I’m still plugging away at revising the novella about Agata and her unfortunate misfortunes on a merchant’s wagon train, though despite a horrible headache that’s lasted for going on three days, now, I also have tomorrow’s story up and scheduled. Hopefully, my brain stops stabbing my eyes long enough for me to make sure that is fit to post on time tomorrow morning.
In the spirit of Workshop Wednesday, though, I’m linking to one of my two favourite books about editing, Elizabeth Lyon’s Manuscript Makeover. I’ve ditched most of my editing books (my desk has this, The First Five Pages, and Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition on it) but this one survived the purge. It may not be the be-all-end-all tome of manuscript perfecting, but she spends a good amount of time not just discussing editing (which I define as correcting mistakes) and refining (which is taking something that may be adequate and making it good, or taking something that’s already good but making it good in a way that appeals to you, your readers, and your cat. Highly recommended.
Here’s a post from Bare Knuckle Writer that’s a little closer to the usual meaning of Workshop Wednesday. Not only does she have some good ideas, her writing style is, shall we say, blunt, pointed, and quite enjoyable. This doesn’t offer any advice on escaping writer’s block, but it is encouraging.
Yet Another Reason Writer’s Block is Fucking Bullshit
Beyond just having a good handle on HTML and CSS (even if you’re entirely using a third-party design from WordPress or another blogging site, it’s nice to customise) some of us like to take a little more control. One forum I go to on reddit is the amazing “www.reddit.com/r/learnprogramming” one, and their hypercritical (that’s a good thing) denizens recently put up a link to a new Web Development Curriculum. I spent this morning poking around a little bit of it, and it’s quite well laid out. If you have any kind of interest in doing something with your site besides dragging, clicking, and activating, take a look at it.
The Odin Project
It’s not exactly the kind of editing I usually talk about on Wednesday, but one thing writers often forget to take care of is their online presence. And I know from bitter (and yet occasionally amusing) experience, the only thing worse than no blog is either a crappy blog or one that is never updated. Today, I’m going to link to some articles about blog editing, themes, and other fun things we can do to get our name out there without buying an hour-long infomercial on public access TV.
First up: From the early theme adopters at WordPress, here is a new theme which seems promising. I think it may be too focused on pictures to serve this blog, but I really like the way it feels. Check it out.
Early Theme Adopters: Sorbet
This might be more in line with yesterday’s topic, but this is a great article on how to survive NaNoWriMo when all of your writing support group seems to be doing it. If you want more of the same, check out Charlotte Cuevas’s excellent article on the same subject. Honestly, that might have been what pushed me over the edge from ‘Thinking about not doing it and feeling guilty’ to ‘Not doing it and still being productive.’
Popcorn and Rubber-Necking
Today I’m posting information about workshopping and editing writing. Around about the time I finished my fourth full-length novel (okay, the first was just over 60,000 words but I called it a novel, anyway) I realised that I should probably actually start editing them. That is easily the part of writing that I have the most trouble with, and I don’t think I’m alone. So, I’m posting this story, a surreal fantasy story about an American (well, a USAnian) as an experiment in workshopping. Read it. Tear it apart. Help me make it better.
And it’s not just me who will be posting here. If you have something that you think is decent but just can’t seem to push over that final-draft finish line, send it to me and we’ll put it up. Maybe we can make this space an informal writing group. While every writer is different, I don’t think I’m alone in having issues with editing my own work… but I can edit other people’s work alright. I’m curious to see what the rest of you are working on, too.
Perdido: Un Sueño
No, I’m not talking about what my parents did years ago. This is an article by Kathleen Hale about how she realistically created a socially awkward character for her upcoming novel without falling into either the “I’m a loner, Dottie, a Rebel” or the Manic Pixie Dreamgirl stereotypes. Not only does she start with a good write-up, the excerpt follows along with her suggestions… not always the case when writers write a ‘how-to.’ Also, I’m curious to read the rest of the book, now.