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Revise, Edit and Re-publish

My first novel was written in 2011. Being known as a playwright, I was urged by friends and fans to expound on the play by the same title. They were left unsatisfied by the play (even though it was a thumbnail of the story and quite successful on the stage.) They wanted more. What happened to the three women in the story? 

Writing a play is child’s play (pun intended) for someone like me. After all I’ve read thousands of play scripts and portrayed hundreds of characters from other plays, not my own.  One hundred pages is a walk in the park. But 300+ pages of a work of fiction. A Novel. I still remember the day I sat at my keyboard and faced the blank page 1. I was scared out of my mind.  Thank the stars I had a story plot and the stage play to refer to. 

Now, eight years later I brought it out and dusted it off. (Remember I’ve written about this before.) The first thing I do is check for my personal idiosyncrasies when writing: those words we all use too much. Mine are ‘just‘ and ‘that‘.  So I checked the first one. 264 ‘Justs‘ and I only needed about 28 of them. So I went through the manuscript and deleted a couple hundred. Ugh. 
Now, let’s see about the second word. ‘That’. 723. Oh dear!

Several years ago I was reading one of my favorite authors (when I’m not writing, I’m reading) and something was irritating me in the back of my consciousness, a little niggle. 

Then I realized the author repeatedly used the word ‘snickered’ or‘ snicker‘ when describing the tone of the dialogue. (Let the dialogue set the tone.) I doubt the author was even aware of it. ‘Snickered’ was exactly the same as my ‘that’. There’s a whole slew of synonyms for ‘snicker’ (she could have mixed it up) Scorned, scoffed, mocked, derided, sneered, snorted, etc. Once I discovered the culprit of my irritation, I couldn’t unsee the word and it spoiled the story for me. I put the book away, unread.

Technical Note: For those of you who don’t know how to find a word used to excess: Use the keys ‘Control F’; a box will open. type in the word that you might have used too much. It will tell you how many times it was used in the ms. And the word will be highlighted in yellow so you can easily edited them. 

So whenever you edit, clean up and revise an older work you will get a better story out it. You will achieve better writing. You may even find a new chapter or two.

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter. ’Tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” ― Mark Twain
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Motivational Moments…for Writers! #33

Lillian Hellman

 Lillian Hellman said, ‘If you hope to be any good, nothing you write will ever come out as you first hoped.’     It is true and if you are truly lucky it will happen to you.

For example: In the play script version of Women Outside the Walls, the story ends with Joe dying on a cold prison floor.  And later,  this was where I had planned for the  novel to end too. IF I had not been working closely with a woman who had ‘stood by her man’ for 15 years while he was in prison. Shortly after he was paroled, 

Women Outside the Wallsher son received 13 years for manslaughter.  She had been there, done that… times two!  After SK (the woman outside the real prison walls) read the last pages, she looked up and asked: “What happened to Charlie?  To Alma?”

‘Huh?’ I replied. Did someone actually care about these two antagonists? As it turns out, yes they did. Charlie and Alma, in spite of their wrong doings, their narrow beliefs, and their ignorance were endearing and readers really cared. 

I’ve said it before, be open as a writer. 

 


“Fiction is about everything human and we are made out of dust and if you scorn getting yourself dusty, then you shouldn’t try to write fiction.

It’s not a grand enough job for you.” ~~ Flannery O’Connor 

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ~~ Pablo Picasso

“Be courageous and try to write in a way that scares you a little.” ~~ Holley Gerth
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MY BLOGS feature INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!   Did you miss the past few months?    In August we said ‘hello’ to Cheryl Hollon.   September: Dylan Callens and October’s author will be Donna Kauffman. 
                                                                                   
                                         Check out more Motivational Moments…for Writers!

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Available at: www.amazon.com

 

How to Write a Novel….the writing Process!

writing, blog, authors, create

……is there a wrong way??

NO!  There is no ‘wrong’ process when writing your story….but, as I and other authors (I’ve interviewed here on my blog) have stressed….be certain that you HAVE a process.

1.  Write about what you know.  If you are a beginner…and we all were at one time…write a story about something you know or have had first hand experience with.

2.  If the idea of writing a novel  (75,000+ words)  is way too daunting,  write a short story (3,000 words) or a series of short stories.  Write a novella. (16-25,000 words).   After writing three full length novels, I decided that my mystery series The World of Murder would be short novels.  I didn’t run out of story,  I just believe that there is a market for short novels (24–35,000 words).

3.  If your subject is something that you know nothing or very little about the Internet is a powerful tool.  Let me give you some examples:  My aunt ran away to Alaska in the 1920’s to homestead.  I knew her story but I knew very little about Alaska at the turn of the last century.  What did Fairbanks look like then?  It was little more than a trading post.  How many acres did you get when you homesteaded?  80. What tribe of native Alaskans were in my story-area and what language did they speak?  Were there hunting ‘tags’ or seasons for hunting in those days?

