to find someone to read your book?  Is a book club a possible answer to your solution.

The American Library Association (ALA)’s Book Club Central may have some solutions for you to at least consider.  Sarah Jessica Parker (yes, the Sex in the City SJP) is the honorary chair.   She selects books each month on a variety of topics.  If  you are not into celebrities picking out your books (SJP or even Oprah), Book Club Central offers other suggestions and ideas.  From their about page:

Book Club Central is a new online resource for book clubs and readers featuring book reviews, author interviews, discussion questions and more.

One of this month’s featured essays  is “How to Keep a  Book Club Alive”. Written by Susan McBeth, founder an CEO of NovelNetwork.com, she identifies three types of bookclubs:  1) the social bookclub where getting together is more important than actually reading the book, 2) the serious bookclub where there is no point in showing up if you have not read the book, and 3) the virtual bookclub where members don’t have the time or  are unable to find physical booksclub to join.  One way to breath life into any of three types of book clubs is with an author visit.

If author visits are such a simple way to breathe new life into book clubs, why aren’t more book clubs doing so? Surprisingly, many readers are not even aware that there exists a trove of authors who are amenable to, and enthused about, visiting with book clubs. Many book clubs don’t realize that if an author does not live nearby, that a video chat is still possible. Technophobes (like me) may think that virtual chats are only for the tech savvy, when they are really quite simple to plan. And finally, it can indeed be time consuming to research and inquire of authors, or their many layers of publicists and agents, to find out whether or not they are one of the willing book chat enthusiasts?

Not surprisingly, NovelNetwork facilitates connecting authors with readers. From their mission statement:

NOVEL NETWORK® is a global space dedicated to connecting authors with avid readers, an expanded professional network, and published peers. NOVEL NETWORK® was created to help authors find more innovative ways to connect with readers and promote their books to wider audiences.

Book Club Central can also help you find a book club, lead a book club, find books for the book club, toubleshoot a book club, be a book club member, or start an online book club.  It also offers book suggestions.

Blog Spam–How Much is Too Much?

buried under paperworkNo matter how much I may like your postings (otherwise I hope I would not have subscribed to your blog), I would really like to get no more than one or two blog posts a day.  More than that is blog spam or bloglogna.

I realized that this is a personal opinion and you may feel justified in sending multiple posts a day.  You may argue that they cover different topics or they are lovely pictures that do not require much effort to zip through.  You may also rightfully say that if the topic does not appeal to the reader then just delete the post.

It takes me a few seconds to scan your blog to ascertain whether or not it is something I want to read.  On my laptop, I can just click the box in the in front of your post and delete several blogs at a time, based upon the title.  On my cellphone I need to open each one before I can delete it.  That is at least 3 keystrokes per blog for something I want to delete.  Each of those keystrokes adds up, especially if the connection is slow.  Even if I elect to recieve one mass email per day, I still have to sort through a lengthy block of posts to see which ones I may want to examine further.

Some of you, I truly wish would post more often, but there are at least 3 of you that post mulitple times almost every day.  I like many of your postings so I really don’t want to block you or remove myself from following your blog.  Please show a little consideration for those of us who like your blog, but in moderation.

 

I Write Like Cory Doctorow

I have barely heard of Cory Doctorow, but according to the I Write Like website that is who my writing resembles. From their webpage, “Any English text will do: blog post, journal entry, comment, chapter of your book, etc. For reliable results paste at least a few paragraphs.”

It was a very simple matter of cut and paste.  DC Gilbert was the blogger that introduced me to this website in his post Anne Rice…I write like Anne Rice.

From the website, “Cory Efram Doctorow (born July 17, 1971) is a Canadian-British blogger, journalist, and science fiction author who serves as co-editor of the weblog Boing Boing. He is an activist in favour of liberalising copyright laws and a proponent of the Creative Commons organization, using some of their licences for his books. Some common themes of his work include digital rights management, file sharing, and “post-scarcity” economics.”

I spent a few minutes looking at a few of his blog, Boing Boing and Cory Doctor’s Craphound.  Both are  frenetic platforms for a variety of issues that Doctorow supports and vehicles for selling his books (Craphound) and deals on tech, productivity, online courses and more (Boing Boing Store).  I appreciated the tongue in cheek humor approach in both venues.

                          All pictures of Cory Doctorow are from Creative Commons.

I submitted a second blog post and got a different result.  Go figure.  I doubt I am that verstile.

About Kurt Vonnegut

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (November 11, 1922 – April 11, 2007) was a 20th century American writer. His works such as Cat’s Cradle (1963), Slaughterhouse-Five (1969), and Breakfast of Champions (1973) blend satire, gallows humor, and science fiction. As a citizen he was a lifelong supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union and a critical leftist intellectual. He was known for his humanist beliefs and was honorary president of the American Humanist Association.

I write like
Kurt Vonnegut