Category Archives: Writing Tips and Quips

Blue-pencil Time

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Blue-pencil Time

So many of us here, who follow each other’s blogs, are writers who want to publish. Others are writers who just want a place to express, create, share and sometimes just vent.

I’m both. I’ve enjoyed times here when I’ve been very active on WordPress. I’ve taken breaks and focused more on other things, including personal writing. Around 2010, a concept for a novel twinkled my eye. I set out on the journey, and the journey took so many more years than anticipated. But folks, it’s almost ready!

With only a couple of chapters left of the first draft, this thing is a monster! If I were to format it for your basic paperback, it would be nearly a thousand pages. That’s too big! Who wants to read a book that thick? I usually won’t. So, soon I’ll approach blue-pencil time. Time to edit. Cut. Rearrange. Re-phrase. Clean it up.

I’m turning to you, my fellow bloggers and readers. How have you managed parting with your treasured paragraphs? How have you ensured your books are concise and on point, while also richly laced with delights for the senses? Have you paid beta-readers? Have you paid editors? Do you have family who can be that honest with you about what needs to change? How soon before publishing did you start your pre-release marketing strategies?

Please tell me your experiences rather than your advice. That’s what I’m after. Thanks for following, and thanks for sharing your comments and experiences!

Typing away,

Joan T. Warren

Developing a Mission Statement for Fiction Novel

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You can help me decide! Here are a few shorter sentences that I’m developing to help guide revision of the upcoming novel, The Bent Tree Path. Here’s your chance to weigh in! Add, subtract, edit, suggest, negate. . . be involved.

A mission statement for a fiction novel helps the self-editing process. It serves as a filter to revise each scene and chapter: if they don’t significantly support the mission, they don’t belong.

The original mission statement draft, shared last week, was nearly the size of one of Ernest Hemingway’s paragraphs! Now it’s time to simplify. Which of these do you like the best?

  1. Interplay stories of ancestral history with modern life to highlight the importance of, and a pathway toward, healthy relationships with God, self, others, and the earth.
  2. Reveal the secrets of generations of women who grew stronger as they overcame oppression and abuse.
  3. Create a path for future generations to find their way through challenges.
  4. Show how generations effect one another; each personal choice bearing on future generations.

I’d love to hear from you!

Joan T. Warren

Writing Through COVID-19

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Hello Faithful Readers!

First, my apologies for leaving you so long! Writing is a hobby for me, and sometimes I fall into placing my beloved hobbies last on my list of things to do!

In the last couple months, though, I’ve been writing a lot more. The COVID-19 scare and distancing orders at first gave me LESS time to write (can you say homeschooling?), but then MORE. Fear of early demise reconnected me to the importance of prioritizing that which is most precious to me. Faith leads me to keep that up even though that fear subsides.

As a result, I’ve been tap-tap-tapping away on the novel I started nearly ten years ago! It’s epic, folks. So far nearly 150,000 words! Which, of course, will get whittled away in the editing process. That’s how I write. I overdo, then slice and dice. I’m in editing mode now, for most of the novel. There are a few chapters yet to write.

An awesome self-editing course I took from Mary Kole set me to creating this novel’s mission statement. A mission statement helps the writer stay on course. Each scene is re-read through the lens of that statement. If it doesn’t support the statement, it either needs to be reworked or sent to the chopping block. The mission statement can also lead into log lines, which help attract you, the readers, to be interested in the book.

So here, I entreat your help! Please take a look at the mission statement and tell me what you think. Does it interest you, bore you? Is it too long, or too wordy, or too whatever? Do tell! It’s better to fix it now than spend another day on something that isn’t worth it.

Here it is:

“Through stories from three centuries, The Bent Tree Path follows ordinary women who overcome oppression, abuse and despair and pave the way for future generations to connect with their rich ancestral heritage, their earthly and spiritual interactions, and their personal and relational health.”

So comment away, no worries about offending me. I can only see through my own eyes unless you share your perspective.

Thanks!

-Joan

 

 

How to Write With a Whip

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Ever get caught up in frustration that there’s just not enough time to write?

Between working full time, homemaking, investigating information we need to write, and a few other significant endeavors, like parenting, many aspiring writers feel they’ve been “tied to the whipping post!”

 

(Here you may imagine I inserted a video of the Allman Brothes playing the song, “Whipping Post.” Or, you can go to You Tube yourself, leaving me no copyright issues.)

Tired of feeling whipped? Let’s take that WHIP in hand, turn it around, and get cracking!

First, let’s clearly identify the factors that WHIP us, ie., detract from our writing time:

W is for working! While some writers are fully financed by someone or something, most of us have to work full-time to keep that ever-so-important roof over our heads and food in our bellies! Read the rest of this entry