Finishing

20170405_070413

Do you have a few unfinished projects lying around? I don’t mean an unfinished sweater you started knitting years ago or clothes to wash. I mean writing projects. For a writer, life is complex. Traveling and going off on a hike with friends are important. Experience is the basis of good writing, but writers must take the time to write. Prioritizing is part of getting things done.

Last year, I set a goal to finish four novels I had written over the past two decades. While writing the novels, I felt compelled to complete three nonfiction books first and published them on Amazon. I edited the novels numerous times and received helpful edits from my critique partners. Then, hired a professional editor. Once she returned them, it meant more editing. So, for the past year I focused on finalizing the novels.

Writing The End of a first draft was a great achievement but then the real work began. If you consider a novel in the 80,000-word range, writing 350 words a day for 228 days would bring you to The End of the first draft. If you are aiming for 100,000 for your genre, you’d finish in a year. That is less than one page of single-spaced manuscript per day.

Some days are more productive than others. I am often up before dawn writing because mornings are my most productive time of day. Find your best time. Most writers can’t write every day, but on days they don’t put words on paper, the stories evolve and solidify in their thoughts.

Rewriting and editing are tedious but must be done to perfection before you query an agent or indie-publish on Amazon or one of many other platforms. After all your personal focus and hours, you may be blinded to serious problems in the storyline or unclear word choices. It is still essential to enlist beta-readers who are voracious readers in the genre and not family members. The hope is to identify problem areas you have not recognized before you proceed to publication.

Whether you are writing fiction or nonfiction, your job is to never bore the reader. Information in a nonfiction work or the story in your novel must be engaging and keep the reader reading. Attending writer conferences, taking classes and participating in online writing skills webinars can be valuable. Many are free, but usually, in the end, will try to sell you something.

Each year, November is National Novel Writing Month; NaNoWriMo for short. If you need a push to finish a project or start a new one, this may be for you. Locally, at Flathead Valley Community College, Kathy Dunnehoff is presenting Novel Challenge. Beginning October 30 for five sessions. She will discuss the craft of writing and how to keep words flowing for the month of November. With concentrated effort you can finish a first draft during the class.

Dennis Foley is teaching Writing the First Novel during fall semester. Check out the online brochure at FVCC, Creative Writing. Authors

The annual Flathead River Writers Conference is September 22 and 23 at FVCC where you can learn from both Kathy and Dennis along with other publishing industry professionals. The brochure and online registration are available: https://www.authorsoftheflathead.org.

Happy writing and reading. Hope to see you at the conference.

Betty Kuffel

Advertisements

September Book News

 

books 9 2018

Book cover banner

Join Author Susan Purvis Tuesday October 2nd

for her official book launch of Go Find.

It’s going to be a festive affair with book signing, music, snacks.

 Reading and Discussion.

A free drink to book purchasers.

Where: Casey’s Whitefish 101 Central Ave. Whitefish, Montana

Time:  6 pm doors open-Book signing, music. 

 7:15 pm Discussion with Susan and Whitefish Review editor Brain Schott and Keith Liggett about her memoir, the writing process and life and love. Q &A for audience.

8:30 pm Book signing and music.

 

NEWS! ANNOUNCING: Go Find will be released early for Flathead River Writers Conference Sept 22nd.  Ten days before general public. On sale at the conference.

Betty Kuffel, Author

Betty’s Book News for September5-6-2018-deadly-pyre-new-front-cover.jpg

Deadly Pyre is book one of the Kelly McKay  medical thriller series. It will be available as a free Kindle on Amazon September 28, 29 and 30th. Please take advantage of the free book and share the information with your friends.

Amazon link

In this book, Dr. Kelly McKay struggles to complete her ER residency at Seattle’s Harbor Medical Center. Ferocious competition, burnout and an unpredictable lover complicate her life. Besides unexplained deaths of patients under her care jeopardizing her career, a sudden increase in stabbing victims points to a serial killer stalking women near the hospital. Will Kelly be next?

 

 

What Our Characters Keep

By  Karen Wills

“All these items you’re safeguarding are, in essence, the relics of your life’s defining moments.”                   Chip and Dan Heath, The Power of Moments

Authors can depict and clarify fictional characters by their keepsakes. Sometimes such objects are discovered and loved in a protagonist’s childhood because they’re connected to influential adults.

overstoryIn Richard Powers’, The Overstory, Nick Hoel, destined to become an artist, is fascinated by a series of photographs taken every month since 1903 of the sentinel chestnut on his family’s farm in Iowa. He keeps the stack of photos intact throughout his life which becomes as singular as the chestnut itself. The tree and the photographs ultimately shape Nick—his values, his devotion to one woman, and his fate.