Another example are my murder mysteries that are heavy  on police procedures and crime scene investigation.  I know a lot but certainly don’t know everything.  Between the Internet, local law enforcement and the Medical examiners,  I have pretty much everything I need in the way of research.  Book #4, The Angel of Murder is about the Catholic religion and confession.  I am not a Catholic so I called my friend’s priest, Father Gabe, and he was incredibly kind and helpful.  DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP!  I asked a private detective and a priest, BOTH STRANGERS, and they gave willingly of their time and knowledge.

4. What if my writing process is wrong?  NO!  There is no wrong process. Just be certain that you have a writing process.  Whether it’s with meticulous outlines and story notes or just writing from your gut. My personal process is this:  An idea forms and begins writing itself in my mind.   I joke about ‘slamming  my story down first’It’s more than an outline (which I don’t use) and less than the finished product.  I type 80 words a minute so when I say I slam it down, I mean I slam it down.  I frequently write out of sequence.  Sometimes the Epilogue is written before the end of the story.  Sometimes the prologue is written after the first few chapters. That’s WEIRD’, you say?   No, not really,  the story such as it is at that point is feeding me.  Right now, AA.Cover.bridgeofmurderas I am writing Book #6, The Bridge of Murder, some chapters are un-numbered as I’m not certain where they fit, only that they are part of the story.

5.  Have people you trust read your manuscript.  They aren’t standing as close to it as you are.  But, be certain that they can look at the work and give a constructive critique.  When I say trust, I’m not talking about them stealing your work,  I’m talking about trusting that they will be honest with you.  I have two such people in my circle;  one in particular.  He is honest and wants the very best for me and out of me.

6. Poor Man’s Copyright:  I’ve done this for years.  When I have four or five pages of a manuscript completed, I make up a title page, date it and then mail it to myself.  When you get it back in the mail, be certain you DON’T open it.  Just tuck it away in a safe place.  Courts (if it ever came to that) will honor the post marked and unopened envelope.  Of course you have saved the date of the saved draft of the first time you worked on it in your computer.

7.  Re-write, re-write, then re-write some more!   Read your work over and over.  You don’t have to read it from start to finish….that will make your eyes cross and make you want to give up.  Read sections,  edit, re-write, make it as good as you possibly can.

Want to learn more about developing rich and interesting characters?  Want to try writing a little poetry or a Haiku?  Want to learn more about that all important ‘first sentence’ of your story?  Check out my Creative Writer’s Journals.  There are six ‘how to’ sections and 275 pages of lined, blank pages for your writing.

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Be my Valentine!

be my valentiineLooking for that unique, thoughtful gift for your valentine?

Has your loved one always wanted to write but didn’t know how to begin? Does he/she write in a journal? Write poetry? Write short stories?  These journals include ‘how to’ sections, inspiring quotes from other writers and lots of blank pages for your own creative writing.

This ‘Creative Writer’s Journal is the perfect gift.

Journal for Creative Writers

for HER!

Order here!

Neon.RMWO_cover_spine_REV84_copy

for HIM!

 

 

The Reviews are in …Creative Writer’s Journal/Handbook

Reviews are in for my series of Journals/Handbooks for men, women, and students who WRITE!

       ‘I just got my copy and my first thought (after I need to start using this) is; What a great gift this would make for anyone who is a writer or who shows an inclination in that direction.

Trisha Sugarek gives you “permission” to scribble down ideas and not have to write the great American novel every time you put pen to paper. In the first couple of pages, she gets you going with examples and encouragement and she makes you realize that while writing is work, it’s not impossible work…in fact, it can even be fun work.

With tips for lots of different writing types and encouragement from writers across time and genres nestled in the margins, this journal encourages you to get those words down on paper.
Sure, you’ll use a computer for the final heads down working sessions to get a finished work done, but for day-to-day fun “I can do this” writing, this journal and handbook is a great motivator.’  ~~D. Johnson

and this from Midwest Book Review!

Creative Writer’s Journal and Handbook begins where so many writer’s guides should: with the basics of how to pursue a dream job as a writer. The problem with most writers’ guides is that they assume some prior degree of excellence or experience; but this handbook poses something different: the opportunity to begin with no prior skill level or experience. All that’s needed is the desire and passion to be a writer, and everything flows from there.
So if you ‘scribble’, if you like words, if your stories ‘find’ you, and if you aspire to be something more (say, a published blogger); then here’s the next step in the process. From how ideas begin to how they are nurtured and written down, there to be refined until they see the light of day (i.e. other readers), this journal offers support, insight, and ideas for jump-starting the creative process and linking it to action.

White, lined journal pages offer a workbook approach that augments white space with inspirational quotes on the process from other, successful writers. So while you’re staring at the usual journal blank pages, inspiration can spark from others’ experiences and insights.

This isn’t just about prose, either: Sugarek includes sections on different formats, from Haiku Poetry to writing a stage play. Each section offers inspirational insights into format, structure, and writing challenges – then uses the journal/quote format to encourage readers to put something down on paper.   So if it’s nuggets of information spiced with the encouragement of fresh lined, white space that is needed, Creative Writer’s Journal and Handbook offers a success formula beginners can easily absorb, all packaged in a survey that assumes no prior familiarity with writing.  ~~D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer for Midwest Book Review

and…….

