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Writing Ruminations

Writing is such an internal process. Why not make those private ruminations public? This is how stories take shape and grow.

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Location: Happy Valley, Oregon, United States

I've been supporting myself as a writer for many years and am watching the changes in the publishing world with fascination. For me, sharing the craft, teaching, is as creatively satisfying as the writing process itself.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

The edge of the revision pool

I often find that my writing reminds me of swimming...when I'd stand on the edge of that pool, knowing that once I got in and warmed up, I'd have a ball in the water. I've always wanted to be a mer creature. But there was that first cold shock of jumping in... Starting a new piece or contemplating revision, I can feel that rough concrete under my toes and smell chlorine. I know I'll love it once I'm warmed up and swimming, but there's that leap into that cold water!

Well, I leaped today into Backtrack my sequel to Find It, the tracking dog mystery that made the readers poll top ten for Ellery Queen last year. Got my first draft back from my seventy plus year old reader who has a very sharp eye for plot holes. Was planning to play outside, but the Writing Gods decided I needed to do the revision so sent steady rain my way. And of course, once I did the plunge, I tore off happily through my favorite element, that word sea, and have finally come up for air. Mystery short stories are hard. In a novel, you can weave subplots to hide your main-plot clues so that your reader is taken by surprise at your end. In short form, those clues won't have nearly as much camoflage! They lie there in plain sight, so you have to use a lot more sleight of hand to hide them. And Jane, my reader, did indeed snatch some of them up and shake them in my face. I'm ever hopeful in mystery...leaving those clues lying around on the off chance my readers really won't see them. Of course they do, and of course I then have to fix them. I really NEED my mystery readers!

But the revision is done, in blue ink traceries all over the pages. Now I just have to translate back to electronic...that's one more polishing revision as I go. Then it's ready to send out.

Meanwhile, DJ, my three year old rott, grumbles at the Hairy Woodpecker pair who are eating all the suet in the feeder. I may not let him eat it, but he sees no reason why I should waste it on big birds!


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