In another of my favorite novels, A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, gentleman in moscowthe aristocrat Count Alexander Rostov is sentenced during the Russian Revolution to life under house arrest in the Metropol, Moscow’s most luxurious hotel. Moved to a cramped attic room, he must choose only a few possessions to take with him. One choice is a portrait of his deceased younger sister, Helena. He loved her, and her portrait also evokes memories of Idlehour, his family’s country estate. He associates the painting with his idyllic boyhood as part of a refined, privileged, and noble family. The siblings’ history shows the foolishness and sometimes cruelty of the old life as well. Both Helena and Idlehour are part of the beloved lost past. But our charming Count might still have a most surprising future.

In Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, thirteen-year-old Theo rescues a precious painting following a terrorist attack on the museum where the work by the Dutch master Fabritius is part of an exhibit. The attack leaves Theo’s mother dead. He carries the little painting with him for years, never revealing that he has it. Its beauty sustains him through grief, loneliness, and one of the most interesting friendships ever created by an author. At the novel’s end, he ponders everything that has happened, and realizes that he kept the painting first and foremost because it is so touching and exquisite.

goldfinchHe thinks, “And I add my own love to the history of people who have loved beautiful things, and looked out for them…while passing them along literally from hand to hand, singing out brilliantly from the wreck of time to the next generation of lovers, and the next.”

What our characters choose to keep safe can help define them. If we accept that a bit of ourselves exists in each of our characters, perhaps their keepsakes help define us, too.

river with no bridge

Now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kindle
https://karenwills.com
Face Book: Karen Wills Author

Book News August 2018

august 2018

Summer reading always feels special

***

go find 2

 

I have a challenge for the writers in the group.

Recently, I was asked by Flathead Living to submit an excerpt from my book, Go Find which will be released October 2, 2018 by Blackstone Publishing.

Flathead Living didn’t want a synopsis but 200-words or less excerpt that captures the flavor, my voice, my writing style, and essences of my memoir.

This is a great challenge to all of us as writers. What or where is that paragraph in your writing project that sums up what you are trying to communicate? If you had to send the NYT’s 100 words that reveals your writing chops and story line, what would you say? Is it in your current document? I challenge all of you to look for it and write it down and send it to me. I’d love to read it.

For me, my a-ha moment happened when I was three years into writing my memoir. I hadn’t quite linked up the big story line and still felt a little lost in the process. I was on the phone with Poodle Lady, my mentor, BFF, and character in my book. She was training a white standard Poodle in Aspen, Colorado when I met her.  I blurted out to her, “How come it’s easier for me to jump out of the side of a helicopter to look for a dead guy with my avalanche dog than it is to talk to my husband about our relationship?”

Boom! I finally said those words I hadn’t been able to get out for years. Shame, guilt, and relief flooded through me in that moment.

Finding courage to express my feelings on the page was and still is a process. It took ten years to sort out what I was trying to convey to my readers and to myself. I am blessed to have a supportive writing community in the Flathead Valley. I hope you enjoy this 248-word excerpt.

In the next newsletter, I will tell you what my literary agent Bob thought my memoir was about after he read it twice.

Go Find: My Journey to Find the Lost—And Myself by Susan Purvis

Excerpt from Chapter 1—Last Ditch Effort

13, 000’ Whitehouse Mountain

Ouray, Colorado. 2005

Yanking off my helmet with one hand, I pin Tasha, my black Lab into my lap with the other. The deafening roar of the engine makes giving verbal commands to Tasha impossible. I rely on our years of communicating through eye contact and hand signals to show her when to exit.

“You’re going to have to jump!” the pilot shouts at me.

“Jump?” I worry about Tasha’s distended abdomen. She could rupture her gut if she lands on her belly. Then I remember the raspy plea of Ed Jones, the uncle of the missing man. “I’m not leaving Colorado until all my family members are accounted for. I’ve been scouring these mountains for over thirty days.” Ed’s desperation had convinced me I had to come. We’re his last hope. Ten years ago, when I blindly launched into this volunteer search-dog career, I promised I would never leave anyone behind. I’ve kept my word … so far.

The helicopter shudders. I clutch the handle and, for an instant, I question what I am doing here. My husband’s pissed. He told me not to come, tried to order me not to get on the chopper. Yet here I am, in the path of an avalanche, risking Tasha’s life and my own. Somehow, I find it easier to jump out of a helicopter than to talk to my husband about our relationship. Is my ego driving this? My promise to the family? Or is it that I have something to prove?

Namaste,

Susan Purvis, Author, Educator, Explorer

susan@susanpurvis.com

www.susanpurvis.com to read more about Go Find. Over 30 book reviews are posted including New York Times bestselling author, Sebastian Junger.

Go Find will be released October 2, 2018

***

Join authors Angie Abdou, Sue Purvis, Jan Redford, Kate Harris, and Bernadette McDonald as they discuss challenges when writing about their personal experiences with wild places and how women’s narrative can connect people to the landscape. This session will be moderated by Marni Jackson, faculty for the Banff Mountain and Wilderness Writing program.

Date:           Saturday, November 03, 2018
Time:          4:00 PM
Location:   Kinnear Centre 2nd Floor #203, Banff, Alberta, Canada
***