Workshop Transcript

Procrastination & Perfectionism

with Linda R. Rymill


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Click Here to skip the preliminary talk and jump straight to the beginning of the workshop.

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #Kidlit to Procrastination & Perfectionism workshop TONIGHT!

*** zap has joined channel #Kidlit.

*** zap is now known as lindy

Verla: Hey, just in time

Verla: Hi there, oh revered workshop leader of ours

lindy: howdie do

Stinkerell: This is workshop night right?

lindy: LOL Stinkerella. Love that nick.

NOTE: LOL = Laughing Out Loud

Stinkerell: Thank you

Verla: yes, stink. (Check out the topic, stink...)

*** lindy is now known as Guest19214

Verla: you will most likely need to add part of your last name to Lindy or... stick a carat on the front of it like I did with ^kia, zap....

*** Guest19214 is now known as ^lindy

Verla: that might hold, Lindy

Verla: I just hope we don't have more splits tonight!

Verla: we already had one in the past hour. :-(

NOTE: :-( = a sideways frownie face

^Miriam: me either

Stinkerell: Verla, would you please ping me

PING delay for Stinkerella: 3 seconds

Verla: 3 secs Stinkerella

^lindy: man, you guys are talking a foreign language!

^lindy: ping, split, hold

NOTE: The phrase "that might hold" meant she might not have her nickname arbitrarily changed again by the chat server because it's a duplicate of someone else's.

A "ping" is when someone checks to see how much "lag" time there is between the time a chatster posts their message and the rest of the people in the chat room see it on the screen. It can become difficult or even impossible to "talk" in the chat room if the lag time gets over one minute long. Shorter is definitely better!

A "split" is when one or more people in the chat room suddenly disappear because the chat server has split in two. People who signed on via the same server usually stay together, everyone else gets "zapped" into a ghost cyber room that looks identical to the main room, except only part of the people are there. The only "cure" is to wait for the server to join again, or to leave the chat room and try connecting again. Sometimes, but only part of the time, that will put a displaced person back into the correct chat room.

Amishka: Had a hard time getting in tonight

Verla: me, too, ami

Deetie: yep, dalnet is weird lately.

Amishka: I hope our main speaker can get in

Verla: she IS in, ami

Verla pokes at Lindy....

^lindy: I was just looking for an excuse to sing :-)

NOTE: :-) = a sideways happy face

Deetie: go ahead and sing.

Stinkerell: Verla even lets us dance in here

Verla: omigosh... NOT THAT!

Verla covers her ears and faints at the very thought of Lindy singing....

^lindy: "main speaker?" uh oh ...could be intimidating. <g>

NOTE: <g> = a small grin

^lindy: any dance i know?

Stinkerell: we do free dancing in here, any kind you want

Verla: uh...

^lindy: perhaps the lindy hop?

Verla: or how bout the Twister?

^lindy: oh yes, I remember that

Verla: or maybe the Sailboat Sha Na Na?

^lindy: AKA the seasick heaves

Stinkerell: my personal favourite is the tango

Verla: I love watching the tango

Stinkerell: me to Verla, I want to take tango lessons with DH

NOTE: DH = Dear Husband

Verla: Lindy, I have your old bio from before...

Verla: I'm assuming that's what I should use for tonight, right?

^lindy: It's changed a little

Verla: You will have to add a little to it then, to update it.

^lindy: I'm no longer RA, but editor of kidsbooklink

NOTE: An RA is a Regional Advisor with SCBWI (The Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators.)

Verla: oh, really?

Verla: I've been LYING to people???

Verla: Who's the Michigan RA now?

^lindy: Shirley Neitzel, Do you know her?

Verla: nope.

^lindy: She is author of the series from Greenwillow...

Verla: (She sounds like a good pretzel)

^lindy: The Jacket I wear in the Snow

^lindy: The House we'll build for the wrens

Verla: or a weinerschnitzel

^lindy: the Dress I'll wear to the party, etc etc

^lindy: yes, she's wonderful

ginaav: Where is everyone tonight?

