Thursday, August 20, 2009
What? A Shoe Without a Heel?
There's obviously been some kind of mistake! How could anyone walk in a shoe like this? This week, I've been talking about how my manuscript wasn't ready when I first queried it. So far, my discussions have been limited to the obvious--the uneducated errors that distinguish a newbie from a more seasoned novelist, things like word count and grammar. Like this shoe, these things stand up and shout, "Something isn't right here!" But what about the more subtle deficiencies? You know, those underlying issues that aren't so obvious--things like passive sentences and purple prose. Unlike word count and grammar, these deficiencies don't come with a formula for solution. There are no set standards for the number of times you can use "was" in your manuscript. There's no predetermined limit on descriptive adverbs and adjectives. And there's no word processing program tool to tell you when your writing has become melodramatic. These issues can only be remedied by studying the craft and improving our skills by writing on a daily basis. We can look at the publishing industry in this day, and think of all the negatives--too many writers, not enough agents, fewer books being published, etc. But one positive is this: So many established authors, agents, and editors have opened up their brains for us to have a glimpse of their knowledge of the craft. Sometimes, it's through a simple blog. Other times, it's handed to us in book format. Either way, they are sharing with us the things we wouldn't have access to otherwise. There are so many great resources out there for improving our writing skills. Have you taken advantage of them? If so, I'd love to hear what blog, book, article, or website you have found most helpful in your journey. Feel free to mention Stephen King's On Writing, but be sure to spell his name correctly, unlike I did in Tuesday's post. You never know...he could be reading our blogs.