Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ramblings from a Writer-Editor-Publisher

by Nann Dunne

I’m always searching for ways to improve my writing. Not only to make my stories stronger, but also to help the writers whose stories I edit. To me, that’s a double-barreled profit.

In this search for improvement, I got caught up in the Outlining versus Pantsing ongoing discussion, which sometimes sounds like a feud. I have to say that some outliners get my vote as being downright supercilious people who can’t see past their own experiences. They make it sound ridiculous to be a pantser. Well, let me tell you, I am a pantser, and their disdain disturbs me. At one point, the idea that outlining was so superior challenged me. I thought, I can do a story outline; I just choose not to. What’s the big deal?

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Sunday Read

By Renée Bess

     Every Sunday I greedily guard enough time to read one feature in particular of the New York Times’ “Style” section. I don’t waste more than a moment scanning the postage stamp size photos that fill the “On the Street” page or the “After Hours” section, although I’ll own my penchant for glancing at the pictures in search of revelers of color. I’ve read the Sunday New York Times since I was a teenager, and I’m happy to report that the photos in the two aforementioned pages portray much more racial diversity than they did forty years ago.
     What kept me glued to the “Styles” section then was the same feature that keeps me glued to it now, the parade of marriage and wedding announcements. During my adolescence, I’d read the blurbs and then fantasize how the text might describe my own nuptials. Don’t scoff. If you were an African-American child who grew up in an integrated neighborhood, went to racially integrated public schools, and had parents who modeled a sense of self-worth, you had the audacity to believe you were equal to the people whose wedding announcements you read every week. I used to scan some of those notices and replace the bride’s name with my own.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

How Many?

by: Mary Vermillion

My younger sister must have been in junior high when she told me how many children she wanted. Six. And bless her heart, she continued to want six until she had four. Yes, ours is a Catholic family. But in Atlantic, Iowa, even the Protestants had lots of children. My best friend, a Lutheran, was the second-to-the-youngest of six. I was the oldest of four. How many kids did I want? Zero.
When I thoughtlessly shared this desire with my mother, she said the same thing she would say to me years later when I came out to her as a lesbian: Oh, you’ll change your mind.
But I knew I wouldn’t. I knew that I’d never want kids and that this made me odd-girl-out. Mostly, I savored the role of rebel outsider, but because I was raised Catholic, sometimes I also wondered if something was wrong with me. Yet I can’t blame all my angst on the Church. Science also had a hand. When I studied evolution, I realized that I lacked a basic biological impulse. If the rest of humanity were like me, we would soon be extinct!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Slow To Get Out Of First Gear

by: S. Renée Bess

     That’s how I approach most new communication technology. The automotive allusion is a metaphor for “cautious but not stubbornly resistant.” I have the habit of reading about new gadgets, and then chatting with friends, neighbors, randomly selected store employees, total strangers, and my sister long before I make a purchase.
     My sister holds the most sway with me. Typically, when she arrives for a visit she walks into my home office, decants a few items from her workbag, and bedazzles me with a newly acquired computer the size of the back of her hand, or a new cellphone that can do everything short of fly her from Heathrow Airport to Philadelphia International. If I’m somewhat dazed and remain unconvinced that I need to own the new equipment, she’ll continue to demonstrate its usefulness and remind me how quickly the thing will allow me to compose, print, send, tweet, post and /or text my thoughts to friends, other writers, my publisher, or to her. Frequently, she does such a good sales job, that the moment she heads back to the airport for her trip home, I grab my credit card, jump into my car, and speed to the closest tech marketplace.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What Is A Book?

by Cathy Bryerose

What is a book?  The first answers that come to mind are pretty simple — it's a story, it's entertainment, it's knowledge.  A book can take us away to another place, another time.  We can learn things from a book, maybe things about ourselves when we see that glimmer of our own being staring back from the pages of a book.  An author puts their soul into telling a story or sharing an idea that has percolated in their mind for months, or sometimes years.  

They write and they edit and they rewrite and edit some more…some authors have trouble calling there work complete because there always seems to be something that they wish they had written a little differently.  I think almost everyone can agree that without the author there is nothing.  But when the author is done, is it a book?

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Sense of Place

by: Eric Gober

           When I was twenty-nine, I was accepted into the MFA program in creative writing at Wichita State University.  With high hopes, a little fear, and much sadness, I packed my Nissan pickup.  For two years, I’d lived in the small seaside town of Half Moon Bay, California.  Never in my life had I lived in such natural beauty.  White-capped waves crashed on white sandy beaches, windblown cypress crowned rugged bluffs, and poppies dotted grassy hillsides.  Warm sun relentlessly battled cool fog for control of the sky while farmers grew field after field of snapdragons, artichokes, pumpkins, and strawberries.  Amid all this beauty was a gentle loving man who’d shared his life with me, and who would remain in Half Moon Bay.
            As I drove down Main Street past Cunha’s Country Store on that sunny January morning, I fought hard not to mourn all I was leaving behind.  I instead tried to focus on what lay ahead in Wichita.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Panic of Publication

by: R.G. Emanuelle

When I first put my fingers on the keyboard to write this blog, I was in a little bit of a crash mode. I had just returned from a trip out of town (with a less-than-stellar return trip), was in a frenzy of cooking for Thanksgiving, and had the holiday itself to deal with. Tucked into this chaos were the proofs for my first novel, Twice Bitten, due out in January 2013.

I’m not sure if all the other stuff going on around me was good or bad while I did my review. See, I began going through that first-novel panic—that overwhelming desire to rewrite the entire thing because every paragraph, every scene, every chapter seems inadequate and in desperate need of eloquence. But it could also be that the stresses of travel and holidays had me on hyper-sensitivity mode. (This blog wound up getting pushed to the side and only got completed just before Christmas.)