Verla: probably having trouble getting in tonight, gina

^lindy: hey, intimacy is good.

^lindy: Perhaps many who might be interested in overcoming procrastinating are procrastinating logging in to workshop

^lindy: I can identify

Amishka: I didn't recognize lindy out of her costume

^lindy: costume?

Verla: zap clothes, lindy

^lindy: oh

Amishka: I was writing that's why I didn't come in earlier

_Lyra: good for you, mish!

^lindy: Is everyone here a writer? or some illustrators?

Stinkerell: well I'm not an illustrator, but I've decided to do pictures for one of my pb's and give it to my niece in case it NEVER gets published. Cause I want her to have it.

NOTE: pb = picture book

Stinkerell: I hope she likes stick people ;)

new_Merryl: I think that is very sweet; I know it would mean a lot to me

new_Merryl: Deetie, why aren't you speaking up?

Deetie: I'm lurking.

new_Merryl: Aha, a lurker. Well, I always suspected as much. Where did you go?

Verla: Okay folks... we are running a couple of minutes late...but that's because this server is being very nasty to us tonight. I'm changing the access for people to the chat room on my website right now as we speak

^lindy: I'm patient.

^lindy: but this is definitely going to be a participating workshop.

Verla: okay. Website access should be corrected now... I'm testing it, then we will begin

Stinkerella runs to take the seat in the back of the room

AndiR: I had a hard time getting in

^lindy: I love to hear others' ideas!

new_Merryl: That's goody!

^lindy: If you think he seat in the back will save you from me calling on you, forget it, Stink. <g>

Stinkerell: What if I use my invisibility cloak???

^lindy: My magic wand can make you visible again.

Stinkerell: drat....

^lindy: I don't go anywhere without it.

Stinkerell: Where can I get my hands on one of those?

Verla sticks a neon sign over stinky to make her VERY visable

^lindy: Oh, I've had mine for ages.

^lindy: Don't remember the source.

Testing: Good! The new server works

Testing: Okay. We can start now

Testing says, TA DA!

*** Signoff: Testing (Quit: Leaving)

MelLane: Testing acts suspiciously like Verla.

Stinkerell: lol mel

Verla: Okay. It works. We can start now...

Verla: that was me, mel

^lindy: Shallo I just jump in, Verla?

*** Verla has set the topic on channel #kidlit to Procrastination & Perfectionism workshop IN PROGRESS!

Verla: nope

^lindy: okey doke.

Hols: Are we starting?

new_Merryl: Verla, can I just say something?

Verla: (make it quick, merry)

Verla: we are starting

new_Merryl: Oh, just thank you!

Verla: Tonight we have the wonderful privilage of having Linda Rymill, Author of Good Knight leading our workshop!

Verla: Linda, author of GOOD KNIGHT, illustrated by G. Brian Karas, loves picture books. "Not all, mind you," she says, "but those with a fresh voice, an emotional tug--or a strong character. I love tight prose or verse--and hate tongue entanglement!" Some of her recent favorites are BARNYARD SONG by Greene, EDWINA THE EMU by Knowles, and RAISING DRAGONS by Nolan. "I read them over and over, and always aloud. The illustrations are fun too," she says.

Verla: Lindy likes intriguing words and phrases, worn out shoes (not her own), rocks for thinkin' on, twigs to poke with, blossoms and weeds, and creating interesting compositions from items of overlooked value. She and her husband own a sailboat shop, Avon Sailboats, in Rochester, MI.

Verla: She is a former RA for Michigan and is now the editor of....

Verla: (you need to fill in the blank, lindy)

^lindy: kidsbooklink, the SCBWI MI website

^lindy: okay, we start with a question

Verla: wait lindy

^lindy: ?

Verla: For any who are new to these workshops, here are the "rules"

Verla: Welcome to our weekly Kidlit Workshop. We ask that you hold all personal chit-chat until the hour is up, but Please! Free free to join in the topic currently under discussion.

