Getting back into the swing of things…

Isn’t it funny how suitable things fall together? I’m starting to write/edit and today is my 200th post! Exciting hey?

Don’t know which is more exciting, but for the purposes of today, we’ll say it’s the bit about writing/editing.

So yeah… Yesterday I couldn’t stand the wait, so I took the day off and gave me a crash course on editing. The book I read, while informative, wasn’t exactly the most applicable to creative writing, making me think of a gap in the market. Any takers?

Still, I’m about halfway through and picked up quite a few things. Main one being, how edits are supposed to work.

It also gave me an idea as to a strategy for the Doorways edits.

The book (Rewrite Right by Jan Venolia) talks about two stages in editing. I’m thinking there should be three for creative writers.

First, there should be a stage for the storyline. I have strings to stretch back or pull to the end. I have scenes requiring more depth. Emotions that need to be carried further, or not quite as far. That sort of stuff. I guess that’s the revisions always referred to.

Second, we have to improve content. Refine what’s been written.

Third, copy editing or correcting language issues.

Each one should be done separately, so that will be three rounds of edits.

As I finish chapters, I’ll let other people read them and point out whatever I’ve missed. When I’m done with round three, I’ll repeat, using the crit partner opinions.

After another three (hopefully shorter) rounds, I’ll do the print-out and hand read. Likely another two rounds.

Finally, I’ll be handing over to beta readers and polishing my WiP.

Hopefully after about 15 editing rounds, my book should be in a shape to send off into the big, wide world.

So that’s the plan for now. It’s likely to change as I work, but I felt a little better knowing that I have a strategy.

Anyone have any tips for me? This is new waters for me, so any advice will be most appreciated.

Acting for Writers

Good morning, blogosphere! My name is Laura M. Campbell, a mystery writer from Bucks County, PA. Today, the topic of my guest blog focuses on an acting technique you can employ to improve your writing. 
Let me start off by thanking Misha for allowing me to share the knowledge I acquired from the Pennwriters Conference in Pittsburgh here at My First Book blog.
Pennwriters, my first conference, forever changed me. The community between the authors, speakers and aspiring writers made for an exhilarating and inspirational experience. I absorbed everything possible during the three days and gladly share it with you. If anything catches your interest, please check out the links below.  
Under the tutelage of Kathleen George, published author and theatre professor at the University of Pittsburgh, and Kathryn Miller Haines, actor, mystery writer and award-winning playwright, I learned several acting techniques to enrich my writing to bring a more realistic reading experience to my stories.
Kathleen and Kathryn encouraged the seminar group to pull from our memories, similar to method acting, to create realistic character and scene portrayals to evoke the reader’s emotions and increase their investment in the story. I’m sure most of you do this already, so I won’t waste time explaining.
What I would like to dive into is Cross Purpose Improv. This technique put character interaction into perspective for me. On stage, two actors are separately given back-story and a goal they must accomplish in the scene for their character. Although the back-story is similar, each character interprets their status quo differently, creating two different goals. Accomplishing the goal, whether through dialogue and/or action, becomes the obstacle or conflict.  
Moving from the stage to the page, the reader is aware of both sides about to play out while the characters enter the scene unaware. Tension builds between the characters through the reader. The suspense builds while the characters attempt to reach their goals in the scene.
What’s the end result?
The reader continues on to discover which character reigns victorious. Depending on the characters method of reaching their goal, the Cross Purpose Improv technique can bring high drama or comedy to the story. Either way, your reader is hooked. Quality entertainment and enthralling reading experience is accomplished.
Looking back over your stories and novels, do you know any character interactions that could benefit from this acting technique? Or do you already employ it?
Interested in other seminars from the Pennwriters Conference? Check out these blogs:
Laura M. Campbell @ Writing Unleashed 
Alex @ Magpie Writes 

I’m a writer because…

I’m a little late today. Went to a brunch that stretched into the afternoon and only came back now. Still, it was lots of fun to get out of the house. 

Anyway, I’ve only read the introduction to the first book on writing so far and it made me think about what it is that makes us writers. For me it’s more than just writing every day. 

For me, writing forms a significant part of my identity. I am many things, but being a writer comes in chief among those things. 

I write even though it’s not always fun. Because it goes beyond that for me. It isn’t a hobby. For me, writing is something I need to do as regularly as I am able to, because it keeps me going in the most difficult of times. It’s a passion.   

Even when I’m nowhere close to a notebook or computer, I am writing. There are characters to get to know. Story lines to consider. So many little aspects that form the whole that gets onto the page eventually. Most of that doesn’t even feel like thinking. It doesn’t feel like work. To me it feels completely natural. In fact, I think I’d be uncomfortable if my mind completely stopped thinking about stories. It’s an obsession. 

So I’m a writer, because not writing would slowly drive me insane. 

Why do you write? What makes you a writer? 

Just a reminder that I’m looking for more guest posters for Fridays. Please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com for more information and/or to book a spot.

Blog Day: Reciprocity and Building Relationships

Just a reminder that I’m looking for people to fill GPF slots. Please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com for more information and to book.

Today might be the last blog day for now as I don’t think that people are enjoying the series or finding it that interesting. So today I’ll bring up something that’s really important to me.

Have you noticed that people on the blogosphere follow back? So a great way to get followers is to hit as many blogs as possible and follow them.

But what does the number of followers mean when none of them actually care who you are? Or if those people following doesn’t mean anything to you? Well… not much, really. There’s a whole community of bloggers out there who would love to get to know you. But like real life, friendships and relationships go both ways. If you do nothing, the relationship won’t grow. Simple as that.

