Annette Rogers, an editor at Poisoned Pen Press, was the speaker at Desert Foothills Library on Friday afternoon. She spoke on how to improve writing and make it more like story telling to grab the reader right up front.
I was happy to see two of my favorite writing books on her list: On Writing by Stephen King and Write Away by Elizabeth George.
Rogers shared experiences as an editor and gave tips on making your manuscript grab the editor (or agent or reader) from the beginning. She suggests writing five different manuscripts to finally have one worth submitting. In other words, write, write, write and then write some more. It takes time to learn to be a writer. You can also practice by writing and submitting articles.
Use surprise. To emphasize this she used an exercise from Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg which includes a list of cooking terms as verbs to go with list of nouns she gave us.
Here are some of mine:
The lilacs marinated the afternoon sun.
The horse whipped the dust into a frothy cyclone.
His mustache strained the words into something unintelligible.
Quick tips from the speaker:
You are writing for the reader. What will catch your reader’s attention and keep them turning the pages?
What are you looking for and how can you relate it to the reader?
Keep it moving. Verbs, verbs, verbs.
Characters must be believable. They have to progress or grow throughout the book.
Part of writing is putting yourself out there. Sharing your work and submitting every chance you get.
And finally, she talked about a writer who had worked on her blog for many years and then took some of those posts or stories and arranged them into a book. She had practiced with her blog for eleven years. She already had an audience and once her book came out it immediately became a New York Times best seller. The author is Jenny Lawson and her book is Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir. You can find it at: http://thebloggess.com/lets-pretend-this-never-happened-a-mostly-true-memoir/
So get out there and WRITE!