Tag Archives: literature

Quote Day #12

A little more Thomas Wolfe for everyone. 🙂

“All things belonging to the earth will never change-the leaf, the blade, the flower, the wind that cries and sleeps and wakes again, the trees whose stiff arms clash and tremble in the dark, and the dust of lovers long since buried in the earth-all things proceeding from the earth to seasons, all things that lapse and change and come again upon the earth-these things will always be the same, for they come up from the earth that never changes, they go back into the earth that lasts forever. Only the earth endures, but it endures forever.”

― Thomas Wolfe, You Can’t Go Home Again


Quote Day #10

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.”

–Virginia Wolfe, A Room of One’s Own.


“There is a difference between a book of two hundred pages from the very beginning, and a book of two hundred pages which is the result of an original eight hundred pages. The six hundred are there. Only you don’t see them.” –Eliezer ‘Elie’ Wiesel


Quote Day #6

Nope, did not forget. I’ve got two quotes about writing today. Enjoy!


“Substitute “damn” every time you’re inclined to write “very”; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.”

–Mark Twain


“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”  –Ernest Hemingway


The ah-ha moments are what get me. I like having them in my writing. I like good surprises. Admittedly, in most cases of my writing, I wish they would happen earlier, but I’ll be grateful when they happen.

Recently, I was editing a chapter on my first novel. I wasn’t setting out to do anything major. (I have comma issues.) I went over a chapter I knew well, which was a conversation between two men about a third. Let’s say Man A, B & C. So Man-A reveals something to Man-B about Man-C.  Both the first two men know the third and have for many years, and I did a little tinkering with the conversation, though not much. I went onto the next chapter, where I did have to fix a plot point to match a change I had made further down the line. But the conversation I left behind stayed in the back of my mind. Something has always bothered me about the scene. It’s a necessary scene, revealing a few things about Man-C that will be important, but one plot point always seemed wrong.

I have strange reactions to my ah-ha moments. I can remember some of them so well, it’s like I re-live them. This one happened as I got home from work last week. I parked the car, opened the door and wham! Like a literary realization walked up and smacked me. I absolutely knew why the scene bothered me, and how to fix it. It wasn’t that the information I was revealing was unimportant, but that it absolutely did not belong in said Chapter. The reason was that both men would know such an occurrence happened in their friend’s life. Some events change people, and this tidbit is one such event. Why wouldn’t Man-B know this already????? was pretty much what came screaming into my mind. So today I sat down and deleted a small chunk of the scene, added a few sentences here or there to tighten it up, and hit save, satisfied in my work.

What really excites me is that I get to hold onto this information for when it will make the biggest impact. Fingers crossed that if my books ever hit shelves, e- or real, then my readers will like surprises as much as me. 🙂

Down for the … Ooh, shinies! … count.

I’ve never been one for keeping track of my word count as I write, in spite of what the rest of the entire writing universe does. I suppose I should start. I usually focus on how many more pages I got down, or set my goal of finishing one chapter and starting another. Supposing aside, I’m fairly certain I’m not going to start counting up. Instead, I’ve been inspired to count down.

Ask someone how long a novel is *supposed* to be and you’ll get a variety of answers. The best one I found was: As many words as it takes. Sure, after the initial thing is finished, there is a lot of chopping to be done in rewrites and editing. Changing a few sentences to entire scenes or chapters can make a huge difference, not only in word count, but in what the story has to say. I know from where my book stood when I first reached The End, I have gotten rid of a lot of unnecessary crap. I still have more, but I’m slow at these things, if everyone hasn’t figured that out yet.

At this moment, I am breaking my plans to finish editing Chapter 25 of my first novel. It has been a morning of distractions. Laundry, a run for Krispy Kreme (a husband who voluntarily feeds his wife K.K. doughnut holes while she’s driving – that’s Love!) and said husband watching something on Netflix that interests me have all pulled me away from work. Not to mention I have actual paying-job work in a few hours. When I got up this morning, I even reset the time of the alarm to have quiet editing time before Tim got up. I might have fiddled around with my iPhone, and did some organizing of my photos on my laptop.

I suspect the real reason I am making zero progress on the last few pages of Chapter 25 is because I am editing an interaction between two characters who have not seen each other in years, and it’s not that pleasant. It shouldn’t be. I need to make it more unpleasant than its original state. Ugh, I say. I see paper and pen in my near future. And, yeah, one of those numbers up there is my first novel’s word count.

My last distraction for the day is thinking of holiday candy. If you are anything like my husband and I, you might notice the change in seasons by the arrival of holiday packaged treats. (It helps that I work in retail) Reese’s pumpkins, christmas trees, hearts or eggs anyone? I like the spring for those little foil-wrapped unhatched chickens. Oh, yeah, Cadbury Eggs. Last week, I noticed a new product in the stockroom at work, and gasp! Apparently, I wasn’t the only one, and will have to fight two other people for these bits of heavenly goodness.


Sometimes the old way is better.

If I’m stuck, really stuck, on an idea or scene, or the direction my character is going, I will abandon my laptop for pen and paper. There is something about writing by hand that allows me to work out the kinks. Maybe it’s because I am actually forming words, rather than just typing them. It’s easier to mark out crap I don’t like, not taking the time to highlight and delete, or hold down the Backspace key, or worry about misspellings because I’m typing too fast.  What is that phrase? My brain is working faster than my hands? Something like that. People that use a computer or laptop regularly for any sort of writing often spout those words. It’s true I guess. At times you know what you need to say and are concentrating so hard on the thought that you sort of abandon control of your fingers in order to get it all out. A couple of weeks ago at work, we were having a discussion about spelling, and my manager, an admitted bad speller, used that phrase. She also lamented the absence of a spell-check on the word process program we have on the office computer, but that is a whole different topic. 🙂

Writing by hand seems to slow down the thought process. You can’t think too far ahead because you must take the time to write. Using a pen or pencil connects you physically to your words. The brain must wait for the hand to finish before moving on to the next thought. Unless you don’t want to be able to read the writing for later use, like typing what you wrote.

I think Elmore Leonard sums it up best in his article The Lost Art of Writing by Hand:

“I write using longhand because writing is rewriting and if I’m to compose on a typewriter, I’d spend half my time x-ing out lines.  I write and cross out not wanting what I write to sound like writing; write a few more lines until the rhythm of the narrative or dialogue exchanges kicks in and I keep going, the lines getting closer together though rarely filling a page before I’m crossing out again.  Finally I stop and type on an IBM Wheelwriter 1000 and the handwritten pages go into a basket.  The typed pages – hoping to get four or five clean ones in an 8 hour shift – are revised the following day.

Well-meaning friends urge me to use a computer, but I don’t more for the dull sound of the keys or the idea of looking at my work on the screen rather than a sheet of yellow paper, and when you delete, I’m told, it’s gone forever.  The lines I cross out are still there and sometimes find their way back into the work.” –Esquire Magazine, Feb 2002 (excerpt)


Quote Day #2

Two today. One from Poe, whom many people think of as a master of horror, but actually wrote on a great many subjects and genres. My second quote is from the first prime minister of an independent India. Enjoy!


“Beauty of whatever kind, in its supreme development, invariably excites the sensitive soul to tears.” –Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

“Life is like a game of cards. The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will.” –Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964)

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