Monday, October 31, 2011
Just when you may think I've entered the witness protection program and disappeared, here I am!
We are closing in on the deadline to register for 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing, a two session seminar to be held on Saturday, November 5 and 12, 2011 through Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University, specifically at Waccamaw Higher Education Center in Litchfield, SC from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Why only two sessions? Because you will be able to obtain a manual and all of the tools needed to continue your memoir writing project at your own pace by the end of the two sessions. To register, call 843-349-6584 and someone will be delighted to enroll you in the class. Hope to see you there!
The class manual for 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing is a project that I will be publishing in print form and as an e-book. It's on the "To Do" list, and the manuscript contains the necessary steps plus tips and hints, as well as a lengthy list of questions that you can use to interview relatives about family history or that you can use to formulate your own story. It also contains resource information and a few special stories by prior workshop attendees. Stay tuned!
Never Say Perfect:
I imagine you feel like I do sometimes. Is this manuscript ever going to be published? It's such a gripping story, and here it sits on my computer, waiting like a permanent bridesmaid and never a bride. After querying a handful of agents, I queried a "to remain nameless" (I don't want them to hate me forever) publisher a few months ago and felt strongly that this would be a perfect fit. I've heard nothing from them...not yes, not no, not maybe. Their Web site indicates that a followup e-mail is appropriate after a certain number of weeks, and we have exceeded that window.
Trying to obey the rules, I sent my followup e-mail and have yet to receive a response. Frustrated to say the least, I began searching for new resources regarding the world of publishing and found Mary DeMuth's book entitled 11 Secrets of Getting Published. I could hardly wait to begin reading it after ordering it on my Nook, and it definitely did not disappoint me.
I started with a fairly speedy read-through and then sat down with pen and paper to take some important notes. Following my second read, I am encouraged and have a new and revitalized enthusiasm for Never Say Perfect. Direct from the trenches, 11 Secrets of Getting Published provides an enlightening view of important suggestions for attempting to find a publisher. I had much more to learn than I had realized.
Honestly believing that my manuscript was as publishing-ready as could be, I felt that there was nothing more I could possibly do to improve it. It was neatly wrapped and packaged with a fancy bow. Wrong! After intently studying 11 Secrets of Getting Published, it was obvious to me that I now need to thoroughly review my manuscript to search for the basic newbie errors commonly detected by agents, editors and publishers.
For example, I'll be checking for head hopping (the book provides a clear explanation of this literary faux pas), cliches, passive verbs, weak verbs, rambling and overuse of favorite words. 11 Secrets succinctly and patiently walks the reader/budding author through examples of these writing bugaboos. And I don't think I'll ever become automatically accustomed to entering only one space following a period. Old habits are truly tough to break.
Taking Mary DeMuth's advice and applying it to Never Say Perfect can only improve my manuscript, after which I will be simultaneously querying a new batch of agents. Hopefully, at least one will see the value that the story holds for touching hearts and souls. An enormous thank you to Mary DeMuth for providing a guide that is direct, informative and not fluffy or sugar-coated. She carefully spells out what it means to struggle with being a writer, including all of the inherent challenges as well as blessings. Don't forget to visit her Web site at www.marydemuth.com to take advantage of the beneficial resources she offers. If you happen to sign up for her e-mail newsletters, you'll be truly blessed because she often begins with a word of prayer. Sometimes that prayer arrives just when I seem to need it!
Writing and Publishing-Not for those who expect instant success:
This entire year has been jam packed with frequent travel, family emergencies, blogging, professional education and a very few rounds of not my best golf. All of this has resulted in my writing projects moving ahead at turtle speed in terms of finalization. Hopefully, over the next couple of months I can dedicate enough uninterrupted time to finishing the projects that have been placed on my heart to share.
Is the writing life easy? It's rather comical actually--when I was working full time in property management and squeezing out paragraph after paragraph for Eyelash in my spare moments, I believed that if I could only write full time, accomplishing my goals would be so simple and I could be hyper-productive. What I discovered was that juggling multiple writing projects requires tremendous discipline and that every day normal life has a way of encroaching on concentration and dedication. I have also learned that I can only give my best efforts, and beyond that, it's in God's timing. As it all unfolds, may it always be to His honor and glory.
Until next time......