Friday, August 29, 2008

Making a Literary Life: End of Summer Reflections

The final long days of August seem to carry with them a melancholy. We slow down, reflect. Warm days that ran together are suddenly turning into memories. With September around the corner, we're another year older, but are we another year wiser? We at the writers' group consider what we've learned.

Lisa Marnell
I learned there is no right answer in plotting, in setting, in character development. It's all a choice. You make a choice, you run with it. Second guessing isn't your job; that's the duty of a writers' group or trusted reader. I've gone down too many roads and backtracked, wasting time and emotional energy.

Amy MacKinnon
Though I've heard Lynne repeat it a thousand times and agreed with her a thousand one, I've truly learned that life is a marathon, not a race.  Even more important, that this journey isn't worth taking without friends by your side cheering you on and allowing you to cheer for them.

Thank you to the folks at Grub Street and the many writers -- published and not yet -- who came to the Porter Square Books Reading Tuesday night.  It was good to be among my people.

Hannah Roveto
I've learned to trust myself more, as well. I dislike stories where the author lingers like God; you see the strings being pulled behind the characters and plot rather than it appearing to happen organically. I probably had shied away more than I should from being a Goddess, and stakes in particular had suffered. I believe I have found the balance, at last, where I make lives turmoil and yet am not seen by the reader twist by twist.

Lynne Griffin
After a trip to New York to meet with my publicity and marketing teams, I learned how important it is to have champions for your work. Thank you Elisabeth Weed, Hilary Teeman, and the rest of my advocates at St. Martin's Press. I am deeply grateful.

As I fine-tune my work-in-progress, and do a bit of manuscript consultation for Grub Street, I'm learning that revision is a beautiful thing. It's where the real word painting begins.

This week, Amy gave a reading with Brunonia Barry, author of The Lace Reader, co-sponsored by Grub Street and Porter Square Books. My daughter and I were there to share in the excitement. Amy was, as you'd expect, a real star! We are so proud of her and her accomplishments. And it was wonderful to catch up with our talented friends, Lara Wilson, Chris Castellani, and Michael Lowenthal.