The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Saturday, July 2, 2011

First Draft: Savage-Style

"First Draft" by Doug Savage

         I think Doug Savage is baiting me. He generously allows bloggers to use his comics, but just one a month. At the end of June he posted two cartoons which I connected to as a writer. I shared one before the month ended, saved the other one, and now a new month is here. (If you have not met his fowl friends, go to his blog. You won't regret it!)

         Savage entitled this post-it cartoon "First Draft." Sometimes it's obvious to everyone but the writer what needs to be discarded.  Being married to the bear might not be wise. If your writing circle says, "Get rid of the bear!"  and they're all saying it, chances are the bear should go.

         What stories do you have about sharing your work with others? Were you ever given bad advice? What specific suggestions are you working on to improve your writing in general?  

        And don't out for that bear!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Blurb Friday # 19

         Yes, it's Friday again. Time to write a blurb for a no chance for this one potential best-seller. The photo this week is supplied by Becky Povich. The multi-talented Lisa Ricard Claro hosts this meme every week on her blog.

         Your book can be any genre, but it must must be 150 words or less. I was going to blog about something else today, but decided I could double-dip and write a book about the "adventure" I originally planned on writing about.

         After you write a blurb, link it to Lisa's blog, read the other blurbs and allow yourself the luxury of wallowing in everyone else's creativity.

        And without further beating around the bush ado, here is Becky's photo and my shot at stardom!

White-Knuckle Writing
by Cassie "Pro" Crastinator

       It was the last day of June. The evening sun, filtering through the blinds, reminded her that midnight wasn’t a threat, it was a promise.
       Two Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies had a call for submissions; their deadlines were June 30. Cassie had planned on submitting a second story for the Christmas collection to follow up her earlier memoir that was already sent off. ‘Increase the submissions means an increased chance of publication,’ she thought, with a touch of hysteria. Not having an idea for the Here Comes the Bride book until the last minute, she now had two story ideas.

      Could Cassie finish the Christmas story that was already half-finished and get it submitted in time? Would she be able to begin and finish two wedding stories before the bell tolled twelve?

     White-Knuckle Writing will make you screech and sweat right along with Cassie. (147 words not including the “reviews”)


The Reviews of White Knuckle Writing:

“A cautionary tale. These pages paralyzed me.” Dr. Wright A. Head

“Cassie’s philosophy should be everyone’s mantra: More submissions = more publications. After all, I average 13 stories in every Chicken Soup anthology and that only happens because I submit like crazy!” Linda O’Chicken Soup

“Writing is a breeze when you have bottled-up spirits as your lackeys. Have Cassie call me.” Fireblossom

Princess Procrastinator's Note:  No, I did not get three stories submitted last night but by 11:45 I had submitted two to two different anthologies.  

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Predator Editors

photo by Colorfly Studio

         In truth, I like to run a line through something rather than erase it because once you erase it, it's gone. Forever.

             And when I went to flickr I was looking for a photo of a red pen,  but since I won't be able to find this (the above picture) again because I'm hormonally challenged forgetful, I slipped it in here.

        But a red pen would have been a better choice. Because this post is about gifted editors.

      During the summer, I have some flexibility to my schedule, and I'm taking advantage of it; I've joined a group of writers who meet every Tuesday morning for "Coffee and Critique." We bring things to share, and get suggestions on how to improve the pieces.

      Everybody at this table has good eyes and ears. Each one has their own little niche when it comes to editing. But yesterday, I sat next to one of the writers with the fastest pen in the west. And not only is she fast, she's dead-on when it comes to her aim.  

       As soon as I started reading my short story, I could see her out of the corner of my eye. Circling. Crossing out. Drawing arrows and writing comments.

     And I loved it. Because that's what I need help with. I won't say I was ever a brilliant writer, but between August and May, I write for nine-year olds. So I need loads of help discerning what words can be left out, what is cliche, where I'm getting off track.

     So, thanks for being a predator-editor. Thanks for circling around my weak verbs and adjectives. Thanks for attacking my writing with a keen eye.

     Thanks, Alice. (And Donna and Doyle and Bea and Becky and Bill and Marcia and Lou.)


Tuesday, June 28, 2011


         I love Doug Savage's blog posts. The cartoons are always quirky, they're drawn on post-its (amazing in itself!) and often, they're responsible for me beginning my day with a chuckle. (He posts them early in the morning, at "the crack of chicken," so along with C. Hope Clark's middle-of-the-night meanderings, they're the first new posts to greet me when I wake up.)

      Today's cartoon is marvelous advice for writers. (It's a rare one. Most of his cartoons are about chickens.)

       Go. Go for the submission. Go out of your comfort zone and try a different genre. Go to a writing group. Go to the post office and send off your story. Go up to a fellow writer and ask for advice. Go to a workshop. Just go.

     Because if you stay, you're a weanie.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bad Reviews

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
photo by
        Yesterday Kelly O'Connor McNees gave a presentation for Saturday Writers.  Kelly's debut novel, The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott is now in paperback.

         I loved Little Women when I was younger. Because I was a tomboy, Jo was my favorite character.

        I bought a copy for my daughter for Christmas but I'm going to gently read it first .

        After the presentation was over, a few of us went out for lunch. It was an opportunity to hear more about Kelly's journey to Publication Land.

        One of the funniest tidbits she shared was a reader's "review" that was posted on the internet.  They said, "This summer should have stayed lost." She said she laughed about it, thinking the play on the title was humorous.

        As writers we have to develop a thick skin. Certainly there is going to be constructive criticism, and most of it we will weigh and ultimately, the suggestions will help shape our work.

        But other comments we should just laugh about, shake our heads over, have some chocolate or a margarita and forgeddaboddit.