Archive for Sanity

Writing fiction is difficult. Duh.

This Wall Street Journal post says it all: “How to Write a Great Novel.”

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Friends

champagneI’m in a writing group. We’re four serious writers. All published, and all writing regularly with an eye towards improving our craft and consistent publication.  We share our work, successes, frustrations, a lot of laughter and now and then a few tears. 

When I’m with these three women I feel like I’m home.  And when great things happen to them, they happen to me too.

There’s been plenty to celebrate lately. Elizabeth landed an agent for her kick-ass historical fiction novel (this after having a dozen plus stories accepted). Mary just found an agent for a  fantastic, tipping-point (mark my words), non-fiction book about “archetypal soulscapes.” Annie, a southernerner with a wry and wacky sense of humor has had ten poems published. She’s now in the homestretch of a novel about two sisters, their mother’s murder, a newspaper reporter with a weakness for gossip and baubles, and a voodoo doll named Lolo. Original? You bet.

I’ve been in half a dozen writing groups over the years. This one’s a keeper. Congratulations, dear friends. Thanks for keeping me honest, and writing.

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Vive La Resistance

tank2A number of years ago, my dear friend Megan Moore,  a gifted, courageous artist whose unflinching portraits bring to mind Van Gogh and Rembrandt, gave me a book. This book changed my attitude toward writing and any form of creative endeavor. It’s called The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield.

I recently dusted off my paperback copy because I was having trouble getting back into the novel I’m working on. (I took off two weeks over the holidays.)

Writing is like exercise for me–skip a few days and getting back into the groove feels impossible. The muscles are tight, the mind unwilling.

The War of Art could have just as easily been titled The Enemy Within. Pressfield, a bestselling author whose fiction books  include The Afghan Campaign and The Virtues of War, pulls no punches. Resistance (yes, a capital R) is out to get us.  It’s why so many people don’t adequately answer their “calling,” why books don’t get written, foundations don’t get founded, dream houses remain unbuilt, ideas for screenplays never see the light of the page.

Resistance is a real and unrelenting force. And if we let it, it will destroy us, or at minimum, prevent us from living fully.  The good news according to Pressfield is Resistance is directly proportional to love. “The more resistance you experience, the more important your unmanifested art/project/enterprise is to you–and the more gratification you will feel when you finally do it.”

It took me ten years to write my first book–if I’m honest,probably longer. There are lots of “reasons” for this. I started a business, had a baby, underwent psycho therapy, etc.  Life stuff.

Truth is, I was constantly battling resistance. Every frickin’ time I’d even think about writing, I’d tighten up inside; fearful I couldn’t complete the book who did I think I was what would THEY think, who said I could write anyway. Blah, blah, blah.  Out of sheer stubborness and some grace, I  persisted  and the novel was published. 

Silly me. I thought I’d won the war against Resistance. It’s still with me, always will be I suspect. I just keep putting my ass in the chair and writing.  Occassionally, I read a page from The War of Art to remind me there’s only one weapon against Resistance: Action.

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Wii Luv Lit.

bookBored with just reading on the sofa? Grossed out by the sweat dripping onto your book as you shed calories on the stairmaster?

Now you can read, exercise, and lose weight without,  well…having to read.  Introducing Bookworm for the Wii

As with all Wii games, Bookworm for the Wii lets you pick your persona (AKA avatar): short or tall, fat or skinny, dark hair or fair, green eyes or brown, with or without glasses, and/or facial hair. Next, you select the genre or author you want.  Will it be a classic before work this morning? Thriller? Romance? Chic Lit?  Mystery?  Grisham, Dickens? Steinbeck? Austen?  

Ready for the exercise part?  Easy-peasy. Simply wave the Wii remote at your TV screen to open your virtual book. As I said, you don’t have to read. Just press the forward arrow and listen, as the Wii takes you through the book faster than it takes you to read this blog post.  Kind of like an audio book, only with hand motions, and at the speed of your old LPs played at 45. Guaranteed to burn at least 100 calories.  And think how interesting you’ll be at cocktail parties.   

Next out from Nintendo: Novelists for the Wii. Invite your writer friends to your home, fire up the Wii, and see who can produce a first draft in ten minutes or less.

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Dear Editor

letter

Eye for an Eye Literary Journal

Fiction Editor

2345 Not For Us Drive

Lost Hills, CA 93249 

 

Dear Fiction Editor,

 

Thank you for your submission. I appreciate the time and consideration that went into your rejection.  I receive many rejections a month and read each one carefully. Unfortunately, yours does not meet my professional goals. 

 

As you know, fiction is a subjective enterprise, and rejection of your work reflects neither your talents as an editor nor the quality of your letter.  I have every confidence it will find a home with an appropriate writer. 

 

Sincerely yours,

 

The Writer

 

 P.S. I have enclosed information about my new ebook How to Write the Perfect Rejection Letter. I hope you will consider ordering a copy. 

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