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Flash Light

Image     A flash of brilliance, creative energy bursting forth against blind monotony … three posts this date on whytedovepress.wordpress.com feature the contrast of dark and light.  Explore their visions.

Thinking or Writing?

Thinking or Writing?

I know, I know … a first draft is supposed to be a rough draft.  I’m not supposed to stop and edit, take time to tinker with word choices and sentence structure, and rewrite my first chapter a dozen times before moving on to the next.  How can I expect to finish a novel that way?  No way!  I’m supposed to write as if running a sprint, not a marathon–full speed, stopping for nothing, not even to catch my breath.

Then, when I’ve reached the finished line … I won’t be finished.  I will discover I’ve been running the first lap of what is a marathon, after all.

I’m beginning to think this is hard for me because it isn’t the way anything else in life is supposed to be managed: marrying, raising children, cooking supper.  Is it?  Imagine if I ran a payroll (my day job) that way–just get it done and then fix the errors afterward.  But running payroll isn’t a creative endeavor … not like marriage, child-rearing, supper, art.

Art in Action

Art in Action

Watching a video of a young artist, drawing a face from out of blank canvas, helps me find my answer in a question.  A hint of a face, a rough sketch of a face, an almost face, a recognizable face, a remarkable face … what if she had to get the chin just so before she could let herself go … on … to freedom … to free the face, to free herself … to finish?

What Makes a Novel?

A novel without a plot is … a story without a purpose … is a character without a goal.

As Antoine de Saint-Expury stated: “A goal without a plan is just a wish.”  To which I add: “A plan without a deadline is just a wishlist.”

What makes a novel?  A purpose-driven character and a writer with a deadline.

My first novel, Man in the Moon, sprang from my first writing assignment and budded during my final writing assignment of a course by the Institute of Children’s Literature.  I had a goal, plan, and deadline.  So, too, did my main character.

Now for the sequel, Milky Way Home … .  What does Rory Shaver, my main character, want–what are his goals?  How will he attain them and against what odds?  How long does he have–the deadline?  When and where do these events transpire, and with whom does he interact?  The answers will take my idea on its journey to becoming a novel.

But I must travel the same path to become the novelist … again.  My goal: to write this sequel.  My plan: hmmm … need a basic outline, a framework, flexible but providing direction.  And voila!–what I’d been lacking: a deadline.  I have determined, if my LORD GOD is willing, to complete the rough draft by 9/18/13.

Fans Fan Flames

Last spring I gave an author talk to an AP 6th-grade class. Boys and girls hugged me and shook my hand, naming my book (Man in the Moon) as their favorite. They asked thoughtful questions about the characters, plot, and how the book came to be.  They asked for a sequel.  What more could an author want to light the spark of creativity and fan the flames of inspiration?

Hey, Give It a Try!

A few weeks ago I responded to a writing gig posted on Craig’s list.  Last week, I got a reply.  It seems I’d been picked as one of an elite few the company invited to submit a sample blog entry about the topic of Human Resources Recruiting.  What I know about that subject might fill a teaspoon with an 1/8 tsp left over.  I almost blew it off, thinking: “It’ll take you too long to figure out what to say and then too long to write it, it’s probably a scam anyway just to get free blogging, surely you don’t expect to be paid for this, and you probably don’t want the gig anyway because who are you kidding you know nothing about HRR.”

But something in me wanted to have a go at it, to pick up the proferred gauntlet, take up the challenge.  I surfed the web and found some info on recruting employees that sparked an idea on the subject.  I fanned the spark with a few memories of my own job-hunting experiences: getting laid off, getting hired, wishing applications had room for essays explaining the erratic ins and outs of my work experiences.  I actually had fun writing something totally out of my usual zone.  When I e-mailed it to the company, I wasn’t concerned about whether or not I got the gig, just glad I’d given it my best shot.

This week, I got another e-mail.  They found my sample blog entry “interesting” and wished to publish it.  On the other hand, they had decided not to hire a writer to produce weekly blog entries.  So I didn’t get the gig, but they liked my submission.  And they’re going to pay for it!  Cool. 

Because I let myself write outside the lines of my historical article / technical how-to / fiction addiction box, I had fun affirming my professionalism and versatility as a writer, renewed my hope that not every writing gig is a scam, and I made some money.

That reminds me … have you entered the Whyte Dove Press writing contest yet?  No entry fee.  Cash prizes.  What have you got to lose?

Maybe I could give you $325 instead, or even $375. 
You would never have to pay me back.

Seriously.

But you have to act now.  Deadline for this offer is 6pm July 4th.

My web site, Whyte Dove Press, is having a writing contest.  NO ENTRY FEE.  You can enter as many times as you want.  See www.whytedovepress.com for details.

First prize for an essay 750-1500 words is $100 and second prize is $35.  First prize for a story 750-1500 words is $100 and second prize is $35.  First prize poem is $40 and second is $15.  If you’re between 13-19 years old, you can compete in the Youth category and win $50 for an essay of 500-1000 words.  Children ages 12 and under can win $25 for an essay 250-500 words.

If you’re a beginning or lesser known writer, this could be your chance to get a published clip to attach to the next query you e-mail to a magazine editor or book agent.  If you’re the parent, aunt/uncle/ grandparent, brother/sister, friend of a young person who has writing aspirations, this is that young person’s big chance to see what it’s like to be published; we will publish every entry, winning or not, in the Youth and Children categories as a reward for the effort involved.    

Winning entries will be published on the Whyte Dove Press web site.  Non-winning entries of quality could be published on the site as well.  Publication on WDP is non-exclusive; so you can showcase your efforts elsewhere as long as WDP can post your entry, too, any time between August 2008 – February 2009.

Why not give it a try?  We’ve got to give the money away to somebody.  It may as well be you!

GavelWhat makes me think I have the right to judge others?

Because I’m the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of Whyte Dove Press, that’s why.

Whyte Dove Press is having its First Annual World-wide Web Writers’ Contest.

$400 CASH PRIZES

NO ENTRY FEE!

This contest is open to anyone on the planet except me and the Associate Editor of Whyte Dove Press. Entries must be in English, but it doesn’t matter if English is your first, second, or humpteenth (a SE TX expression meaning a very large ordinal number) language.

Categories are Non-Fiction, Fiction, Poetry, Youth (ages 13-19 only), and Children (ages 12 and under).

There’s no limit to the number of entries you can submit, and since there is no entry fee, what have you got to lose? The only stipulation is that we have the right to publish winning pieces and the option to publish non-winning pieces on our web site for a limited period of time. That’s it.

For details, click on this link: CONTEST.

Best wishes!

Gavel Girl