Verla: and now... LINDY!

^lindy: LOL.... really?

^lindy: <vbg>

NOTE: vbg = Very Big Grin

Verla: and we LOVE interaction in our workshops, so please... join in and voice your opinions!

Verla: ask questions, make comments....

^lindy: to the question... how many of you suffer with perfectionism?

Stinkerell: Me!

Verla: I do sometimes, linday

Verla: *oops....misspelled our fearless leader's name. Maybe she didn't notice?

ginaav waves

Hols: Shouldn't that be a capital H on "How?" <Just kidding.>

Hols: No I don't suffer at all.

Hols: lie lie lie

^lindy: I knew I liked you Stink. ROFLOL, Hols

NOTE: ROFLOL = Rolling on the floor laughing out loud

^lindy: I'm laughing so hard I can't type

new_Merryl: Define perfectionism, please?

^lindy: perfectionism: wanting to do/perform/write/submit EVERYthing perfect to the extent of practically paralysis

Verla: Is the fact that I had to correct your misspelled name (or at least call attention to it) a form of perfectionism?

^lindy: yes!!!!!!!

Verla: dang. I knew I had a problem

new_Merryl: Well, I do want to know, what is perfectionism; is it the same as paralysis?

new_Merryl: Oh my gosh, sorry, you just answerd my question

^lindy: I think it sometimes has to do how much we may be concerned about what others think of us that it stifles our creativity

new_Merryl: Yes, I am definitely stifled. So now what?

new_Merryl: I am paralyzed w/ fear.

Verla: ah.... (I see what you are getting at, Lindy... It's when you want your manuscript SO perfect you never submit it!)

^lindy: yes yes yes

^lindy: never submit, or too dang rarely.

Verla: Mel, you listening to Lindy?

MelLane cowers in shame.

Verla: Hey, hara.... you listening to this?

^lindy: yes, can be fear of success --or in my case, often fear of failure

new_Merryl: Well, I did submit, but not a good one. Now I am paralyzed and can't

^lindy: I used to think that a ms. had to be perfect to submit

NOTE: ms = manuscript

new_Merryl: And?

Verla: Editors make you rewrite them ANYHOW

^lindy: but you finally learn that what is "perfect" to you today, may not be "perfect" to you tomorrow

^lindy: --let along "perfect" to whomever you submit it to

Hols: And editors may change your manuscripts in ways you might not consider perfect, too.

Stinkerell: Can we ask questions yet?

Verla: yes, long as it's on this subject, ask away

^lindy: sure ask away!

Stinkerell: How do we know when you cross the line from good revisions to perfectionism?

^lindy: I certainly have my answer, but I'd like first to hear others' response to that

^lindy: anyone?

Verla: hmmm. When you start revising things over and over but not really making any changes?

new_Merryl: Sorry, I'm not to that point yet.

MishatheWa: perhaps when you're never happy with the changes

Verla: when you change things, then change them back and then back again?

^lindy: yes, I think reworking and not reVISING is a sign, but I think part of the key is setting your own line

new_Merryl: Hols has had that experience

AndiR: But don't they detest getting flawed manuscripts? Doesn't it have to be perfect?

Verla: Hmmm. Good question, Andi. It should be as good as you can make it...

Hols: yep

^lindy: like for instance instead of striving for "perfect.", strive for 90%

^lindy: What is flawed in their eyes may not be flawed in yours, or vise-versa

new_Merryl: But what is the 10% that you must do away with?

^lindy: whatever 10% YOU choose.

Verla: when my story no longer "nags" at me when I read it... when there's no longer any spots that feel "wrong" to me, then I know it's time to put it aside for a little while and then send it off

Verla: Even if I feel it could possibly be even better

^lindy: Don't each of you judge your own mss. before submiting?

ginaav: yes I do lindy

new_Merryl: Lindy, that is not working for me. Can you help?

new_Merryl: I have no sense of judgment re: my own work. My crit group helps so much and other people too (who shall remain anonymous)

^lindy: Merrylegs, what isn't working... and do you really have no judge of when your own work is good enough to send off?

