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Behind the Scenes: Copyedits

I received my copyedits for Prized two weeks ago, along with marginalia from my editor.

A.Copyedits and Marginalia

We work with the Track Changes feature of Word at this point, and when I first received the manuscript, I shrank down the pages to get a general idea of how many comments I’d be dealing with (see Photo A).  The purple comments from Jill Freshney, the managing editor, have to do with formatting, so I largely ignore those. The green ones are from Suzette Costello, the copyeditor who, incidentally, also… Continue reading

Killing Them Off

My friend Jenn Hubbard recently posted about the reader-writer contract, and how a promise is delivered to a reader within the opening sentences of a novel.  It reminded me of another contract I’ve been pondering, the kids’ books one that promises not to kill off major characters.

The End of the Road

Wait.  No.  What makes me think such a promise even exists to break?   I read White’s Charlotte’s Web when I was too young to question what was happening, and while I was… Continue reading

Beauty Surrounds Me

My lunch apple today was just gorgeous, glowing and powerful, so much that I had to just stare at it before I could cut into it.  I am surrounded by beauty.

Rome Apple

Rome

I have this theory about sensory detail and reading. Since normal intake of our world reaches our brains through our five senses, if a writer can describe things clearly enough that a reader sees, smells, hears, tastes and feels them, then the words on the page have co-opted the brain.  It’s a polite form of mind… Continue reading

The Terror and the Trust of Not Outlining

I’m a seat-of-the-pantser.  I’ve done books using an outline before when I plotted out romances in ten chapters (major intimacy in Chapter 7) so I know it’s possible, but that is not how I wrote Birthmarked, and it is not working for the sequels.  The main problem is that I have to be in the scene, imagining it, in order to live where it’s going with Gaia.  Since she can’t see into the future, neither can I.  If the reader is to be surprised, I… Continue reading

Gaia’s Voice

Nan Mercado, my editor, asked me the other day how I came up with Gaia’s voice and how I developed it, and I had no idea how to answer her.  What’s strange is that I know Gaia inside and out.  I know her personality, and how she talks, acts, and thinks.  Her belongings have history.  How she perceives her world and how that changes are all part of her, too.  I know her so completely that when I wrote a little story about Gaia at… Continue reading

Learning Revising from Picasso

Postcards of Guernica

Postcards of Guernica

In the Reina Sofia Museum of Madrid, in the white-walled gallery that showcases Picasso’s Guernica, across from the masterpiece is a series of six photos Dora Maar took of the painting while it was in progress.  If you have the stubborn tenacity to thwart the crowd, you can stand in front of each photo and examine it closely, then go on to the next to see what Picasso changed and what he kept the same.  The horse rises.  The eyeball light emerges from… Continue reading