Sunday, December 20, 2009

Writer's Digest

Christy here... My January 2010 issue of Writer's Digest has sat on the counter in the kitchen for several days. Inside the plastic wrap, the renewal bill waits for me.

I hadn't opened the mag or the bill, until yesterday. I'd actually considered NOT renewing. My time is short and rarely do I take time to sit down to watch television or a movie or even read a magazine I've paid for a subscription.

Yesterday, was different.

I did all three.

After some quick Christmas shopping at my favorite store, I came home exhausted and took a nap sitting straight up on the couch. Then later, my hubby wanted to go out to dinner, and after that, I still felt tired. With my brain like mashed potatoes, but not as tasty, I decided I'd chill out and open up the 90th edition of Writer's Digest.

Two of the feature articles hit home for me. A Need-To-Read kind of article. "Take Your Novel to the Finish Line" by Lin Enger was definitely something I needed to absorb, especially since these revisions I'm under seem like they will never wrap up.

Lin points out "4 revision strategies that make your novel go the distance."

1) Write the whole first draft first - and fast.
** Good news for you pantzers out there **
He gives a good opinion for this type of writing, specifically, "Once you've blasted through the end of a book, you have a much better sense of what belongs in the beginning and middle sections. And to your great advantage you won't have wasted your time writing, revising and polishing unnecessary scenes that will only end up on the cutting-room floor."

2)Evaluate the Dramatic Function of Every Scene or Unit of Action. Lin suggests when you are in the process of revising, to "begin rereading your first draft and ask yourself this essential question at the opening of every chapter or scene: 'What exactly happens here, and how does it surprise my character or offer some new perception to the reader?"

3)Identify Lulls in Action Where You Can Insert Mini-Scenes.

4) Varying Your Methods of Beginning Chapters.
**Ah, I like this one too... I think readers like a little variety thrown in. They want to be able to take a breath from the scene they just came out of, but they want a reason to keep reading, too.**

And the other article is "90 Secrets of Best-Selling Authors". Quotes from Ray Bradbury to Stephen King to Jacquelyn Mitchard to Andy Rooney. I liked reading these quotes because it shows how all writers are coming from different perspectives, as is their approach to writing.

If you can pick up your own copy, or be on the lookout for these articles online, I suggest taking a moment to read both articles.

Writers, is there any writing publication you can't live without?

Readers, what about you? Will you never give up your Good Housekeeping monthly subscription or are you a die-hard Cosmo girl?


  1. Christy,

    I haven't read my latest edition of Writer's Digest either. I'll have to unearth it (from somewhere in my house) to read the revisions article. Sounds like something that could help to spur me on right now.

    BTW- You deserved a day off. Consider yourself worth it!

  2. Thanks Dianna, but I feel like I've had too many days off! And the year is almost up! My goals are in the frying pan, but the sizzling I hear isn't a good thing!!!

  3. No writer's pubs I have to have, but I can't do without my Southern Living magazine.