Thursday, February 04, 2010

My Favourite Writing Blogs - The Educational Ones

Recently I was asked to write an article (which turned into a short series - another story) about blogs and twitter and stuff. I seemed to be viewed as a person who uses these tools a lot and effectively (little do they know the truth). So it had me thinking about blogs that I read. I follow over 100 blogs which is very scary indeed. However that does not mean I read 100 blogs a day (I would time for nothing else), but I do scan on my blogger dashboard to see what's new and if it interests me. I always read the blogs of close friends being a nosey sort, but other than that I pick and choose with certain blogs flowing in and out of favour. However there are a few blogs that merit visiting every time they post because I always learn from them - let's call these educational. So I thought I would share with you my must read educational blogs.

The GOLD category goes to four:

Julie Cohen (confession here - she is a good friend too) doesn't always post on craft (many times it is gorgeous men which of course I don't bother with (hah), but when she does I know I will come away with insights and tools to make my writing stronger. I don't know whether to say Julie is a writer or a teacher first or maybe they are just tied but the woman is amazing. Her recent series on character arcs blows most craft books I have read out of the water. Her books are awesome too and just getting better and better.

Sarah Duncan I know her only through email for the RNA blog and have never read one of her books (soon to be remedied as I picked up her latest A SINGLE TO ROME when I was in the UK) but she has been blogging everyday for the past few months and each day has been a concise lesson in some aspect of writing - each one a jewel.

Anita Burgh (another dear friend) who is posting about once a week answering questions from a group of writers that she mentors. Her answers are like manna from heaven because the come from her years of experience and hit the nail on the head (using all muddled metaphors but it's what it feels like to me).

Help I Need a Publisher is the blog of author Nicola Morgan. She claims to be really grumpy, which I don't agree with but she writes a blog that is full of wonderful writing help so grumpy or not I read it. Recently there was an excellent one of self editing and particularly insightful on use of historical language.

So those are my golden four that I never miss - well, not intentionally. In fact many of the posts I print and save to read over and over again until it sinks into my muddled brain. I could put up an honourable mention list but not today. What are your must not miss educational (writing that is) blogs?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Sentence Struggles

Sorry for my absence from blogging, but traveling kept me busy and also away from my resvision. Now back in the warmth of Dubai I find I need to reaquaint myself with A Cornish House to find the flow again (I had reached page 251 of 391). As always I found mistakes and tweaked a few sentences, but all was going well until eight lines from the end of the chapter. One sentence - one key sentence just didn't say what I wanted it too. Now this particular sentence and I had wrestled several times before - word by word. I thought I had nailed it but no.

For readers unfamiliar with the story in this chapter we have Maddie arriving for the first time at a house she has inherited from a distant relative. She is a grieving widow with a bolshy teenage step-daughter. Most important fact for me in this sentence is that she is an artist.

Here's today's starting version in bold:

She needed a plan, but didn't know where to begin anymore. How could life once be so clear and now so opaque? As she entered the kitchen, her eyes fell on the massive window that dominated one end of the room. It's hand-blown glass offered an alternative vision of the view through each pane.

Through each one of its hand-blown panes an alternative vision of the scenery beyond was framed.

Each pane of hand blown glass framed an alternative vision of the scenery beyond.

Its hand-blown panes framed an alternative vision of the scenery beyond.

None of them quite captures what I want. I guess I need to leave it and move on for now. Hopefully the old unconscious will resolve it or maybe one of you has a solution???? (and yes, Susie, I know I am thinking too much :-) )