‘….Before meeting and working with you, I had a very skewed view of what being a writer was. I thought you had to be independently wealthy, or somehow hypnotize the publishers into giving you a huge advance, or be a teenager still living at home, or do it on the “5pm to midnight shift” (meaning you get home from work and have no personal life).

But seeing your work, and seeing how you adapted to the web format and allowed that to become part your professional presence was a revelation. It allowed me to imagine a way where my writing would not just be for fun or some cool party trick that set me apart from the usual anti-social geeks at work, but the core of what I had to offer.

And if not for YOU, that wouldn’t have happened…’~~Leon Adato

‘This is a beautiful and sturdy book with some of the best quotes out there to motivate you to dream bigger and write better. It would make a great gift for your female friends and family. ‘ C.Strain

Purchase   

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DON’T MISS UPCOMING BLOGS featuring INTERVIEWS with  best-selling AUTHORS!

In addition to my twice weekly blog I also feature an interview with another author once a month. So come along with me; we shall sneak into these writers’ special places, be a fly on the wall and watch them create!  

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Attention! All Writers Out There!

There’s a BLOG out there that is dedicated to the art of writing and honing your craft. Yep!  I’m talking about mine and this is a shameless promo.  You won’t be disappointed.

For three years now I have published my posts twice a week and it’s always something about being a better writer.  Once a month I interview best selling authors such as Dean Koontz, Sue Grafton, Jeffery Deaver, Sherryl Woods, Anne Gracie, CW.CoverRaymond Benson, Lee Goldberg, Charles Bukowski and dozens more.   My goal is to inspire other writers to write more, tell their stories, try writing a play, or maybe some poetry.

Sign up on my home page  and receive an email with each day’s post.  Delete it if it doesn’t interest you.  It’s that simple.  Recently I have developed a series of ‘creative writing’ journals with ‘How To’ tips and famous quotes to inspire my fellow writers.  http://www.writeratplay.com/category/a-writers-take/ more »

CREATIVE WRITER’S Journal and Handbook Now Available!

1.Creative.Write.BookCoverImage  Actor, director, playwright, author, Trisha Sugarek has created 305 pages of ‘How To’, Tips, Quotes, and  275 blank, lined pages for your writing.  ‘I have created this journal for writers of all genres.  Taken from my personal experience in the writing process, I hope it kick starts new writers to begin and more experience writers to continue.’

~~This spirited journal is designed to help writers open their hearts and minds. Much more than a journal for your creative writing, this handbook provides the writer with the ‘how to’s’ of writing. Tips, instructions and prompts to help you to hone your writing skill. Each blank, lined page has writing tips and quotes from other famous authors.~~

Available at www.amazon.com    

A writer is only a writer when he or she is writing. Thinking isn’t writing, research isn’t writing, doing anything other than writing isn’t writing. 

Neon.RMWO_cover_spine_REV84_copy

Available NOW!! ‘The Creative Writer’s Journal & Handbook’

CW.CoverNOW ON SALE!!!  This new, innovative Journal and Handbook.

This spirited journal is designed to help writers open their hearts and minds to their own creative possibilities, while honing their craft. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced writer, you will find this journal will quickly become your constant companion.

Much more than a journal for your creative writing, this handbook provides the writer with the ‘how to’s’ of writing. Over 275 of blank, lined pages for your creative writing that includes more tips and insightful quotes from famous authors.

What’s Inside:
“How Do I Begin?”
“How to Develop Exciting Characters”
“How to Write Fiction”
“How to Write a Stage Play”
“How to Write Poetry”
“How to Write Haiku Poetry”

You can order this Journal  here in my book store or go to Amazon.com

Teachers and Students:  Go to Facebook and  Like’ this page if you think this is something you would like to own.  Future special offers to educators and students.


The Grande Dame of Historic Fiction was so much More!

romance, historic, fiction, Barbara CartlandYes, the snobs of the literary world might have scoffed at her pink signature Chanel suits, her poofy hats, her Pekinese dogs, and her silly romantic stories.   But, they can’t quite get around her fifty plus years of writing, resulting in over 1,000 million books sold, or the fact that she spent her life  making the world a better place.

Her name was Barbara Cartland.  I know I must have started buying her books somewhere around 1972 because one of her letters to me was dated 1975.  So I have been reading her historic, romantic fiction up until about ten years ago.  Collecting hard covers when I could find them!  I would send them to her and she would autograph them and always, always send a nice note and a little gift back to me.  Most treasured gift was a gold-gilded oak leaf from an oak tree on Barbara’s property.   The “Deer Oak”, which is said to have been planted by Queen Elizabeth the First in 1550, at the spot where she killed her first deer, is on the estate.

more »

He Always Makes Me Smile…and Think!

famous authors, Charles Bukowski, interviews, best selling authors    More from Charles Bukowski……..His insight is pure truth but who among us would think in quite this way?  Never a glass far from his hand, never a woman far from his arm, never a stubby pencil far from his fingers…the genius wrote and wrote and then wrote some more… and very little of it was false.

 

it’s strange  ©

it’s strange when famous people die
whether they have fought the good fight or
the bad one.
it’s strange when famous people die
whether we like them or not
they are like old buildings old streets more »