Hi Ho, Hi Ho...

9:45 AM Elizabeth Seckman 26 Comments

Goofy is in the genes!

This is my baby boy, Conner.

And this picture has little to do with this post other than #1. I don't want sued, so I'm drawing from my own archives #2. This is a post about Conner, just not his sensational fashion sense!!

Last night Conner had a short story due for his 7th grade class. I was typing up his rough draft and I had to call him into the room...his ending was flat...some of his action in the story didn't flow...and he needed to take a look at how to do the dialogue tags.

(No, this isn't a post about how it stinks to have a writer for a mom!)

Poor Conner. He got that look that I've seen a hundred times in the mirror...THERE ARE THAT MANY FLAWS?! I SUCK!!!


Fortunately, Mom gets it. I remember too well the feeling that if my words didn't fall into perfect harmony on the first draft, then I must be a failure. I asked him...how many times have I rewritten my current novel? He had no clue, so I provided him the answer...countless times. Then I showed him a page of edits sent that day from my sweet friend Celeste...Conner was wowed by the profuse mistakes and amused by her note in the margin..."Are you anti-period today? What's with all the commas?" (She was reading a piece I was working into the story...one I wrote in a burst...you know the kind of frenzy where you don't need no stinking grammar or it's rules???!!!)

I've said it before, I'll say it again...writing is work. Don't pamper the muse; build his muscles!

And how do you get a chubby muse in shape?
1. Read good books. Something makes a best seller popular. Read it and figure out why it's being given the love.
2. Read bad books. Those one star stories offer a world of understanding. I've learned a lot by reading books that people don't like.
3. Read books and articles on craft. There are so many good books available! I can't recommend Stephen King's "On Writing" enough.
4. Read books on self-editing. Learn the rules! Then tinker around and break them!
5. Read for other writers. Helping them edit and brainstorm helps develop skills.
6. Study dialogue. Listen to people talk. Listen to the dialogue in movies and on TV.
7. Read your work out loud. If you stumble over a sentence or a passage...the reader probably will too. Fix it.
8. Stop bogging yourself down on artistic prose on a first draft. Just like building a house...worry about the foundation before painting the walls. Story first. You have nothing for your little muse to live in if you have no walls or a roof!
9.  Let your baby, or your WIP get "cold" before you determine how hot it is. You need a bit of objectivity, and time is the best way to achieve it. Just like those outfits you were so thrilled with in your youth...time reveals flaws.
10. Listen and learn from constructive criticism with an open ear.
11.Run from bitter, frustrated writers who flog the muse. Neither of you deserve that.

What's your favorite books on craft? (I'm getting together my Christmas list!)

26 comments:

  1. Fab post, Elizabeth, and great advice too!

    Everyone keeps talking about Save The Cat - it's on MY Christmas list! :D

    ReplyDelete
  2. Save the Cat is super. I'm still in love with Stein on Writing, too.

    Loved your post and isn't it wonderful to have a goofy gene on the loose? They're the best kind because you're always guaranteed a good laugh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I nurtured the goofy gene as much as I could. I mean what is life without laughter?

      Save the Cat is def added. Will add Stein on Writing also. Thanks!!

      Delete
  3. I recently bought four books on craft, but I haven't read them yet.

    I agree with all your points, and I remember my early years of receiving criticism. I was crestfallen, but now I take it all in stride and improve my writing with other people's input.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too. It took a long time to get it through my thick skull that few people, if any, get it right the first time.

      Delete
  4. I remember being young and getting critiqued and trying not to cry...oh the good old days.

    Books I love on the craft (or books that help keep me writing): Writer's Block (it's literally a block of prompts, amazing and small), Pocket Muse 2, Old Friend from Far Away, The Emotion Thesaurus, umm...and I think that's all for now (I had a Thursday segment where I brought up books I liked....I should maybe resume that...)

    Also, I tagged you in a meme-thing over at my blog :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Emotion Thesaurus is already on my list. I'll have to check out the other ones too. And the meme...thanks for the heads up. I'm falling behind in my reading and may have missed it.

      Delete
  5. Poor Conner, but great advice. I've read my work out loud for years, it's a tip that really works. I have to be careful when and where I do that though, or I get strange looks :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know!!! When I read, I'll close my windows so my neighbors don't think I'm nuts. And yes, poor Conner. But he got a good laugh at Mom's screw ups!

      Delete
  6. Save the Cat is hands down my favorite, but also one simply called PLOT by Ansen Dibell.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Save the Cat is def getting the votes! Thanks Angie. :)

      Delete
  7. I have Stephen King's book and heartily agree with you. I would like to read "Save the Cat." Wow. That's weird. I just looked up at Angela's comment and saw she named the same book.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a jinx...now you have to buy her a coke. :)

      Delete
  8. I'm constantly trying to get my muse in shape. Constantly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Think they sell muse treadmills somewhere?

      Delete
  9. Ah, I feel for your son. I've been writing for years and my CP's still rip my work apart. It can be disheartening, but he's blessed to have you as his mama. Your advice is great!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw thanks Emily :)
      And it is really hard, even when a writer is 32 instead of 12, to say, this is good, but can be better. It was a hard lesson for me, so I get it.

      Delete
  10. Such great advice! My favorite is Save the Cat. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Save the Cat is a def must read. Thanks Peggy!

      Delete
  11. I love these tips! I need to get my muse in shape, so these should come in handy.

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. It's great to meet you! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love reading blogs!! I just wish I had more time to run around the internet and visit. :)

      Delete
  12. Why does no one care about the Dog?

    Why save the Cat... Dogs are loveable, too.

    Parrots, Geese, Camels... they all need saving.... Who is with meeeeeeee!!!!

    (Jumps on my little (saved) pony and rides away....)

    PS... Great post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mr. Koop-a-Loop, you make my day. Such a funny, twisted man.

      Delete
  13. What great advice. Conner is one lucky kid :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Might be one of those situations where he thanks me when he's older. We spent last night finding the difference between direct objects and predicate nouns...and the whole time I know he's thinking,
      WHO CARES!!!

      Delete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...