I finally get it
These past two weeks have been a rollercoaster ride for me. On one hand I had a reality check on just how hard it is to make a living out of this writing business, but on the other hand I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the editing process on my Middle Grade novel and feel like finally, finally, FINALLY I get it. I get why people’s eyes light up when they talk about editing. I get why it matters so very much. I get why the hard work you put in after the first draft is actually almost more important than the first draft itself. Yep, I get it. Keep reading →
I’ve come a long way since I first started writing my first novel back in 2000. When I began I didn’t have a clue about anything to do with writing but just followed my instincts from having read many books over the years. Not surprisingly, I’ve got three or four unfinished books from that period of my life. Fast forward twelve years and I’ve learned a lot. I’ve invested the time and energy and money and effort into learning what makes stories work and how to write them. After writing the first draft of four novels I can now state without hesitation that I have the capacity to write a book. A first draft, anyway. But editing? Well, that’s a whole other ball game. Keep reading →
I posted a while back about how nervous I was when I sent my manuscript off to my lovely group of beta-readers. It’s the first time I’ve gotten to this stage with a novel and I must say, it was quite scary knowing people were going to be reading and critiquing my work. I wanted them to read it, but I also was terrified that they wouldn’t like it. I’ve now got manuscripts back from two of my beta-readers and I know two more are in the mail. I get to hear feedback in person from four others next week when I meet with my critique group from Year of the Edit. And I have to say after reading responses from two beta-readers, I am blown away with the amount of work these readers have put into my manuscript and also the beautiful words of praise they have sent my way. Sure, there are things that they questioned (and rightly so) but there are also things they loved. Keep reading →
The Optimistic Writer
As some of you know, I have a passion for optimistic thinking skills. I’m not talking about pie-in-the-sky-whistle-a-happy-tune optimism, but a conscious, learned processing of thoughts that enable me to view the world in the most optimistic and realistic way possible. I have always been a cheerful sort of person, but underneath my smile I suffered from enormous anxiety. When I came across optimistic thinking skills through the work of Martin Seligman over ten years ago, it quite literally changed my life. Suddenly I had tools to use to counter my anxiety and tendency to worry. And believe it or not, those exact same skills are the ones that are keeping me afloat as a writer. Keep reading →
The End is just the beginning
My writing journey has been long and circuitous. I’ve always loved words and always dibble-dabbled in writing of one sort or another, but it wasn’t until about ten years ago I decided to write a novel. I, Karen Collum, was going to write a book. I was 25 at the time, and clearly remember curling up on a chair, notebook in hand, and beginning to write. Keep reading →
Now that I’m at the end…
Now that I’m at the end I know the beginning.
I’ve heard other writers make similar statements but I never really understood what they meant. How could you not know where you story starts? Isn’t that one of the most crucial parts? Shouldn’t you know that right from the get-go? It turns out, it’s not that simple. Keep reading →
He said, he said.
Two blog posts in one week? I’m outdoing myself at the moment, purely because I’m knee-deep in editing my Year of the Edit novel and I’m dealing with my manuscript on a daily basis (and loving it, I might add). Last post I addressed the issue I have with setting and how I’m not very good at it. The second part of my homework has been to look at dialogue. This has been just as interesting for me and I’ve come up with a few problems that need to be fixed. Keep reading →
An Abundance of White Space
I like white space on a page. I like the clarity and simplicity it brings visually, but when it comes to setting, white space is not my friend. I learned in my last Year of the Edit workshop that without enough description of setting, scenes can dangle in white space where the ‘action is suspended in a non-descript place’. Oh yeah. That’s my novel alright. Alas, I have discovered my Achilles’ Heel as a writer: I’m no good at setting.
Workshops 3 & 4 – Year of the Edit
I can’t believe how long it’s been since I posted and my last post was essentially an apology for not posting! Life is still a little crazy around here so I’m not getting to blog – or write, for that matter – as much as I would like. I know it’s long overdue, but I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in my two Year of the Edit workshops over the past two months, both of which have been simply amazing. Keep reading →
Workshop 2 – Year of the Edit
I’m still buzzing from Workshop 2 of my Year of the Edit master class. Last workshop was an emotionally intense experience for me but today was nothing but positive, possibly because I could relax knowing my work had already been critiqued! The day was over before I knew it (I secretly suspect a time thief snuck in and changed all our clocks). I felt like a thirsty sponge, soaking up all the information that our tutor, Kim Wilkins, had to share. Once again, Kim inspired me with her ability to provide me with the skills I need to edit my novel. Any stress I had surrounding my novel is gone, replaced by the confidence that I can do this! I can learn the skills I need to edit my novel and transform it from mediocre to fantastic. Keep reading →