Guest Post: Four Reasons You Shouldn’t Try To Be Perfect by Author Kathryn Maeglin

HunkaHunkaCover225pixelsYou heard it here first. I am a fan of writing horrible drafts. Not publishing them, not reading them, but the only way I can get from HERE to THERE and from THIS to THAT is to let go of any notion of perfectionism in writing. You know, the same philosophy I have with the laundry. That’s not to be said that I don’t polish my work to a shine in the end, the way I iron my clothes (yes I do, pretty much daily). But to get there I LET GO.

Today, author Kathryn Maeglin shares her thoughts on perfectionism as well as her Serenity Prayer for Perfectionists. Do you need to reform? Or do you have advice? Chime in below.

And please welcome Kathryn Maeglin to Women’s Fiction Writers.

Amy xo

Continue reading

How Many Dead Flowers Does It Take To Edit A Novel?

editing office

This is what editing looks like for me. I figure this is a service to aspiring authors and winsome readers who think writing novels is a pretty job. I mean, it started off that way with the crocheted blanket (circa 1992, made by my grandmother for my oldest when he was born), photos of my childhood street (the inspiration for my novel), the vase full of yellow blossoms, ample natural and artificial light, and a dog who lies on the bed and stares at me. The notebook on the floor is so that I remember to see it, which might not have happened if it was on the desk. It was there for days. The cups are coffee-scented reminders of days gone by. I rinse them when I remember, or when they become science experiments. I hate science.

And this, my friends, was two weeks ago.

So I’m sure you’ve surmised from the mess that IZZY is coming along great. The mess may be unbecoming but it’s not daunting to IZZY or me. I’m now fine-tuning IZZY into the character you all deserve to read about, with a story to match her wit, her troubles, and her resolve, and with secrets that will make you wonder what you really know about your own friends and family.

In addition to editing, I’m happy to say that winter has finally ended in Chicagoland. Although I’m definitely indoorsy, I have the potted herbs and hanging baskets to prove I have a bit of a green thumb, at least until it’s more than 100 degrees. Doing something besides editing—like gardening or exercising or driving or showering—always helps me work out a problem or issue with a scene or a sentence or a word choice.

As does snacking.

red fish

Red fish are a perk of the job. This writing gig is 24/7. IZZY and her cohorts are never far from my thoughts. My fingers are never far from a keyboard. Or SkinnyPop.

Editing a novel: it’s consuming, it’s enchanting, it’s hard work—it’s like rearranging your favorite furniture and then finding the room looks only a little different, but infinitely better.

Hope you’re enjoying summer! I’ll back with more IZZY news (like a new title, perhaps) as soon as I can be!

In the meantime, tell me: is someone’s character linked to the truths they tell, or to their lies?

Amy xo 

 

Author Interview: Kellie Coates Gilbert Juggles Writing, Life, And A New Novel With Finesse, Wisdom, And Humor

A-Woman-of-FortuneMy friend, author Kellie Coates Gilbert, is here today to share with us her new novel, her theories on women’s fiction, and how she manages a full writing life and a full life in general and how she does it all so well.

Please welcome Kellie Coates Gilbert to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

 

Continue reading

Guest Post: Mary Gottschalk Discusses The Difference Between Memoir Vs. Novel Writing (Other Than The Obvious!)

AFittingPlace_FrontCover_3.5I remember the first time I thought, “Hey, I’ll write a novel.” It was immediately followed by the thought, “What am I? Crazy?” I was steeped in the journalist world of who, what, where, when, and how; my writing life was comprised of truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I’m glad I took the leap even though the answer might still be that yes, I’m a little crazy. 

Today, Mary Gottschalk shares with her experience of going from the idea of a memoir to that of a novel. 

Please welcome Mary to Women’s Fiction Writers!

Amy xo

Memoir Vs. Novel: Training Wheels for Any Writer

by Mary Gottschalk

Continue reading

Author Linda Pennell Writes History Fiction, Embraces Social Media, And Laughs At Those Who Belittle Women’s Fiction

Confederado-Soulmate 105_105x158As an author of contemporary fiction, I always jump at the chance to ask questions of historical fiction authors. To me, the research process seems laborious and daunting—but to them, it drives the story and fuels their creativity. Today, author Linda Pennell shares with us a little of her inspiration, method, and how she combines her love of the past with the social media frenzy of today. I also love her attitude toward the scuttlebutt surrounding the women’s fiction label. 

