To Pseudonym or Not to Pseudonym

Shakespeare very likely asked this question as well–though I’m sure he did it with more eloquence.

Whether or not to use a pseudonym (a pen name) is a question pretty much every writer asks themselves when considering publication. There are plenty of reasons to use one, and just as many not to. Read more

A Cautionary Tale: 3 Writing Rules That Can Derail Your Story

Lisa Cron wrote a fantastic blog post on Writer Unboxed, outlining three oft-preached and just as oft-misapplied ‘rules’ that can derail an otherwise brilliantly executed story.

Last year I had occasion to read a batch of ten page manuscript submissions in a hurry, one right after the other. What I noticed was startling in its consistency.

All of the writers had clearly spent time learning their craft. All of them had something to say. And all of them, by meticulously following what they’d been taught, had rendered their stories mute in the exact same way.

It was heartbreaking, given the talent in the room.

Read more

The Home Stretch

Tomorrow is August 26th, which will mark exactly two months from the day I finished my second draft of Chaos. Instead of diving right into draft 3, as I intended, I had a number of non-writing-related projects fall into my lap over the summer. While I’m not usually happy about having very little time to write, I think it may work out to be a good thing in this instance. A little distance from a story is helpful when you’re contemplating changes on any significant level.

As I cast nervous glances at the novel, and the list of revision ideas I’ve compiled over the past few weeks (even if I’m not writing, I’m still THINKING about writing!), I’m also thinking more about what will come after this next pass. I’m very much hoping that draft 3 will be my last major rewrite before I start down the path to try to get it published.

CJ Jessop, a good writer friend, is a little further down that path herself. Right now her novel, which I had the opportunity to beta-read (and vastly enjoyed!), is out on submission and she keeps me regularly updated on how that’s going. While I agonize her over every rejection, because I like both her and the book so much, it’s been neat watching her go through the submission process, and I think it’s taken a little of the fear out of it for me.

I’ll be back to biting my nails to a quick once it’s time to send Chaos out, no doubt, but it’s nice to feel like the path is being personally blazed for you before you get there. If you want to read along with CJ as she attempts to get her first novel published, you can check out her blog here.

~ RM

Text & Subtext

One of my bestest writing buddies, Ashley Capes (a beta reader for Chaos, and a fantastic writer & poet) has a post on his blog titled Suggestiveness and Clarity in Poetry

I’m a big proponent of studying poetry, even if you’re strictly a prose writer (as I am). Even if you’re not going for poetic prose, poetry can teach you some fantastic wordsmithing skills, such as how to use one perfect word instead of a half dozen pretty good ones–getting more bang for your proverbial buck. Another thing poetry excels at, especially the haiku style Ashley is particularly adept at, is the art of suggesting without outright stating. Subtext!

I love me some good subtext in a story. While I want to be understood, and not frustratingly vague, I’m very fond of the practice of leaving room for reader interpretation, because I believe that’s what makes a story feel personal. So how does one strike the right balance? Ashley takes a look at the two sides and poses the question “How much work do you want/want your reader to do? And how clear is too clear?”

Read the full post here.

~ RM