|photo by zzzrandyzzz (Randy Souther)|
Here is what one review said: "Tracy Seeley's My Ruby Slippers offers a graceful journey into the secret worlds of grief, illness, and ultimately, recovery. This is a wonderfully vivid and compassionate book, reminding us of how place can shape us and make us whole again." - Dinty Moore, author of Between Panic and Desire.
I cannot wait until I get the chance to read it; it was delivered this weekend. Memoir is my favorite genre to read. The idea of a journey that is healing intrigues me.
|photo by shawncalhoun|
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The Road Back to Kansas
On the web, go to www.tracyseeley.com
Revising: When You Love Your Words But It Just Isn’t Working
By Tracy Seeley (@tracy_seeley)
In writing school, one of the first things you hear is “kill your darlings.” It’s usually good advice. All those great turns of phrase, brilliant sentences, and witty puns? The ones you’re most attached to? They really have to go.
I don’t share such a brutal outlook all the time. At times the darlings work. But usually, we hang on to them far too long. We look at the pages and something nags: it just isn’t working. The “it” is often the darlings. We love them, they got us where we are now in this draft of things--and yet our story or essay or poem has outgrown them. It’s taken a different turn or grown in a different direction. It doesn’t need them anymore. Still we don’t want to see the lovelies go.
That’s why as writers, we need to be clear about which role we’re playing when: writer or editor? In truth, of course, we’re both, but at any given time in the creation of a work, only one of them gets to be boss. When we’re creating, crafting, imagining, then the writer gets the corner office. Playing editor at the wrong time can cripple us. We end up second-guessing ourselves and stop taking risks. When the writer works, the editor needs to go out for lunch. But later, when the time comes to read what we’ve written, it’s time to switch offices and let the editor be in charge.
With experience, the editor in us becomes highly skilled at pointing out what doesn’t work. She develops an uncanny ear for the clunky phrase, keen logical sense for structural flaws, and psychological radar for when a character’s run off the rails. And she sees right through your darlings.
With experience, the writer in us knows when to listen. When we hear that still, small, nagging editor’s voice that says, “Something isn’t working,” we carefully ponder her judgment, set aside our ego, and bow to the wisdom of the red pen. Reluctantly, of course, but maturely, we pack the darlings off to summer camp and wave wistfully goodbye.
Thank you, Tracy, for the great advice. It is indeed tough juggling the writer's duties and our job as editor. Good luck with your blog tour and your book signings.
In the below video clip, Tracy asks her readers, "What do you know about the place you come from?...How deeply do you delve?" Perhaps after diving into My Ruby Slippers: The Road Back to Kansas, some of us will be inspired to take a journey to delve into what used to be "home."
Please leave any questions you have for Tracy in the comments section. Tomorrow, Tracy will stopping by Donna Volkenannt's blog. There, she will be talking about what it is like to work with University of Nebraska Press, which was her publisher. And as always, thanks for stopping by.
video by Frederick Marx