Friday, October 17, 2008

Paying Forward

I just finished reading Catherine Ryan Hyde's beautiful book PAY IT FORWARD. What an awesome story and great idea.

It got me thinking about writers.

Writers in general are very giving people. We give our time, our ideas, our sweat and sanity to mostly total strangers. Why do we do that?

To help humanity, of course. I know, you're saying how can a paranormal romance, or a kid's picture book, for that matter, help mankind?

The answer is simple: they simply do. We writers touch at the heartstrings, offer up hope, love, light in a world that is sometimes dark, dismal, and full of hate. We make folks smile when all they want to do is cry. And sometimes we make them cry too, in a good way. We come into readers' homes, hold their hands on dark, scary nights, and remind them they are not alone. We dip into the past and show them hundreds of possible futures. The world is a beautiful place. Sometimes we just need to see it through other people's eyes. The eyes of a writer.

That's paying it forward. I'd like to hear how authors have touched your lives.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

First round edits and chopping off heads

With great trepidation did I open the e-mail from my editor. I knew what it was. First round edits *She screams, shrieks, pulls her hair* And then she settles down and opens the darn thing.

No one likes to see her baby splattered with blood, okay it was cyber-ink, but you get the idea. But still, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see first-hand what a real live editor would do to improve my work. What an awesome idea. What a terrifying ordeal.

My editor had read my story with gusto and worked very hard to point out (in yellow and red) each and every flaw. Yikes! I don't even like to look too closely in the mirror. Again with the shrieking and hair pulling.

Once I settled down, I realized it wasn't so bad. After a couple of chapters, my fatal flaws were peeking up like venomous snakes in the grass. No, I did not repeat myself over and over. Ooops, yes I did. And why didn't I flesh out my heroine better? The hero's black moment? Where was it? How many times can one writer put the word "that" in a manuscript?

Now that my editor has turned the spotlight on those snakes, it is easy to chop their heads off and be a better writer. Isn't that the goal anyway? To be the best writer I can be?

Thank you, dear editor, for your help.
My grass is snake free. Until the next time.

Dear writers, what are your fatal flaws and how did you kill them?