^lindy: On a scale of 1 - 10, how does your ms. feel before you send it off?

new_Merryl: Always a 10; That's why I have no judgment, and no sales

new_Merryl: Well, I thought it was darling, but then when others (anonymous others) critted, I saw the flaws

Stinkerell: 9/10 before I submit

^lindy: Stink, start going for 9 instead of 10 IF you consider yourself to be a perfectionist. You will double/triple your submissions and odds of being accepted will increase

Stinkerell: But I feel 9/10 before I sub to my crit group. Who (rightfully) find things wrong with it, and it really ends up only being about 6/10.

Stinkerell: I think this results in my never wanting to send it out because I'm always thinking there is something else wrong

^lindy: Stink--that's a huge benefit of a crit group; they give you insight

Verla: yes, my online crit group is invaluable to me

Stinkerell: It is Lindy! Imagine the junk I would think was good if I didn't have them :)

AndiR: I aim for as close to a 10 as possible. But, it doesn't always look as good as good when it gets rejected :-(

new_Merryl: Lindy, really, I am so entranced by my own vision i don't see the flaws until someone else points them out, then I'm amazed I didn't see them

^lindy: Hmmm, Merrylegs, are you a newer writer?

new_Merryl: HA! Written for 30 years, subbed one.

Verla: LOL merry

new_Merryl: Well, I'm happy someone's entertained! *g*


Hols: Is it bad to compare your mss. to other books? NOTE: This question was not answered at this time.

Hols: So what do editors mean by "the strength" of a manuscript? Is that a reference to how perfect it is?

Verla: Has anyone ever read a manuscript that blew them away... was so powerful in character and content that they were breathless? Even if it had some minor editor would see the value of the story and want it

Verla: knowing they could get you to fix the minor problems

^lindy: Yes, Verla, that is quality of content (I think) quality of story, without the "perfect word choice/rhythm.. etc perhaps

^lindy: I think eds are often turned on by those mss... hoping to "shape" the writer

Hols: Well, I think deep down, we all like our own writing, or we wouldn't be doing it or sharing it. I think revisions are part of the process, but we shouldn't beat ourselves up if our manuscript don't come out perfect the first time.

^lindy: true true ture, Hols, and you gotta be messy/bad, before you get something really good (usually)

new_Merryl: Yes, my "junk" is mercifully retrieved and salvaged by my crit group

^lindy: yeah, crit groups are great.

Verla: they pointed out really important things I didn't "see"... Like in my Homespun Sarah book the ending line was... Brand new dress. Then one of my critters pointed out that the phrase "brand new" came from brand name clothing and back in the 1700's when they all made their own clothes there WEREN'T any "brand" names! So I couldn't use that line! (I changed it to All new clothes.)

MishatheWa: But Stink when your crit group isn't finding much wrong with it and you're still making changes that might mean that you're perfecting

Hols: I've been working on kicking the editor in me out of the process when I first write something. I try to just get it out there, and it seems to work much better.

Stinkerell: Gosh mish, you know where I'm at.

Stinkerell: I keep feeling the need to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite

^lindy: I think perhaps procrastination is often fueled by perfectionism.

^lindy: getting that editor off your shoulder is a hard one

^lindy: But often, if you set up a length goal for yourself, you will produce more work instead of rewriting as you go

^lindy: and you'll have more meat to choose from

^lindy: and one thing leads to another, etc... that's when the good stuff often comes out, I think

Verla: hmm. Interesting thought, lindy

Hols: That's a valuable insight.

Stinkerell: What I am starting to realize is that everyone will be able to find something wrong with any story... you know we all find things wrong with books in the stores... That just has to be applied to our own writing. It won't be perfect.

Verla: That's IT, stink!

