Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Tool For Writers

The arrival yesterday of this month's issue of Writer's Digest reminded me once more that it's a great tool for those of us who are constantly trying to improve our writing--and that's pretty much all of us. Admittedly, not everything in it is applicable to me...nor will it be to you. For instance, the current issue has an article on how to format a screenplay and a stage play. Yet I found it fascinating to see the differences and similarities, and to see that those writers work under rules that are as strict as the ones we butt our heads against in writing fiction and non-fiction.

Another noteworthy piece was an article by Kevin Alexander on his struggles to choose an agent. He's fortunate enough to have become friends with an agent who likes his work and has told him she'd really like an exclusive opportunity to represent him. His friends point out that trying for an agent associated with one of the "heavy-hitter" firms would get him a much larger advance (if an editor decides to buy his work). This is a choice that a lot of you, my faithful readers, would like to be faced with, but when you are I suspect you'll experience the same angst that Kevin did.

In the back of each issue is a section called "Writer's Notebook." In this issue, Steve Almond talks about background and how much information to give the reader in the first paragraph. Notice the difference in the two examples he gives:

I can remember the first time I saw her. It was hard to miss her that night.

The first time I saw Tammy Feldman was at Deke's Sadie Hawkins bash. She was wearing a plaid mini and...

Interesting, no? As with every segment in the "Writer's Notebook," Almond provides some exercises at the end of the piece.

I'm not selling subscriptions to the magazine. You can do that without my help. However, I can tell you that I've subscribed for over a year and plan to renew when the time comes. It's been a helpful tool.

PS--After Shirley (AKA "Book Owl") left her comment, I checked her blog and found lots of excellent tips for writers. This one was absolutely God-sent to me, because it addresses where I've found myself this week. See if it speaks to you as well. Thanks, Shirley.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. I've arrived via Google Blogsearch. I can never hope to catch up with your archives but have scanned back through and found many interesting pieces. I've been blogging for a couple of years but have recently renewed my vision.

I found I was writing too much about the me that has MS and not concentrating on the me that is a writer. To which end, I will be adding your blog link to my growing roll of those who write about writing. I will be back soon too. Take care, God Bless. Shirl.