Is editing the most time-consuming part of fiction writing?

Issac Azimov once said that he learned to write when writers were paid pennies a page, so he learned to write the finished product as his first draft as a way to same time and earn more money.

I do the same thing but it took a long time to learn how to say what I want to say with nothing extra thrown in that’ll be removed or changed later.

And I struggled with the necessary self-discipline to accomplish such a task. How to ignore all those little voices in the back of my head telling me to take this or that side trip because it’s ‘calling to me.’

It worked for Azimov and it works for me. I do very little editing and neither did he.

However, every writer is different and every writing process differs from every other writing process and many, many writers would produce inferior products if they used that same self-disciplined method because their best work comes when they take all those creative side trips that I don’t allow myself to take and when they simply let the words spill out however they wish.

Such writers say their best work happens when they don’t use self-discipline. But they do a lot of re-writing and editing.

A lot!!!

What’s the importance of making story writing a hobby?

When I first started writing as a career, I found that I ‘wrote out’ a lot of things from my past. Okay, I’ve had an easy, comfortable life but, like with everyone, there were a few things that were best gotten rid of mentally. And those memories made great stories.

Then I became a pro and learned that part of being a pro is mentoring new writers and that’s when I learned that what I’d done in the beginning is the norm and is done so much that I now (privately!) call the first part of any writer’s professional journey the ‘cathartic’ phase of their career. And those memories make great stories.

I can’t count the times I’ve read stuff by a new/emerging writer that was based on their life and that was something they had to get out of their system before going on to other subjects. And some of the best writers in history never made the transition. Think Sinclair Lewis and other American writers of that same period. And they were great stories.

The thing is, I’ve seen the same thing happen among people who enjoy writing as a hobby with no intention of ever becoming pros. Because everyone has something to write about that’s based on their life.

Because writing is cathartic. And healing. And even if you had a wonderful life, remembering all that stuff from your past is also fun. And makes great stories even if you are the only person to read those stories.

And when that cathartic phase of your writing journey is completed and you are ready to go beyond your own past and present, stretching your imagination and letting it soar is fun! And makes for great stories even if you are the only person who ever reads them.

Berries are berry confusing

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As a writer, I know words are important. I also know that language evolves and words change. Still — shouldn’t a berry be a berry? No matter the year, the century, the country or the language, shouldn’t a person be confident knowing that something labled ‘berry’ is actually what the label says?

Nope! Doesn’t happen!

Avacados are technically berries. When I read that, I couldn’t believe it. I looked it up. Then I looked up the definition of a berry. And that’s when I learned that everything I thought I knew about berries was wrong.

According to the scientific definition, a berry is a single, round fleshy fruit with a seed or seeds that’s produced from a single ovary.

So — grapes are berries. So are tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and bananas.

What are NOT berries? Strawberries. Raspberries. Blackberries. Mulberries. In spite of their names, none of them are technically berries.

How did things get so screwed up? Who named everything, anyway? And why didn’t they check (like I did) before getting carried away and coming up with names that were all wrong?

Oh me, oh my! My life will never be the same.

After all, I’m a writer and words are the coin of my business and I just learned that some of those words are — well — wrong.

I’ll bet whoever named those non-berries wasn’t a writer.

 

10 facts about you that will make you laugh. Guaranteed.

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I saw this list of facts on a minion site and laughed myself silly:

1.You are reading this right now.

2.You realize that is a stupid fact.

4. You didn’t notice that I skipped three.

5. You’re checking now.

6. You’re smiling.

7. You’re reading this even though it’s stupid.

9. You didn’t realize I skipped eight.

10. You’re checking and smiling again because of how you fell for it again.

11.  You’re enjoying this.

12. You forgot there are only supposed to be ten facts.

If you aren’t laughing now and you are normal, you are at least smiling and everyone knows that a smile is the forerunner to laughter!

Does writing exhaust or energize you? What are some common traps for aspiring writers?

 

Traps for new writers? They are all mental:

  • Thinking you’re not good enough, which is a trap because writing is a craft that, like every other craft, can be learned.
  • Thinking that your writing is good enough ‘as is’ and falling in love with your own work to the point that you’re not willing to change a single word. Or sentence. Or paragraph. I can’t count the number of times I’ve mentored a new writer whose work would have been wonderful — and more than up to publishing standards — IF they’d have been willing to rearrange or eliminate a few words. Okay, a LOT of words. Because new writers tend to use way more words than are necessary!
  • Thinking that you just write what you want to write and it will be published and read by interested readers. Wrong! Publishers — and readers — want to be able to find what they are looking for easily and that means looking in familiar categories for something that they will like. So if what you write falls easily into some genre — any genre — you’re good to go. If not, you’ll struggle to find readers.
  • I’m sure there are many more but those are the ones that come immediately to mind.

Words are Weird

Words are weird. Take the word periwinkle. It can mean at least four different things: 1) the color lavender-blue, 2) a flower that is lavender-blue, 3) a spiral-shelled mollusk, AND 4) to pry or drag something out from somewhere. So… you could periwinkle a periwinkle in a field of periwinkle-colored periwinkles.

And you thought writing was easy. I suggest you never write a story about periwinkles.

Now how about checking out my newest book. It’s number 2 in the Johns Falls clean small-town romance series and it’s titled A Very Black Cat because, as many of you know, one of the main characters is a small, black cat that may — or may not — be a familiar, a witch’s cat. Which do you think? (Hint — it’s a nice small-town romance but that’s no guarantee that strange things don’t happen in Johns Falls.)

In fact, wait for my next series of Johns Falls romances. I will call it a different series about the same town simply because these future books will be different. Not quite so lighthearted though still clean and wholesome because that’s what I write the most.

And Thursday, April 12, 2018 I’ll be a guest on Jo Huddleston’s blog so stop by and say ‘hi.’ I plan on dropping by myself every so often to see how things are going and answer any questions — and maybe ask a few myself.

http://www.johuddleston.com/p/blog-page_2.html