^lindy: That's why I think perfectism stifles creativity so

Verla: You are sooooo right

Stinkerell: But Linday, can you tell us how to let go and not worry about making it perfect... the theory is there.. putting it into practice is too hard

^lindy: I have a favorite quote for ALL "perfectionists" who choose not be so

^lindy: "Ring the bells that still can ring

^lindy: forget the perfect offering

^lindy: There is a crack in everything

^lindy: that's how the light gets in.

^lindy: " --leonard cohen

Hols: Hey, I have that stuck to the front of my computer monitor, Lindy. :)

new_Merryl: That is very touching Lindy, about ringing the bells that can still ring (sorry I'm a little slow here)

^lindy: Hols, I LOVE that quote

Hols: I love that quote too. Was that in Jane Yolen's talk from last year's Chautauqua conference?

^lindy: yes stink, make a pack with yourself to submit x amount in x amount of time.

Stinkerell: interesting idea

^lindy: for instance, you will submit your pb that you're working on by May 15th.

^lindy: ready or not

Stinkerell: oh dear, if you saw it you wouldn't say that :)

^lindy: you don't have to send it everyone, but you'll get it out, off your mind, and work on something else in the meantime

MishatheWa: Maybe she means the one you are perfecting

Stinkerell: ok MIsh, that works for me :)

Hols: I guess that's where the procrastination comes in too. I know for me, if I don't hurry and get that manuscript in the mail when I've finished it, I forget about it or neglect it.

^lindy: I think that quote shows that IF the (in our case) ms. is perfect, it won't let the light in--which is the point of the piece

^lindy: am I making sense here?

Stinkerell: perfect sense

new_Merryl: Yes, I never thought of the crack as something to let in the light

Verla: yes, you ARE, Lindy

^lindy: yes, procrastination costs you big time.

new_Merryl: I thought of it as a weakness

^lindy: EXACTLY.

^lindy: STRENGTH, not weakness.

Verla: So it's a case of making lemonade out of your lemons!

BGLit: Remember, you don't want something too perfect. Editors get all freaked out if they don't get to do their job ;^)

NOTE: ;^) is a sideways funny face

Verla: LOL Barry

Hols: The cracks are often what gives a piece character, in my opinion. If you try to make something just like everyone else's or work to make your character too perfect, it just turns to mush. Doesn't catch anyone's eye.

new_Merryl: No, I never looked at it that way.

^lindy: Hols- you are RIGHT on.

Verla: hmmm. That's a thought, too

Verla: GREAT ideas coming through, here, folks

new_Merryl: So the cracks can be good things. Not necessarily destructive

MishatheWa: wouldn't it depend on how big the crack is?

^lindy: key word is crack not chasm

new_Merryl: That is a such a great metaphor.

^lindy: You can be looking at a table of wonderful sweets after sweets after sweets... all decorated and perfectly formed.

^lindy: but frankly, I'd go for the lopsides fallen cake. On account of it's probably homemade and tastes better.

new_Merryl: EEk; how do you tell the difference? And I am terrible at math

Verla: ah... but that depends on who made the cake, lindy! LOL. I've made cakes for weddings, even. They were NOT lopsided and tasted wonderful

Verla: and looked very professional. Hmph

^lindy: yeah, okay, Verla. You're an exception <g>

Verla laughs

Deetie: you go, girl!

new_Merryl: But Verla, were there lopsided ones before those?

Verla: ha! You got me there, merry!

^lindy: I've not heard from many in the room, do any of you have methods you use for overcoming procrastination in your writing?

Verla: I ususally use the BIC method

MishatheWa: BIC for me ends up playing games

Verla: I just stick my Butt In Chair and tell myself I have to accomplish X or I can't TOUCH my computer games or Nintendo -- or -- HORRORS! Come into chat!

misskopelk: money, money, money

new_Merryl: Ah, Deetie????

^lindy: I'd also like to know if you all wait until you feel your work is perfect before submitting

lorrier: usually if I'm procrastinating its because I'm stuck - so I'll do research or write the ending of the book or something to get myself going again

Verla: I usually wait until mine is "almost" perfect

^lindy: or if you don't write, because you feel an idea is not "perfect"

new_Merryl: No, but then it got rejected anyway.

