- If you see an adverb, shoot.
- Delete 'There was' at the beginning of your sentences.
- Remove 'as if' from your manuscript.
- The middle of the novel is either rising of falling. There are no plateaus. Make it high - like a circus tent pole.
- The first page of your book is its table of contents. All the clues and plot elements should be there.
- Stand up and act out your scenes.
- When you're stuck, go back and retype a page from before. Edit it. Remove the adverbs. Cut twenty more words. Whatever you do, don't leave the desk.
- At the end, throw away the first chapter. Rewrite it.
- Finally, examine your opening line. Is it the best you can do?
On being a writer...
- Writing fiction is the struggle to give life a shape.
- Childhood is a jungle, not a garden.
- We're writers. We can inhabit other people's space.
- Nobody a writer loves is ever dead.
Richard also surprised and honored us by reading a chapter from his work-in-progress, and believe it or not, it is a new book featuring Grandma Dowdel! What a treat!
I will forevermore hear Richard's encouraging, yet discerning, voice in my head as I write. (I can hear him now, but I keep telling myself this is just a blog, it doesn't have to be perfect!)
Here is Carol presenting Richard with a Grandma Dowdel for President campaign button!
And here's our critique group at dinner Saturday night.
Jenny Meyerhoff, Carol Grannick
Me, and Ellen Reagan