Friday, October 05, 2007

Any Questions About Writing or the Writing Business?

Part of my consulting work with other writers is answering questions by phone, things like: how long should I wait before calling the agent who's looking at my work? Or: can I send a story to two journals at once? How do I get myself back to writing? I do charge for these phone calls.

Today, however is FREEBIE DAY for writers with questions. Or, more accurately, freebie post.

If you'd like to send a question in the comment section of this post, I'll do my best to answer it. Not, of course, that I have all the answers. But I can tell you what I'd do, or what my experience and that of other writers has been.

And perhaps other commenters can offer their solutions.

Y'all have been quite helpful with some of your comments to me about my dilemmas. If you think of anything I can offer you here in dealing with yours, do SEND YOUR QUESTION. If this draws interest, I'll continue to do it again from time to time.


Debra Whaley said...

Oh Peggy, I do love the sound of that...FREEBIE FRIDAY! Wouldn't the world be a lot more fun if businesses and individuals alike, would offer this concept once in a while? I'm not saying that people should give things away, but every once in a while, it would be quite a treat to be able to "pick someone's brain" in exchange for them to be able to pick yours! I know that this does occur, but I like your "official" name for it, very much!

I am still in the very early stages of deciding how I would like to present my story, as well as my coping techniques for raising a family while living with a chronic illness. When and if, I am able to progress with this, I would love to have the opportunity to pay for your expertise, but in the meantime, where do you suggest that I begin? I know that is a very ambiguous question, but each time I start to write, I become overwhelmed by all of the thoughts that crowd my thinking. Is there some way that you might suggest quieting all of the clutter, so that I might be able to bring out the more important and useful points?

Thank you so much for your generous offer to answer a question! I really enjoy reading your site. I find the things that you post to be very thought provoking!

Peggy said...

Thanks for your question, Debra.

Here's what I'd do. I'd make a list of all the points I wanted to make in the book, large and small. This will continue to be a list in progress. Also write down particular moments/scenes that illustrate those points, as they come to mind.

Ask yourself what's the one-sentence idea of the book that pretty much encompasses the smaller points. What's the main thing you want the reader to take away?

Then choose a moment in your life you can use to illustrate that point. Something your readership will identify with.

Begin writing that scene. At some point, maybe a subsequent draft of the section, weave into it the point you're wanting to make: what this book will offer the reader.
As other ideas come to mind while you write, jot them down on the list to deal with later.

Hope this helps.

Debra Whaley said...

Thank you so much, Peggy. I really appreciate your advice, and will definitely begin utilizing the steps that you recommended. I like the idea of tackling this like a puzzle, kind of putting the outline into place and then filling in the center, later on. That sounds much more manageable to me.

This is very useful information and has given me a good place to zero in on. Thank you for giving me a great way to organize my thoughts. I am very grateful for your feedback about how to get things more organized.

Have a great evening! Hopefully, you are in the middle of a restful sleep.

Peggy said...

I'm glad it's useful, Debra. And at 12:05, I'm likely starting to contemplate the concept of going to bed...but not there yet.