Tweeting. My latest foray into social media is Twitter. I know, SO late to the party. But I jumped in and am slowly, mindfully following people and organizations. I’m even gathering a few followers of my own. The next step would be to actually Tweet. As soon as I have something Tweet-worthy to share with my 13 followers, I’ll be right on that.
Meeting. Much more fun is meeting in person with real people, in my opinion. Last week I had lunch with a writer who published a memoir several years ago. She had some valuable insights about working with an agent and a large publishing house, and gave me a contact at a “publishing services” agency that offers a menu of services for writers. I believe this may be the direction I will go for my book. Using the expertise of the Alliance for Independent Authors and others, I can find a reputable and affordable group of professionals to help me edit, promote, and distribute my book.
Reading. I read Stephen King’s On Writing last week. King is an “organic” writer, meaning he doesn’t really do outlines or elaborate plot summaries. The stories just flow from one original idea into a multi-hundred page, super-suspenseful novel. It seems to me he is so practiced at his craft that he has no need to write down an outline. It’s all in his head organizing itself like a horror-genre supercomputer. I admire this, but I was bogged down last week, knowing I had a major revision ahead of me and unsure how to execute it. For that reason, I did not find his book helpful. I did enjoy reading it, though.
Much more useful to me was Larry Brooks’ Story Engineering: Mastering the 6 Core Competencies of Successful Writing. This book would probably turn off writers who fancy themselves the next David Foster Wallace or Jonathan Franzen. Basically, anyone who hopes that New Yorker book critic James Wood will one day give a glowing review to their novel should not read the book. However, any mere mortal who has a 500-page first draft of a novel that needs major revisions will appreciate this book. In a nutshell, Brooks takes cues from screenplays and analyzes some major bestsellers (chief among them The DaVinci Code) to lay out the blueprint for a successful novel. As much as a tiny part of me wouldn’t mind getting a glowing review from James Wood, I have to admit that I eagerly consumed much of the advice in this book and am even now applying it to my revision.