Thursday, July 28, 2011

International Writing Round-up

Andrew Richardson, a writer from the UK and an October attendee at the Zurich Writers Workshop, just published his first novel, Innocence Unbound. As one of the co-founders of the workshop, I’m always thrilled to hear about the success of our participants. Congrats to Andrew.

The Society of Women Writers & Journalists has announced its Life Writing competition. Submissions are by email only and the entry fee is £7. The writers retain all copyrights to work. First prize is £3000. However, only the top three winners get prize money, but all shortlisted entries are included in an anthology and there is no mention of payment for this.

Over on the Urban Muse, there’s a nice post on where to find freelance jobs.

I’m not a big short story reader, but “The Accident”, by Andrew Roe, in The Sun this month was simply stunning. What a fantastic writer. I highly recommend it.

In other news, the dollar has reached a new all time low against the Swiss Franc at 1 USD only being worth CHF .79, which means I’m not exactly motivated to write for U.S. publications right now. Has the currency situation where you live affected your writing from abroad?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The importance of planning

How many times have you started a novel or memoir, gotten about 20K words in, and then realized you had no idea where the story was going?

Hopefully only once.

However. Speaking from experience and from talking to other writers, it’s all too easy to do multiple times. Sometimes I get so caught up in making sure I’m writing a certain number of words every day that I fail to realize I should check that it’s all going to lead to an ending that makes sense.

This happened to me with the memoir. I had about 30K words and then decided to outline, the result being a complete redo.

Then I started a novel, this time writing the synopsis first. It was a valiant effort, but alas, the novel is now 20K words and I’m realizing I really need to reevaluate where the story is going and how it is going to get resolved. However, at least this time the realization is more about the fact that I need to do a lot more research on some of the topics relating to the novel to ensure that the ending makes sense and is probable. But at least there is an ending.

So now, instead of writing, I’m reading, watching documentaries, and outlining. And I know it’s still writing work, but without the word count ticking upwards, it often feels like I’m barely accomplishing anything.

Anyone else have a word count obsession too? Or participate in NaNoWriMo only to realize everything you wrote during that time had to be redone?


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