Most writers know Anne Lamott because she wrote one of our most sacred documents, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life. If you haven’t gotten around to reading it, do. Just perusing a few quotes from the book will convince you that she has something to offer you as a writer, we promise.
At any rate, Anne is coming to town to promote her new book, Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair. And though this is not necessarily a writing event, we’re dropping a line about it here because it’s probably (definitely) worth it to go hear her talk and let her sign your old (or new) Bird by Bird copy. All for free.
Details below. See you there.
“Popular author Anne Lamott will be speaking at Fort Worth’s Arborlawn United Methodist Church on Thursday, November 14 at 7:00 p.m. The author will be talking about her new book, Stitches. Anne will sign books during a reception following her talk. The event is free and open to the public.” For the flyer, click here.
So, I just ripped the guts out of my first fifty pages. It needed to be done. I’d written them over two years ago and they were nowhere close to the lean, mean, fighting machine they should be. They didn’t really represent what I now have to offer as a writer.
Did it hurt? Sort of. I wasn’t as attached to some of it as I once was since I’d put distance and time between the story and me. Honestly, a lot of what I removed was just, “Look, I don’t know how to start this, so here is everything you will ever need to know about the main character and six other people whom you will have a whole book to get to know.”
And to think, I queried those pages for months before I came to the realization at the DFW Writers’ Conference that I wasn’t doing myself any favors by sending out the weakest part of my book.
So I did something that I had never considered before: I redrafted. Blank page, baby. My first fifty pages became twenty-seven. I got the same stuff done, but way less boring.
I’m not a plotter, I’m a pantser. I only knew the end of my novel once I finished it, and that allowed me to ‘fix’ the beginning. I figured out what I needed and what I didn’t. (Oh hey, a three paragraph tangent about a college the reader will never see? Yoink!)
I certainly don’t think everyone should pick at, revise, and prod their manuscripts over and over again. No, no. Onward and upward. Working on another book and taking the lessons from the previous one is what enabled me to ‘fix’ my last one.
Sure, I still have to get it to my beta readers. There is also the not-so-small matter of then sending it out to the nice agents who asked for it at the conference. But in the mean time, I’ll keep writing my new novel. And then one after that. Who knows? In two years I may look back on my super tight first fifty pages and say, “Eh…it’s not that great.”
But that’s the thing about writing, it evolves with the writer.
–Sally Hamilton, DFWWW member since 2009
We’ve sniffed out another free education opportunity, this time presented by Scriptscene RWA.
Instructor Sheila Clover English–the woman who coined the word “book trailer”–will discuss their merit on a marketing level. She’ll also talk about making your own book trailer, and once you have one, how to wield its power. And she would know, because she’s been responsible for producing over 1000 of them for the likes of Random House and similar.
The course takes place on September 17 at 6:00 p.m. via a LIVE 60-minute Blog Radio Talk session. This means in addition to being free, you can attend class in your pajamas.
For more information and registration, click here: http://www.scriptscene.org/fasttrack-classes/
A horde of DFWWW science fiction and fantasy authors attended the World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) held in San Antonio from Thursday, August 29, through Monday, September 2.
Just a few of the exciting happenings:
Member Gabe Guerrero debuted his orc cosplay character, Tarbuz, which was the hit of the con. His picture may appear in Locus Magazine, the leading trade publication for SF&F. He was also photographed by local television stations, and won a Hall Costume award.
During the Hugo’s, the biggest SF&F award, member Alley Hauldren sat in the press section representing her many blogs and other endeavors.
Many of the top tier SF&F publishers were present, as well as several major editors, literary agents, and best-selling authors. There were participants from around the world (Japan, Finland, and United Kingdom seemed to be the most numerous). The variety of panels and topics were infinitesimal. The parties went until the wee hours of the morning (the candy and snacks at the Japanese party were life altering).
Needless to say, a good time was had by all.
Can’t wait for DFWCon? How’s about another one in the meantime?
SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators) is hosting its regional conference here in the Dallas Metroplex. If you write YA, middle grade, or children’s books, look no further than Arlington (first they get the Cowboys stadium, now this…) to get some top tier education.
When: September 21, 2013
Cost: Early Registration (by Aug. 24) $165 for nonmembers
The day is full of breakout sessions and great classes. There’s even a cocktail reception in the evening which will allow you to rub shoulders with YA author Jill Alexander, Delacort Press executive editor Krista Marion, children’s book author Lin Oliver, and a Nancy Gallt Literary Agent, Marietta Zacker. Enjoy.
For readers who enjoy their fiction on the speculative side, member Kyle White‘s short story “Harmony, Chaos, and the Reign Thereof” is available in the August issue of Perihelion Science Fiction magazine.
Perihelion’s editor says, “This is very different. The entire interplay among the various non-human entities aboard ship is fascinating.”
Fascinating, indeed. Dead bodies, archnids, ants, and space. Need we say more? And as an extra bonus, it’s free to read and love.
I dialed in the local college radio station the other day as I made my way down a Texas country road. A singer with a twang crooned Baby I’m your man. For a few beats I sang along, and even allowed for the audacious fantasy of repeating those words in a honky-tonk to a big-haired, big-eyed blonde, then leading her to the dance floor. One hour of boot scooting and then five years later, we’d look back on that night with fond memories, eternally blissful in our newfound relationship.
The reality, of course, is that she’d be much more likely to empty her drink in my face or, worse yet, simply laugh and saunter away. Which is why I don’t generally go around strutting my stuff and puffing out my feathers. But as writers, this is what we need to do. We need to shout Baby I’m your writer from every mountaintop.
For some of us, this comes easy. For others, and I suspect it’s a majority of us, this is not a natural thing to do. It’s important, though. If a novel falls in the woods and nobody is there to catch it, to read it, to dig their feet in the sand, and put the book down because they don’t want it to end just yet, was it ever actually written?
Well, yes, it was written. That’s a stupid question. Of course it was written. Somebody, maybe you, spent months, maybe years, throwing words on paper, taking them off, then putting them back. Crafting a work of art. Moving characters in and out of trouble. But if nobody is ever going to know about it, why bother?
So, write, then write some more, then a little more and once you have something worth reading, get out there, on every street corner, and shout your message. Send out queries. Join a writer’s group, tell people what you’ve written, make contacts, attend conferences, hobnob with agents and editors. Talk to other writers, the ones who’ve made it and those who are still running up that hill. Use social media. Get the word out.
You’ll get knocked down. Many times. But dust yourself off, slip your spurs back on, hop back on that horse of yours, and head off into the woods, shouting Baby I’m your writer. Perseverance, my friend. It will pay off. Just make sure people have heard of you, and what you’ve written.
– John Bartell, DFWWW Member since 2009
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/alphadesigner/3462393730/”>alphadesigner</a>