Thursday, March 24, 2011

Writer's world.

My writing world has been interesting this month. I finished the work in progress (in the rough draft) and put it aside to gel. That's an important aspect of revision. A story needs time away from it so you can come back with fresh eyes, not only to find grammatical errors due to flying fingers as you type the story in all of your innocent eagerness, but to look at the deeper aspects. The characters. The conflict. The subplots. The Theme.

I had the good fortune of being in an online book club to discuss Barbara O'Neal's latest book, How To Bake a Perfect Life. We were talking about voice, and I have always stood in awe of Barbara's storytelling voice, and she commented that her first draft is always sparse. I was flabbergasted. I'd imagined the words and phrases in her narrative flew from brain to fingertips like the pouring of syrup on my morning pancakes. Not so. She claims that when she revises, she goes back into the story to "plump it up". She said, imagine a room that you have painted, carpeted, and put furniture into. Stand back and take it all in. Then add in all the special touches that tie it all together. Put pillows here, a vase of flowers there, a picture frame or two. Bring it to life.

Of course, the way my mind works, I immediately thought of the TV ad for Foster Farms chickens. The chickens trying to be passed off as FF chickens are "plumped up" with salt water. Then they explode. Ha ha. So even though I love Barbara's expression, I'm also aware that this "plumping" must be tasteful, and it might be better for me to keep a light hand. I'm currently working on a manuscript that I finished at the end of last year. This will be the final go round. It will either be good, or it will explode.


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