The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, September 25, 2017

Spending the Night With Linda O'Connell

         Linda O'Connell recently spoke as part of a panel for the St. Louis Publishers Association's September meeting. 


        There were three editors/publishers who also spoke. Linda is a prolific writer and has edited anthologies. She's a generous critique partner. Here is what she shared with the audience:
  • She admitted, right off the bat, she did not have the same kind of MFA as some of the other panelists. Her MFA stands for "Mighty Fine Attitude."  (I suspect the "A" stands for a different word, a thee-letter word, since I've heard her husband talk about what attracted him to Linda, but I can't be sure...) 
  • It's important to write to express, not to impress. Instead of saying "feminine hygiene products," why not just say "tampons"?
  • Rejection's more about them (the editor) than you (the writer). It's either a case of "They don't appreciate your work" or "Your work doesn't meet their needs." 
  • Linda doesn't keep an Excel spreadsheet of her submissions. Instead, she handwrites what she submits on a calendar. If it's been a week a few days (or in the case of uber-prolific Linda) an hour since she last sent off something, she'll get busy and polish up a piece to submit it. 

                  If you were part of a panel, what advice would you share?

17 comments:

  1. Linda is amazing and inspirational. That panel discussion must have been well worth your time.

    What advice would I share? I'd say don't wait for inspiration, just sit down and write. Inspiration is a fickle muse, easily distracted by a bag of potato chips and reruns of M*A*S*H*. In short, stop making excuses and just get to work!

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    1. Lisa--Right now (literally), it's the last 30 minutes of the movie "Ghosts of Mississippi" that's keeping me from writing... even though I've seen the movie many times.

      Yeah, stop with the excuses is great advice.

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  2. Find your writing routine and stick with it!

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    1. MZ--But what happens if my "routine" is always changing? Perhaps that is why I'm not as prolific as you... (Certainly that is not the only reason, nor does it explain why I can't do "succinct" as gorgeously as you do. ;)

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  3. Don't be afraid to let your style shine through. What a boring literary world it would be if we all wrote with the same voice.

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    1. Val--That is advice everyone should follow, Val. It would be a boring world. It also would be a less humorous world without your voice.

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  4. When you hit a block and think you have nothing to say, you need to just make yourself start writing to try to jumpstart the flow again.

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    1. Pat--I've heard that when you stop writing for the day, you shouldn't write it all down. You should stop short of what you know, so when you pick up where you left off, you already know where you're headed with your writing.

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  5. Sioux! Shame on you! That heading caught my eye, but that fine print took my breath away.
    Thanks for the shout out. I believe we all have gifts and can learn from others.

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    1. Linda--The title was misleading? I am sooo sorry. ;)

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  6. Sounds like a wonderful evening.

    Writing advice? Get words on paper (even when you think you can't), give the piece time to percolate as you revise and polish, read-read-read (preferably in the genre you're writing), develop a thick skin, and hang around with other writers.

    Pat
    www.patwahler.com

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    1. Pat--You belong to a wonderful writing critique group--one that's almost as great as my group. ;)

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  7. As far as advice, I also learned decades ago, "write to express, not to impress," and "write tight." One lesson from Susan Ledbetter was "Writing is as simple as A, B, C, Apply Butt to Chair.
    Linda is an inspiring speaker and a prolific writer. Your critique group has a lot of talent, as does ours!

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    1. Donna--I like the ABC advice. I've also heard the similar BIC (Butt in Chair).

      Yes, your critique group is jam-packed with talent. I only wish I didn't work on Tuesdays. If I was free, I'd join your group. (I need all the critique help I can get.)

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  8. Linda was awesome all right!

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    1. Lynn-That's the perfect adjective to describe her.

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Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by...