Archives: Writing

2018 Plans

I did not make any New Year’s resolutions. I’m rather content, in general, with life. I always strive to improve, of course, for myself and for MBW and the HA. But I don’t plan to drop ten pounds or start exercising. I already maintain a healthy weight and workout regularly. I don’t intend to quit smoking; I never started. I’ve got a steady job and roof over my head. There is always room to grow, to do more, to increase in prosperity. I’ll continue striving. But I don’t feel the need to make any concrete resolutions.

I do, however, have plans for the year.

LA and a Writer’s Workshop

What a weekend. I’m writing from a hotel lobby in Los Angeles. I mentioned before that a creative organization was flying me down to LA to participate in a writer’s workshop. Well, that’s done. Now I can recap the weekend while waiting for my ride to the airport.

The flight down was fine. Enjoyable even. Shuttle van hell proved less joyful. Let’s just say the trip from airport to hotel required two hours. And let’s never speak of it again.

LA is warm. Did you know that? The blocks are too long and they radiate and magnify the heat. But the tacos are good. Thank you, Daniel, for the tour. Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive. Done and done. I’d come back for the tacos at Grand Central Market. The rest is fine, if you go in for that sort of thing.

Karl Strauss Brewing tells me LA’s beer scene is coming along nicely. I could ask for a greater concentration, but as a visitor I’ll humbly accept what I can get.

The workshop was a treat. The list of mentors, faculty, and speakers was — with the exception of yours truly — distinguished. In fact the roster of student/attendees was impressive. I’m not going to name drop, so you’ll just have to take my word.

My part of the proceedings went off without a hitch. I don’t believe I embarrassed myself. The conversations over the course of the weekend scintillated and entertained. Well worth the trip. Hard to believe I got paid for this. I mean, I’m going to cash the check, don’t get me wrong. But the weekend proved more pleasure than work.

I feel energized. I’m looking forward to opening the laptop again once I’m on the plane and letting the words flow. The goal: complete chapter two before Portland.

All the Latest

“So, what is new with you, Ken?”

I’m glad you asked, fictitious interlocutor. A couple of items have firmed up since last time I wrote, so I’m more comfortable mentioning them. I’m never truly comfortable mentioning anything that smacks of self-promotion, but this is the gig. No point whining unduly.

The first item I’d like to mention is that I’ve been invited as one of the panelists for the 2017 Calliope Authors Workshop. The organizers are flying me down to Los Angeles next month and putting me up in a hotel. I’ll sit in on a panel with two other writers and a moderator and do my best to help advise the aspiring authors who’ve signed up for the workshop. You, in the back, stop snickering. Anyway, that will be the weekend of September 9, if any of you of reading this are in LA and want to say hello.

Editing Purgatory

I suppose I should write about Father’s Day. But I’m busy enjoying it. Why write about it? Instead, I want to jot down a few thoughts about editing, since I’m currently wallowing in editing purgatory. Feel my pain.

Imagine you’ve finished creating a jigsaw puzzle. You’re happy with the picture. It’s attractive and you like the complexity of the manner in which the pieces slot together. Now imagine you get some notes with a few requests for changes.

Okay, stepping out of the metaphor for a moment, this is what happens after the publisher hands your manuscript over to an editor. You get suggestions. Requests that this happen sooner in the story, that that bit gets cut, that this description is excessive. Etc.

So, returning to the metaphor, you attempt to comply. You remove a piece or two, add one, move a few around. But once you’ve done that most of the rest of the pieces no longer slot neatly together and your picture collapses amid a cascade of disconnects. You need to adjust everything in order to once again present an attractive picture. And you can only hope that it resembles the picture you had in mind when you first began creating it.

It can become rather frustrating. But once you see that puzzle in a shiny new box on the toy store shelf, that frustration reduces to a dim memory. All the frantic juggling you’ve done was worth it the effort. And you can enjoy the moment. Until the next time.

I’m hoping to get that point again soon, after I’ve clambered out of this purgatorial pit. For now, I’m going to let Father’s Day distract me. Tomorrow, back to ascending the Sisyphean slope.

Ahem! Announcements.

I played coy a bit ago, teasing some news. That’s because I don’t like to offer news only to later have to issue a retraction. Now it can be revealed. (Passive voice, ugh. But in context it does read better than “Now I can reveal it.”) Both parties signed the contract rendering this news legit. So, without further blather: