Archive for May, 2009

The importance of editing

Proofreading one’s writing is essential. That’s a given. You certainly don’t want eny mistaeks to creep in unannounced, or unnoticed.

I can handle proofreading because I want a potential publisher to be looking at the content of my writing, not at all the errors I have made. Good impressions and all that.

Editing is a totally different matter. I’ve had a creative block against heavy and focused editing for years. Over the last 18 months while doing my Master of Arts in Creative Writing course I have been converted. Editing is an essential part of the creative process for every writer. Now I strive for every word to count. Is it the very best word to use? Is there a better word? Does that word, phrase or sentence convey the meaning I intended? Is the story, poem or article structured in the best way? And that’s just the start.

Editing can be tedious. It can also be very creative. Above all, it is essential.

It was therefore with amusement I came across a blog post recently called How to Edit even Goodlier. The text doesn’t say much, but the 3 videos are hilarious, especially the third one called “The The impotence of proofreading.” Brilliant stuff.

Happy editing – and good writing.

Great Works of Literature on Twitter

I’ve recently joined the ranks of those who Twitter. (Okay – you can stop laughing/ crying/ booing etc.

I find it fascinating for keeping up with family and friends (yes – I do have a few).

Earlier today I came across a link to someone who had started Tweeting the Great Works of Literature. Now, with only 140 characters to play with, there is a challenge.

Here are some I particularly like:

Samuel Beckett’s bleak play Waiting for Godot is reduced to: “Vladimir and Estragon stand next to tree and wait for Godot. Their status is not updated.”
Pride and Prejudice

janeaustin: Woman meets man called Darcy who seems horrible. He turns out to be nice really. They get together.

Bridget Jones’s Diary

helenfielding: RT @janeaustin Woman meets man called Darcy who seems horrible. He turns out to be nice really. They get together.

To read the original article, click here.

Hints on getting published

The road to getting published is a very difficult one. You need to know what you are doing, and submit the very best you can write.

Sadly though, submitting the very best of your writing is often not enough. You must take a very professional approach to the business of writing  Рand it is a business. A recent article I read gives many hints on becoming a published writer.

Good writing.

Writers and discouragement

Writing can be a very discouraging occupation at times. Much of the time actually. I went through a period of many months a few years ago when I had a string of rejections – 30 of them in a row. It almost brought me to the point of quitting.

But like my need to breathe, I need to write.

So I kept on writing and submitting stories, poems and articles. I kept posting on my blogs. Soon the income from my blogs increased and soon I started getting my writing accepted again. I’m pleased I didn’t give up. The most recent 30 submissions have seen 18 acceptances. Now that’s a better acceptance/rejection ratio.

My most recent publication success came this week with the arrival of a complementary copy of a¬† magazine which included a suite of five sonnets I had written. That’s more encouragement, and I really needed that because I’m going through a few tough health issues at present.

Never quit.

Keep on writing.

Good writing.

What I am reading: Iqbal: a novel

My supervising lecturer let me borrow several novels to read which she thought might give me some ideas and insights about writing a novel set in a troubled country. The first of these was set in Pakistan.

Iqbal: a novel written by Francesco D’Adamo is based on the real life story of Iqbal Masih. Iqbal was sold into slavery at an early age, along with many other young children. They were put to work in appalling conditions in factories. This story follows the experiences of a hardworking group of children in a carpet factory. Iqbal inspires the other children to believe that they can be free of their slavery one day, despite the harshness and cunning of their master.

I found this book to be both inspiring and disturbing. It is disturbing because it is based on a true story. It is a fictionalized account of what actually happened. Child abuse and slavery continues today in many countries. I also found it inspiring to think that totally disempowered children can still be taught to dream – and then act upon their dreams.

While this story has no direct bearing on what I will be writing about in my thesis novel, it was still a valuable piece of background reading. My protagonist, a twelve year old boy caught in the civil war in Nepal, must dare to dream of a country where freedom and peace exist, despite the evidence of conflict all around. I need to let him dream of that place. Then I will need to engineer the plot to allow that to happen.


D’Adamo, Francesco, 2001: Iqbal: a novel. Aladdin Paperbacks, New York.