Expecting people to comment on your blog while you do nothing is like expecting friends to call you while you never do.

And when you comment, show people you care. Writing comments that show that you’re trying to ramble something off on the way to the next blog, or comments that show that you didn’t even bother to read the post are worse than not commenting at all. So if you comment, make it mean something. If you can’t, skip out and come back on another post. Lots less damaging.

But don’t ever think that never commenting is a good idea. Have you ever opened your blog and saw that your posts drew zero comments? Doesn’t feel good, does it? Notice how great it feels to get lots of comments?

Well, then, don’t you think it would be nice of you to be the first to comment? And if you’re not the first, be the person that helps the blogger in question on their way to 20, 30 or a hundred comments.

Every comment counts to your relationship with other bloggers. So get yourself heard.

Anyone else love comments as much as I do? How do you go about commenting on people’s blogs?

My month off is nearing its end…

Hi all! I just want to check if anyone is interested in guest posting on the Fridays after June. The dates are wide open, but no-one seems to be biting. I’d love to have some more guests, so if you want to write a guest post about anything related to writing and/or the literary world, plug your book, anything, please follow my blog and let me know that you’re interested in booking a slot. My e-mail address is mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT) com.

So yeah… I am about to enter the last week before my break from writing is over and, while it was lots of fun to do nothing for a while, I’m now starting to feel the stirrings of that old, annoying niggle.

I’m bored.

Very bored. My mind has already started working on new ideas as well as for ways to improve Doorways. Now my hands are itching to get back to writing.

To me that means that now is a good time to do nothing.

Yep, you heard me. Nothing. It’s just stirring. I don’t care for stirrings. They wane and fade almost as soon as I start to address them.

No, I want to feel a rush when I touch my work. I want to feel that I can’t wait until I spend some time on ideas both old and new. So… more word fasting for me, at least until the end of the month.

In the mean time I’ve picked up two writing books, one about writing in general, the other about revising. I’m thinking about starting in on the latter. After all, Doorways is my priority.

So that’s me, feeling the urge to return to my writing, but resisting and distracting myself with other shiny things.

What are you up to? How’s your writing going? Have you ever taken a break after finishing a draft?

Also, I’d love to know if you guys want for me to share some of the things I learned from the two books I mentioned?

Dying to know.

A Room of My Own

Today, I want to introduce you to one of my new(er) bloggy friends, Francesca. I always head over to her blog for a refreshing look at another writer’s life. What can I say? I’m a bit of a voyeur. ;-P

Take it away, Francesca.  

A Room of My Own

I dream of a large desk in a clean, sunny room. The French doors are ajar, and a gentle breeze stirs the long white curtains. Outside there is a garden without weeds, and lots of lavender in bloom. Somewhere else in the house, someone is playing the piano. There is a glass of very cold Pinot Grigio next to me, and I sit at the desk, elegant and calm in white linen, and I write.

When Virginia Woolf writes about the room of her own that a creative woman needs, this is the image that comes to my mind. An extravagantly separate, magical space. No laundry in sight. No piles of bills, No dust. No inconvenient children and their times-tables or abandoned half-empty cups of juice. This imaginary space is a blank slate, and I alone am the writing on the wall.

It is utter fantasy. Even if I had such a room, within minutes, I would have spilled the wine down my front, or thrown a half-finished Friday crossword on the floor in frustration. Bees would fly in through the half-open doors and dive bomb my spilled wine. The piano-player would get fed up with Chopin and start banging out Chopsticks. I would remember something I absolutely had to do. Or I would need the bathroom. Or coffee.

Point is, there’s no perfect space and time to write. Waiting for that space – either physical or mental – is futile. You write in the moments between making peanut butter sandwiches and googling Uglydolls. You daydream while driving to the supermarket, and maybe catch the tail of a really yummy new idea. You call writing twenty words success, if that’s all there was time for. Twenty words is something. It’s not waiting. It’s doing.

As I write this, my eight-year-old daughter has crawled into bed beside me. “I won’t talk to you,” she says. But she is wiggling around like, well, like a child in her parent’s bed, and it’s distracting as hell. But I’m still writing. I am so tired my eyes feel like frying meatballs. And I’m still writing. Earlier tonight, I watched the episode of Doctor Who that Neil Gaiman wrote and felt inadequate as a wordsmith and storyteller, and jealous that I will in all likely never get to write an episode of Doctor Who. And I’m still writing.

No desk. No lavender. No white linen. Lukewarm tea and sheets that could probably stand to go into the washer. Yet, I dream of a large desk in a clean, sunny room, and know that I carry that room with me. It is my permission to write, And it is all my own.

Thank you for such a lovely post Francesca! 

If you are interested in a Guest Post Friday slot, all you need to do is follow my blog and send me a post related to writing, books or the literary world. From July, all Fridays are open, so contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com if you are interested. I can’t wait to hear from you! 

Today, we have a winner!

Before I announce the winner, I just want to apologize for my inactivity lately. I’ve been busy with the rest of my life this week, so I haven’t been able to visit any blogs. Including those of the people that commented on mine. I feel terrible about that, but right now, the other aspects of my life take precedence. I will get back to visiting blogs on Monday.

Ok then… on to the point of today’s post.


And the winner is:


Robin Ingle!

Congrats, Robin, please contact me at mishagericke(AT)gmail(DOT)com as soon as you can to claim your prize.