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The Rich Writer

The Rich Writer: April 2009

The Rich Writer

How to Thrive on the Writer's Road

Thursday, April 30, 2009


I'm here! Well, partway here, anyways, on my way to the 2nd ever Writing Away Retreat. Currently, I'm in Albuquerque with fabulous chef and retreat hostess Cicily Janus shopping for retreat groceries. Here she is testing out rental cars for the drive to Taos:

We took great care to choose a comfy car for the retreat faculty.

On the bus ride to the airport, I finally had time to meditate on Lu's Story, the recently-finished Peru book. I intended to hand it out to my crit group before leaving home, but I don't feel settled with it. I now know why. In all the rewrites of my opening, I lost the voice.

I need to copy Robin L's example and post a sign over my desk:


I'll be working on that in the coming days....

-- Cheryl :-)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Writing tool of the week

Today, I have to come down strongly in favor of the iPhone as a tool for making blogging possible. Yes, I have to type posts with my thumbs, and yes, it takes longer than if I was sitting at my desk computer-- but when I'm sitting at my desk, I try to seize those rare moments for other kinds of writing. Like, the kind that pays.

Okay, the kind that pays in theory.

Now when I have 10 spare minutes waiting for my son to get out of school, I can return to the blogosphere.

-- Cheryl :-)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Greatness in the Details

I'm doing something new tonight--I'm at a Student Council fundraiser for my son's school. To be specific, I'm sitting on a gym floor with a few hundred kids and parents watching a family- friendly movie. There's a 25 cent ice cream bar still taking customers halfway through the movie, which is okay because as far as I can tell, no one's actually watching the movie. You can't hear it above the constant roar of kids' voices...not to mention the fact that the sound usystem keeps cutting out.

Which brings me to Meg Cabot, one of the top YA authors of our time. Does she hang out at these events? Because her writing is filled with the sort of vibrant detail best collected in person.

It can be tricky to weave details of normal life--like the happy hubbub of a school movie night--into a bigger-picture story. Sometimes those details paint the scenery against which the story takes place. Sometimes those details ARE the story.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a movie to (try) to watch....

-- Cheryl :-)

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Is there such a word? Because there ought to be. It perfectly describes my state the past few weeks. I've been hyper-absorbed in the novel rewrite half the time and hyper-absorbed in kid/school research the rest.

I don't think I'm capable of doing things in moderation! Who said "Excess in everything"? I need to give them a round of applause.

That's why I haven't been around in the blog world lately. After I pass some max amount of busy-ness, I can't seem to pull my head out of whateverr's claimed my hyperfocus (which IS a word).

Now I'm back in the "real" world, whatever that means. I'm even thinking about things besides Peru, plot structure, and character arc. I'm even (gasp!) catching up on things like blogging...altho travel in upcoming weeks might cause a few gaps.

-- Cheryl :-)

Monday, April 13, 2009

Notes to start a writer’s week…

There are many, many things to think about when revising a novel. When you read back over that first draft, you might spot any of the following that need attention:

  • voice
  • character arc
  • continuity
  • memories/flashbacks to insert
  • scenes to add/remove/tighten
  • relationship arcs
  • themes to strengthen (or give a lighter touch)
  • language
  • setting/description
  • plot structure

Need I go on. But, dear writers who are anything like me, remember these two important rules before tackling that rewrite:

  1. You can only work on one thing at a time.
  2. You finished the book, so whenever needed--celebrate!

Okay, not sure if the last is a rule—but I did finish the Peru book. So far, its temporary titles include “Peru story,” “Peru book,” “Luciana’s Story,” and “Luciana Unlimited.” None of them really work. My husband and dear first-draft reader promised to come up with a better one for me.

Back to the rewrite….

:) Cheryl


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Where is Cheryl?

I know, I know—I’ve been MIA on the blog front. That’s because I’ve given myself an ultimatum: I’m not allowed to do anything but WRITE until I finish my WIP (the Peru book), which I expected to finish two weeks ago.

Yes, that was an unrealistic expectation, in retrospect, since that would have had me finishing during Spring Break week. But I thought *surely* I would finish *last* week—not taking into account the plethora of school- and kid-related meetings we had scheduled. I also didn’t take into account the fact that I would be replotting the entire ending sequence of events. I guess that one was because I didn’t expect to replot, but there you have it.

Why do stories defy our best attempts at prediction?

Anyhow, I have a new direction and three chapters to write and, theoretically, the time to write them. Here's the word count report for March and the start of April:

3/1 – 3/7 7730 words

3/8 – 3/14 8320 words

3/15 - 3/21 1540 words

3/22 - 3/28 3070 words

3/29 - 4/4 2360 words

I didn’t meet my word count goals the past few weeks, but I’m determined to plow through to the end this week. Go, go, go!!!

Happy writing to everyone :)


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