Some Gems--in no particular order:
- Every single thing in a book needs to belong and moves the plot forward.
- Don't edit as you write. Just get it down. If you edit as you go it will be hard for you to cut that scene later as you will have so much invested in it.
- Write the whole book and then let it sit until the scenes, descriptions, etc. blur. Then you can go back to edit. Take whole scenes out. Fix others.
- Is your writing fresh?
- A good beginning has poetry in it--no extra words. Tell what the story is about without telling the whole story.
- You usually mention the main character right off. Your beginning is your chance to connect with the reader.
- Know what makes your story interesting and put that in the opening.
- Memoir: Look for the hole in your heart. If waring men would sit down together and say, "Tell me about your mother. Tell me about your father. Your childhood." If we could get the stories of the holes in their hearts, war would cease to exist.
- Spend some time writing the blurb that goes on the book jacket.
- When book drags throw in a new character or bump up the tension. Make your villain more villainous, your hero more heroic. The strength of your antagonist will make your protagonist stronger.
- If you would make a commitment to write only five minutes a day you can probably write a half page. Multiply that by 365 days and you'll have over 150 pages. A whole book. In only five minutes a day!
Exercise: Kathi Appelt--She put the word "Summer" on the board and then she filled the board with summer words, everything from mosquitoes to fireworks. She told us to choose three and then write a paragraph, using all of them. The first sentence could not use the articles "A" and "the." She gave us five minutes to do this.
This was mine:
Tomatoes, ripe, splitting at the stem end, oozing juice. I picked them, barefoot and bareheaded, the sun hot on my shoulders. The salt shaker, abandoned in the garden until the crickets sang and Mom needed to salt the beans. I snuck the salt shaker into the kitchen; we were both sticky with summer's red juice.
See you tomorrow.