With Covid being what it is, meetings of any kind have been on hold. Some groups have gone virtual, some are on hiatus, while others have still met.
As a writer getting feedback on our works is necessary to get our work in the best shape possible.
When one submits to a publisher or self-publish, what readers see between the covers will determine its success. There are a lot of parts to any book. But when we edit and revise one’s work, we won’t catch everything. We know our manuscripts the best, and in time we glaze over errors that others might notice, such as loopholes, spelling errors, punctuation, and run-on sentences.
We can’t be our editors and get 100% of it correct. Different eyes are necessary to make our book better.
So, during this pandemic, you need to decide what is the right path for you in being safe in how you go about getting your eyes on your work.
I have had an opportunity to meet IRL with other writers at a new writing group. I am not of the mind to do that just yet.
Ultimately I want you all safe regardless of how you proceed.
My friend James told me that he was done with his planning his calendar for 2020. He had written out what he would do daily for his brand which is being an author.
Wow I am sure was the first words out of my mouth. Our friend Sandra was equally impressed saying with her full time job she would not be able to do this.
The thought of doing this that far in advance was overwhelming. But not just that not practical. Why? Life. Life always has a way of interrupting us especially when things are going smoothly and we are on a roll.
I know right off the bat there would be the time I would miss while I go back home to Maine to check on my mom. That is always a month long venture at least. I have to include my doctor visits, some that are out of town, my procedures and other stuff doctors throw at me. I have to factor in the days I am not feeling well. There are the trips down to my in-laws for various occasions.
These are just the few things that popped into my head. I am quite confident I left a lot out. And as my mom use to tell me, “This house doesn’t clean itself.” While her house didn’t my house doesn’t either.
So I knew I was not going to approach my planning like James did. I came up with a different outlook for 2020. In my calendar I placed a sheet stapled to each month. On that sheet I wrote what I want to accomplish for that month. It could be looking for reviews, interviews and conferences to researching my current WIP, going back to my writer’s groups and writing. When I did January my list was long but not long enough to be discouraging. I figured if I can get a certain percentage of it I will be okay with that. I wrote up my sheets for January and February. One item on February will be to do March and April and so on.
This is what will work for me. To plan every single day that far is illogical for me. But not just that I could be setting up myself up for failure and disappointment. Who wants that? No, not me.
According to Margaret Maron, creator of Judge Deborah Knott: Voice is the most important ingredient in a successful book. The plot may be clever, but if the voice doesn’t engage us, how can we care?
According to John Morgan Wilson who writes the Benjamin Justice mystery series: There is difference between voice and style though it is difficult to get at. To me voice is closer to attitude and the emotional quality of the prose, reflecting the personality of the author.
Jason Pinter, ( an author who I love reading) a former St. Martin’s Press editor states: Voice is the conversational quality of your writing, the way you “talk” to your reader. It’s as important in writing as it is in conversing aloud with someone or speaking to a group. If your voice isn’t confident, assured, authoritative, natural, and appropriate for your characters and story, the writing will feel stilted, forced, ragged, weak, awkward. Just as speaking aloud is ineffective if one is halting, hesitant, lacking in confidence, and so on
Now that is all well and good until I try to find my own voice. My Character Development instructor said he knew my voice and I did as well. I do? Funny I thought to myself for my last instructor told me the same thing. This is a trend for people out of my writing groups concur with these teachers. How come everyone knows what my voice is but me? I try hard not to think on this and just write. Apparently I am accomplishing the voice subconsciously.
One good way is to read your story aloud. It may sound silly but it is a good way to hear one’s errors, pace and flow. Perhaps a writer will discover their voice. Will I ever be able to describe this important ingredient to others, I do not know. Hopefully though my voice is being written loud and clear in my writings.