MishatheWa: I wait until it's almost perfect (I hope)

^Libby: I just tell myself to concentrate on enjoying the process--I think it will show if my creation is created in joy--and I tell myself I just have to do something everyday. Even something small. And when it's ready to be sent out, it'll be ready. I tell myself, Won't it be interesting to see when that might be? (This is how I get myself to relax.)

^lindy: lorrier, that's a good method.

^lindy: libby, intersting viewpoint

^lindy: I sometimes will clean out my idea file... that always sparks me to start on something new

Verla: This last one was a toughie for me, because my publisher had paid me to write a book that was their idea, not mine. So I was starting out COLD with it. I wanted to procrastinate, but knew I had a deadline and it was looming over me like an AXE

^lindy: deadlines, even those you set yourself are very helpful

Verla: I got frozen partway through the writing of it... SCARED

Verla: Didn't know what to do...

Verla: Finally, I realized that after a book sells to them, they spend several years before the illustrations are done...and during that time, I could revise it again if it needed it.

Verla: So I allowed myself to write "less than perfect" and suddenly the book came together

Verla: and I ended up revising the first two verses of the story after it was accepted by my publisher...

MishatheWa: Editors waiting make me want to procrastinate more

^lindy: ---even if you allow yourself to miss your deadline, you've at least started and have produced more than you might otherwise

MishatheWa: I think it's because they have an idea of the story (like an outline or something) and I can't write with outlines

Harazin: I rarely ever submit, and I revise constantly

^lindy: Harazin, take it from me, change now, while you still can!

Deetie: we're trying to reform her.

^lindy: get a buddy you trust and when they so "send it in," send it in!!!!!

^lindy: do the same for them if they are having a similar problem.

Harazin: When I do finally submit I do usually sell the short story or at least get more revision suggestions from an editor (Just what I don't need)

Deetie: LOL, Hara!!

misskopelk: I like to leave that last 20%, it makes me feel that I will be more open to suggestions.

^lindy: I like that thought, misskopelke. leaving a percentage "imperfect" because you might be more open...

misskopelk: It's true, sometimes I am even impressed by those suggestions.

lorrier: sometimes I'll look for contests - that gets me going on writing something to enter - then once I start writing I get carried away and end up writing something completely different and I don't enter it anyway

^lindy: yes yes lorrier... it's like that with many things.... once you get going in one direction, distractions or new interests get you going in the direction you might have REALLY wanted from the beginning

_Lyra: I used to write much faster, but now I spend ages revising before I move forward

^lindy: sometimes, even answering email will get you started writing when you've procrastinated otherwise

_Lyra: my email IS my procrastination ... check email too often when I should just write

Verla: so first is to just WRITE it.  Then you go back and make the necessary changes/revisions. But once you have revised it and it feels GOOD, then you need to send it out

^lindy: Lyra, why do you think you changed?

Harazin: (Don't blame me Lyra)

Verla: I did it to her, lindy

Verla hangs her head in shame

MelLane: Why do you blame yourself, Verla?

Verla: Because I kept telling her how *I* write and it's so much slower because I want it all perfect before I move on

_Lyra: I've gotten better -- so I'm more aware when something feels wrong

_Lyra: Or maybe because I worked on a few picture books for a while and rewrote SO MUCH it carried over to my longer fiction

_Lyra: For my longer books, I'd never finish if I didn't make a commitment to write almost every day and produce a few pages -- I'm up to 248 <# of pages in her current WIP - Work In Progress>


^lindy: .... I'm thinking of email as in answering it.... kinda like writing a letter, or writing in a journal, instead of starting or working on a story.