Please welcome Linda Pennell to Women’s Fiction Writers.

Amy xo

 

Author Linda Pennell Writes History Fiction, Embraces Social Media, And Laughs At Those Who Belittle Women’s Fiction

Continue reading

How Editing A Novel Is Like Carrying A Big Purse

Either the answer to my prayers or a full blown nightmare. Not sure which.

Either the answer to my prayers or a full blown nightmare. Not sure which.

JUST A NOTE: THE NEW TITLE FOR “FINDING IZZY LANE” IS “THE GOOD NEIGHBOR.” I HOPE YOU’LL LOOK FOR IT IN 2015!

I found a banana at the bottom of my purse. There was no smell, no recollection of a lost snack. I was just in there, elbow deep, rooting around for a tissue (didn’t have one), or maybe a lip gloss (always have two), and found fruit. I hadn’t even remembered putting it in there. Out it went. Obviously at some point I thought I needed a banana in my purse, likely an effort to stave off plummeting blood sugar on some lone suburban excursion. But when I found the banana I realized I hadn’t needed it when I thought I would — and there was no reason to save it. I had other awesome things in my purse (entire case of pens, mini hairbrush, four eyeglass cleaners, cinnamon Altoids—the best) and that I would never miss the banana.  I also realized that if I wanted a banana, I could always get another one.

At the end of the week I received my edits for FINDING IZZY LANE, my next novel. Getting those pages in the mail in a big envelope with a St. Martin’s Press return address was the same kind of rush I get when I find that brand new perfect purse. Granted, a novel isn’t perfect (ever), but especially not in the revision stages. Yet, there is inherent, undeniable thrill in potential. Like with an empty purse.

When I was writing FINDING IZZY LANE I took a somewhat different approach from when I was writing THE GLASS WIVES. Frankly, that was easy, as my early drafts of THE GLASS WIVES had no real “approach.” This time, I followed advice from my editor (as much as I could). She had told me once that it’s easier to take things out than put things in—so instead of writing sparse, which is my inclination, I tried to fill things out as much as possible, knowing that I could go in later and pull out what I didn’t need or want. Like the banana! When in doubt, I often left things in this version of FINDING IZZY LANE, that I might have left out had I been writing THE GLASS WIVES. And while there are certainly places I need to fill out and bump up in FINDING IZZY LANE, I am comfortable with the decision of what I left in initially. I thought I might need them, so they stayed. Now they’ll go. I believe they also gave my editor, and her assistant (who is awesome), a keen insight into the story and characters, even if some of the passages or scenes will be deleted or changed or moved around.

And that’s also like carrying a big purse, or even a small one (I have many of each). I have to make sure that my phone is easily accessible, and that a few key cosmetics are grabbable. I move things between pockets inside and out, check to make sure the key is where it needs to be. Doesn’t matter if it’s a wristlet or a satchel,  I’m a huge re-arranger.

When I’m writing, I think I know the whole story I’m writing but not necessarily the order in which it should be told. I am a cut-and-paste diva, just like in the olden days of my career in PR, I would literally cut and paste columns of copy to layout newsletters and brochures. I had a keen eye for being able to make everything fit and an uncanny knack for writing headlines that precisely spanned their allotted widths (thank you, Temple University Journalism degree). Nowadays, there’s no printing out and no rubber cement, but I still clip and maneuver sections to fit—but within the context of the story instead of on the page (that comes later, with page proofs).

And if there is something that comes out of FINDING IZZY LANE that needs to go back in, that’s possible too. Unlike old bananas, I save deleted lines and scenes. But like a banana, if I wait just long enough, I might go back and find that they stink.

I’m excited to get started polishing FINDING IZZY LANE. For the next long while it will be like that brand new purse I now carry every day, breaking it in, making it mine, having it feel like an old friend.

Yes, I love me my purses. And after a healthy time away, I’m loving FINDING IZZY LANE. Even if it was the merging of the two ideas that reminded me most people don’t pull a banana out of their purse and think, “OH MY GAWD. THIS IS JUST LIKE EDITING.”

Welcome back to my world, folks. We’re in for a wild ride.

Amy xo 

Want to read a bit about FINDING IZZY LANE? Click here.

Want to see my FINDING IZZY LANE Pinterest board, complete with what I call, Iz-pirational quotes? Click here.