Monthly Archives: January 2011

Write Now

If you read my New Year’s post, you’d know that one of my goals is to “be more present in all things.”

I should heed this sound advice in my writing as well.

Over the course of developing my first two manuscripts, I found that if I immerse myself in the present writing, it comes out much more fluid and with a considerably less amount of effort. On the other hand, if I try to look too far ahead, try to gauge the outcome of a story before its had time to take its own shape, I get frustrated.

That’s when negativity sets in and takes up residence in my brain, overstaying its welcome like an annoying relative during the holidays.

I start to feel like it’s been all for naught. Like what I’ve written so far is complete garbage not even fit for the recycle bin.

I have to learn to trust my instinct and intuition more, to hope that my characters will lead me in the right direction and let the story unfold in the here and now.

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A Book by Any Other Name

Do you ever pick up a book and read the back cover, simply because you liked its title?

Can you judge a book by the cover, or, in this case, the title?

Can a title make or break a book? I often think so. That’s why it seems so important for me to choose just the right one for mine.

I’m pretty satisfied with “Autumn in Vermont” for the name of my first novel still in editing stage. However, my second manuscript, which is a work in progress, is–I gotta say it–another story.

I’m only about halfway through my first draft, yet I feel a need to “name” it, at least temporarily, until I find out what it will become in the end. Kind of like giving your unborn child an in-utero nickname like “the Alien”, or “Jellybean.” (For the record, I never felt compelled to call my own children anything other than “the baby.” As far as my writing goes, “the book” just doesn’t do it for me.)

For my drafting purposes, I’ve temporarily been using “Sawyer’s Bend” because that’s the name of the town around which the story centers. It’s serving me well enough now, but I’m not resigned to it for the long haul, by any means. In fact, I can see this novel growing into a sequel or even a trilogy, and then “Sawyer’s Bend” would no longer fit.

Still, part of me wishes I could have enough foresight to give it a more permanent name while I’m still in the midst of creating it, or at least some ideas. I’m coming up with nothing.

Perhaps that’s the wrong line of thinking, though. Maybe going into it with a title stuck in my head now would shape my story into something it was never meant to be in the first place. It would be like stubbornly sticking to the name “Sue” after finding out you had a ten pound baby boy. Sure, it could make a catchy line in a country song, but how will it shape his future?

You’d have to be open to change somewhere along the way.

What about other writers out there? Do you have a title in mind when you start drafting a new book? How often do you stick with the same one when it’s all said and done? I’m curious, so please post your comments here.

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Run to the Bagels!

It’s cold outside.

I’m training for several upcoming 5k races and, at the least, a mini-marathon in early summer. My first race is March 5th which requires me to begin logging in the miles now. I have a treadmill I’ll use occasionally, but it’s not the same as running outside.

Did I mention it’s cold outside? Like 10 degrees Fahrenheit cold.

But I did it! I ran the full 3 miles on the schedule for today, with icicles on my eyelashes (yes, I’m serious) and slush frozen on the bottoms of my shoes.

I think the only thing keeping me going on the last mile was the promise of a bagel fest at the end of the road. Visions of the delectable, doughnut-shaped baked goods dangled in front of us runners like carrots, only with more effectiveness.

Of course, it may have also had something to do with the fact that the breakfast station was located in a nice, warm and toasty cafeteria.

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