Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trolling Deeper Waters, Pelican-style

Pelicans "hunt" for fish in much the same way that sheepdogs herd sheep. They swim together, fanning out in a line, which spooks the fish into swimming ahead of them. The pelicans continue swimming forward, herding the fish into shallower waters where the pelicans can scoop them up into their expandable bills. I love pelicans! And I'm so happy we have a flock nesting in Cache Valley this year.

But of course, I'm not just a pelican lover, I'm a writer, and so now, I'll connect the dots between these two, because there's a lot to be learned from these magnificent birds.

Re-writing or editing a novel can be a lot like fishing, pelican-style. You swim over the surface of your story, checking plot, sharpening your characters, defining their motives, while herding the entire story into the shallows. Doing so allows you to focus in on what you've been mining for all along, the underlying message you really want your story to say, the emotional connection that feeds readers and keeps them connected.

Herding the "meat" of your story takes patience; it takes time; it might even take a little team work from your critique group; but it is entirely necessary for bringing up the treasures lying beneath the surface.

And if you do your job right, perhaps those treasures will even take flight.

Happy writing everyone!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Challenge for the Week....

Do something different, something you wouldn't ordinarily do, just for the heck of it.

What have you got to lose?

Not the experience. That, you get to take with you.