I attended another lovely workshop at the Hudson Library (@HudsonLibr) this week in their “Writing to Publish” series. This one was veteran children’s author Tricia Springstubb (@Springstubb), who had great stories to tell, and plenty of advice to dish out.
I’ll write up a full report on what I learned soon, but I wanted to share one gem of a quote that Ms. Springstubb gave early on in her presentation. The poetry of these words struck me, and now I will think of pebbles every time I have a new idea:
Ideas are pebbles to polish, kernels to pop, sparks to fan.
— Tricia Springstubb
She said that, of course, some pebbles aren’t worth polishing, but when you find one that is, it’s a beautiful transformation. So here’s to a handful of pebbles, with at least a few worth polishing!
P.S. Thanks to Tricia Springstubb and the Hudson Library for this wonderful, inspiring event.
Photo of flower in stones by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
Photo of hands with stones by Creative Vix on Stocksnap.io
I just attended a workshop at the library on the subject of self-editing your novel with Jennifer Sawyer Fisher of JSF Editorial. She gave us a good deal of great information, and plenty of examples to help drive the points home.
In no particular order, here are a few of my takeaways:
- I might have to cut back on the subplots
- Trying to push through and edit a full-length novel all in one sitting would be as silly as trying to write the thing all in one sitting.
- Writing and editing go together like peanut butter and jelly. Okay, I made this one up. But it’s still the basic gist of what she said.
- One day, when I write a murder mystery, the rule of thumb is a death in the first three chapters. Don’t need this now, but I’m just filing away the info for later.
- Hiring a good editor is worth every penny. Though Ms. Fisher didn’t specifically say this, I think it was implied. And probably very true.
- This I’ve heard before, but it bears repeating: just because there are super-long books on the bookstore shelves doesn’t mean a first time author is going to get a super-long book published. Cut the fluff.
- When it comes to accepting or rejecting an editor’s, agent’s, or publisher’s suggestions for your book, go with your gut.
- Also not news, but worth repeating: action verbs, action verbs, action verbs.
- I need to stop using the same word so many times in a single sentence/paragraph (for example, I just edited a second word “session” out of my sentence below and replaced it with “workshop”).
- Full page paragraphs are a big no-no.
It was an inspiring session. Thanks to Ms. Fisher and everyone at the Hudson Library and Historical Society who made the workshop possible!
Have you received a great piece of writing or editing advice lately? Please share in the comments.
Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash