Friday, January 28, 2011

Topic: Finding Time to Write

Question: What are some tips on how to find the time to write?

Answer: Of all the tips the author gives, I noted this one, especially: “Don’t research during ‘prime time.’ Don’t ever cease the flow of your writing to stop and research. Research during nonwriting times.”

Title: “Making Time to Write.” Cheryl Bolen. The Writer (December 2010), 26-27.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Topic: Reading Like a Writer

Question: How does one “read like a writer”?

Answer: “When you find something you like to read, don’t content yourself by saying, ‘I like this.’ When you find something that you actively dislike, don’t content yourself by saying, ‘I hate this.’ You ask yourself, ‘How is this made? What is the ratio of abstract to concrete language? Is the diction Latinate or is it colloquial? What is the ;point of view? …. What tense does the author turn to? What is the basic rhythm? Is this author's writing mostly iambic lines or trochaic lines? Does the author use fragments?’

“You have to work very specifically, using the writing that you like and the writing that you don’t like. Ask yourself how it’s made, because then you can use that technical information to teach yourself how to write the way you want to write. That advice has helped me a lot. Books are our best teachers, and they’re everywhere.”

Title: “Aiming for the Universal.” Interview with A Manette Ansay by Elfrieda Abbe. The Writer (December 2010), 22-25.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Topic: Query

Question: What should every query letter have?

Answer: Susan Shapiro: “Your query should describe why you are uniquely qualified to write the piece and why the publication’s readers will be interested in it.”

Title: “The fine Art of Pitching.” Jeff Reich (Editor). The Writer (December 2010), 6.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Topic: Interviews

Question: What are some useful tips on interviewing?

Answer: “Lean toward the other person to convey interest and enjoyment.” “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” “Suspend judgment. Never assume you know how someone feels.” “Take notes…but don’t let your note taking get in the way of the interview.” “Maintain eye contact.” “Be aware of the interviewee’s time constraint.” “Follow up: If I need additional information, is it best to contact you by phone or e-mail?”

Title: “Learn Interview Tips from a Therapist.” Dave Stefan. The Writer (October 2009), 10-11.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Topic: Writing--a Painful Process

Question: How Do You Feel about Writing?

Answer: “I’m one of those writers for whom writing doesn’t come easy. For me, the process of knitting together words and sentences into a coherent, meaningful, readable whole is fraught with missteps, detours and plenty of frustration. And yet I keep at it, and the finished work—written just for me, at this point—is worth the effort. It’s a compulsion that’s hard to explain to others, but there it is.”

“But for the rest of us, writing is often a struggle—albeit one we take on gladly. …cites George Orwell, who famously compared writing to ‘a long bout of some painful illness.’ Tom Wolfe once remarked, ‘I do find writing a very painful process—I never understand writers who say it’s enjoyable.’ And I’ve always liked the line by Katherine Anne Porter: ‘Oh God! How I have to beat myself over the head to get started every morning.’ But what literary riches these writers have left us.” Jeff Reich, Editor of The Writer.

Comment: When I feel I have written well, I have a sense of enjoyment. However, while I’m writing, I find it pure pain. When I read something I have published and find mistakes, I feel pain. Poring over finished work to proofread a 534-page book, once, twice, three times, I feel pain I’m with those who feel that writing is a painful experience. RayS.

Title: “What Drives our Writing?” Jeff Reich, editor. The Writer (October 2009), 6.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Topic: A Good Story

Question: What are the characteristics of a good story?

Answer: “Make no mistake: great writing is secondary. Because if the reader doesn’t want to know what happens next, who cares how well it’s written?”

Title: “The Love of a Good Story.” Robin Garland interview with Lisa Cron. The Writer (January 2011), 34-35; 55.