I’m leaving Lawrence, Kansas, at the age of thirty-five.
To chase down my own notion of the writer’s life.
With my netbook, my convention shirts, and Mom’s old suitcase bags.
If anybody can make it, then maybe I can too…
(With apologies to Sarah Buxton and Bob di Pero for “American Daughters.”)
I leave for the airport late this morning. It’s going to be weird leaving the workshop crowd behind and returning to everyday life. I’ve learned some great things here:
- It’s not that hard to find good food at Mrs E’s cafeteria.
- It takes a lot of work to come up with a good critique.
- It can take even longer to figure out what to do with a critique of your own writing.
- The main character needs to be proactive and overcome his own obstacles.
- Be very careful about how much information you dump on the reader and where.
- As Kathy put it, “Resist the urge to explain” what you’ve just described. (She had a tendency to hand our manuscripts back with just R U E marked on them where we were doing this.)
- Don’t give the editor an excuse to say ‘no’ to your story at any point, especially at the beginning.
- Keep working on every word, every sentence, every scene, every character. They all need to support the completed story.
- A good sentence is one that makes you want to read the next one.
- If you can get an editor to read all the way to the end of your story, you’ve got a good shot at an acceptance.
- Every sentence ought to be worth reading. You shouldn’t get by with a sloppy sentence – though occasionally the rest of the story can carry it.