Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What I Did this Summer

12th Man 4 Death – Edit Status

Pushing on. I am in the middle of the first critical reread and edit of the manuscript. What I’m looking for is flow, wordy phrasing, and typos. The goal is to knock out repetition and redundancies. It is amazing how you can write a phrase and then find the same thing (with a few changes) not more than a line or two later. Out they go! Cut, cut, cut.

There is an old phrase attributed now to more than twenty writers that said, “Kill your darlings.” Simply, even though you love the scene and the dialog, if it doesn’t move the story forward, or cause to the story to grow – cut it. Put in a folder named ‘Darlings,’ and move on. BTW, never throw out stuff, it may be useable later (Some say that William Faulkner said it, but then again his work is still populated by a lot of darlings, he was a Southerner you know).

The goal is a leaner and meaner manuscript. It’s working, there’s dead phrasing, split infinitives, and adverbs lying all over the highway behind me. Pushing on.

Book Passage and the Mystery Writers Conference

What a great four days I had in Corte Madera, California at Book Passage. They have offered this conference for almost twenty years and many of the alumni now teach the classes. They have had Don Winslow, Michael Connolly, Bob Dugoni, Cara Black, and hundreds of other successful writers and agents teach us neophytes the way of the world of mysteries. Besides the usual classes on structure, plot, characters, and setting, there were classes on poisonous plants and guns. Detail is critical to the mystery reader – you get the caliber of your favorite pistol wrong and you will hear about it!

High points were an interview with Don Winslow (author of the book Savages, and the movie by Oliver Stone), Willie Gordon and Isabel Allende and how a marriage amongst writers works, Tarquin Hall the author of the Indian detective Vish Puri mysteries, and Karen Slaughter – all excellent. In addition the question and answer portion of the classes really hit home and added to the involvement. But after four days you’re exhausted. For next year I’ll prepare by better training.

More later . . . . .

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