Editors and Writers

Autocrit, an online editing service which I use because it is useful in many areas of revision, offered a deal before Christmas: for $99US, editorial comment on the first 20 pages of a manuscript by The Editorial Department. Renni Brown, who wrote Self Editing for Fiction Writers, is one of the founders of the company.

The editor assigned to me, Lindsay Guzzaro, is a well-respected editor and author. She identified what worked and what didn’t in the first 20 pages.

Now I have to decide whether I can use her comments to improve not just the first 20 pages, but the remainder of the manuscript. She did recommend I read Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, which I did some years ago and will do again, and Syd Field, The Fundamentals of Screenwriting, not because I am writing a script, but for his teaching about plot and dialogue.

I’m part way through Field’s book, and I must say he is an excellent teacher and I am finding the book relevant to my work.

When I finish reading, I’ll begin the task for 2015, which is a rewrite of the manuscript, bearing in mind advice from Lindsay Guzzaro,  teachers Ruth E. Walker and Gwynn Scheltema of Writescape, as well as teaching from Barbara Kyle at a recent retreat. Too much advice? Perhaps, but I see a way forward now.

Also reading Between Gods, by Alison Pick, an intimate biography of a woman’s search for her Jewish identity.

Finished reading The Best Laid Plans, by Terry Fallis, a hilarious political comedy. A recommended read for political junkies.


Elora Writers Festival

On Sunday, May 26, I attended the Elora Writers Festival, an afternoon of readings by six authors, several of them local to Elora-Fergus. One of the readers commented that the day’s readings had taken the audience on a journey from the sexy inhabitants of  Sonia Day’s garden to the streets of Budapest with Ailsa Kay. Andrew Westoll’s The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary  left some of us with hearts broken by the sadness of their fate  while laughing at the hapless author’s first day among them. Mystery writer Robert Rotenberg is  very much a Toronto man. Indeed the city plays as important a role in his books as some of his characters. Carrie Synder took us to war in Nicaragua and Terry Fallis brought us back to Canada and Northern British Columbia.

I spoke and read at two events so far this year and wanted to learn some of the methods other writers used to keep an audience engaged. Of course the methods used were as diverse as the writers themselves: Sonia Day’s funny, erotic reading, Robert Rotenberg’s engagement of his listeners as a sort of cheering section for a candidate for Mayor of Toronto, Terry Fallis’s sharing of his personal experiences in Northern B.C.

Ailsa Kay: Under Budapest http://gooselane.com/books.php?ean=9780864926814

Carrie Snyder: The Juliet Stories http://www.houseofanansi.com/The-Juliet-Stories-P1302.aspx

Robert Rotenberg: Strangle Hold  http://www.robertrotenberg.com

Sonia Day: The Untamed Garden, A Revealing Look At Our Love Affair with Plants http://www.soniaday.com

Andrew Westoll: The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary http://www.andrewwestoll.com

Terry Fallis: Up and Down http://terryfallis.com

What did I learn? The audience seemed to respond best to writers who shared parts of their lives as well as their writing.

I’m looking forward to reading Robert Rotenberg’s latest. He inscribed it for me and when I told him I also wrote,  encouraged me to “write every day”.

A fun, interesting afternoon. Don’t miss it in 2014.

Otherwise, we had  a terrific weekend staying with our friends at The Gardeners Cottage. http://gardenerscottage.ca