Saturday Summation – 09 January 2016

Bits and pieces of things that caught my eye not only for my own interest, but enough to want to share with you, too…


Writing Stuff:

Whether you’re a heavy, detailed outliner or a firm one against such details, I think this suggestion by Victoria Mixon is useful all around. She suggests four specific post-it notes to keep near our writing space that will help keep us focused on the important pieces of story. Even if you write from outline, it can be easy to lose focus of the who and why behind the story as you get caught up in details and if you are looser with that outlining thing, then these post-its may be even more important to help you find your way.

I got a kick out of this teen’s post that acts as a letter to YA authors. “Do better” with teen dialogue, he says. He makes a lot of valid points, although I might argue that writing dialogue exactly like how many/most teens talk might actually drive readers crazy. There’s a balance – but if I were to attempt YA (at this point I have absolutely no plans to do so – I’ll stick to just reading it), it would be good to keep his suggestions in mind. I know I spend time on making sure any young voices in my stories stays true to age and voice.


Reading Stuff:

I confess that I don’t shop in independent bookstores very often at all. The most embarrassing reason might be that the couple that are near me are a major pain in terms of parking. I mean, there’s a reason why people shop at Amazon and why I’m willing to go to a suburban Barnes & Noble location instead. #Privilege But… this article in Salon is entirely why small bookstores… and other smaller stores are worth saving if we are able (and mostly if we are willing).

Agent Carly Watters’ reading resolution is to read fewer books this year. It sounds strange at first, but when she explains why (the desire to slow down and truly savor/appreciate each book), I like this resolution. For my part, I don’t feel a need to set a target number for my yearly reads. I don’t need it to keep me reading because, well, duh – I’m going to always keep reading. It’s what I love. If I were to set a reading goal, it would be more in the lines of what kinds of reading I would do. More non-fiction. More lesser-known authors or titles. More by authors from marginalized populations. What about you? If you have reading resolutions/goals, what are they and why did you choose them?


Other Stuff:

Because I didn’t jump seriously into the idea of publishing until I was just about 40, it would be easy for me to think that time is running out to have a satisfying publishing career – or a publishing career at all. I can’t deny that every once in a great while (specifically after a spate of rejections), I feel like there is so much longer I have to meet my goal. But really, I rarely feel this because I’m one who actually loved turning 40 and no way did I think my life was half over – instead, at least half of my life was ahead of me. Age and experience have made my writing stronger right out of the gate, so I’m with Jenny Crusie in her post, “Of Course There’s Still Time”. Check out her other examples of how old others were when accomplishing  – or even just starting – great things.

What are you willing to do to meet your goals? To meet with success (whatever your vision of success looks like)? Agent Nephele Tempest talks about this and it’s what I think about all the time as I write and work towards traditional publication. It’s one thing to say I’d love to be traditionally published, but quite another to put in the time, work, and attitude to get me there.


Song of the Week:

My husband and one of our son’s have borrowed a couple of saxophones recently and they’ve been on a kick to learn the song of the week. They pulled me in last night to unpack a long unused flute to join in. I have to say I did pretty good for the billion years ago since I last played.



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