Verla: I've actually broken through problems in books in emails

^lindy: Verla, explain "broken through problems"

Verla: I've emailed to friends, lindy, complaining about a problem in a book I couldn't "solve" and while I was writing out the problem in the email, suddenly I realized I knew what to do to "fix" it. So I wrote my idea in the email for the "fix" then went to the manuscript straight from the email and used the solution

^lindy: yeah, Verla, I think when we are forced to explain something to someone, it makes us think harder and more original to comunicate more clearly.

^lindy: and sometimes that solves our own problem.

misskopelk: Reading is another great one..............

^lindy: Miss, you mean reading is another way to get you started?

misskopelk: yes. and also to relax a bit about making it "perfect".

SRW: reading helps me to get started

^lindy: yes, miss, others often can see something SO different than we can. I think often perfectionists (those who revise revise revise) get so into seeing their piece in one way, they can't see the forest for the trees.

^lindy: I suppose that's obvious to you all already

misskopelk: not always

_Lyra: I learn a lot from my critiquers -- they're great about getting me to put in background/sensory stuff

Verla: I think that's what happened with my novel, lindy. I've been working on it for over 11 years. Finally finished the second draft and sent it to my agent. Before she'd even READ it, I'd emailed/called her and told her it needed more revising before being sent out. LOL

^lindy: yes. I understand. Usually it is that way with me too.

^lindy: One way I learned from other writers was also to "copy" a voice

^lindy: for instance, in picture books, write a story with the same voice

^lindy: or with the same first line

^lindy: or change just the verbs in the first few sentences and see where that story takes you

MishatheWa: I did that with the night before christmas rhythm

_Lyra: how do you stay in the voice?

^lindy: ... maybe I mean rhythm--not "voice". Sorry, Lyra.

_Lyra: voice is still something I'm trying to figure out -- it seems to mean different things

^lindy: yes, I agree re voice (being difficult to figure out). But I think I've got it now.

^lindy: When I first started writing, the easiest way for me to think voice, was to think "accent."

Verla: Hmmm. I think that's because there are two distinctly different "voices" in books. The "voices" of the characters themselves - what allows you to tell from the characters' words and actions who is talking - and then there is the "author's voice" which is the way in which you write the story - the way you "tell" it in your own original style of words.

^lindy: well said verla

BGLit: That's a good way to put it, Verla. I often find myself stumped when trying to explain "voice"

Verla bows

Deetie: I think voice has a lot to do with authority--the character has to have the authority to tell that story.

^lindy: I think it's easier to give voice to a character, rather than voice to a narrator.

^lindy: but then again, I suppose it depends on what person you are writing in, of course.

NOTE: "person" means Viewpoint - the character whose eyes you are seeing the story through

Verla: very true!

Verla: yikes. We only have about ten minutes left!

^lindy: one more thing I'd like to say re perfectionism...

^lindy: when we revise, revise with no time in between, we are often retracing. And retracing is busy work for which you will likely feel no long lasting benefit

MelLane: What do you mean, retracing?

^lindy: retracing: taking the "a" out and putting it back in. Changing the order of the sentences.

^lindy: Minutely changing the sentences/paragraph structure, without really addressing IMPORTANT stuff first.

MelLane: Ah, I understand.

^lindy: I think to conquer perfectionism/procrastination, you gotta get something DONE/accomplished... and when you do, you feel so good about what you've produced

^lindy: even if it's bad, it keeps you going.

Verla: ah...

Verla hides from lindy...because that's half of what she does in her kind of writing...

lorrier: I'm blushing, too, Verla

Verla: but then, my writing is different

^lindy: for instance, if you're feeding someone a meal, you can give them perfect place setting and wonderful soup

Verla is hungry for soup!

Verla: oops. Sorry

^lindy: with melted cheese and croutons... but if you forget to cook the main dish, I mean, how good is the dinner?

MelLane: LOL!

^lindy: LOL

Amishka: Don't you find if you retrace too much you get sick of the story and really want to just throw it away?

^lindy: Amishka, sometimes, but that is the time to PUT it away for a while and work on something else. a month or two?

^lindy: then bring it out again.

BGLit: I often tell clients to put something away for a while and tackle something new, just to give them a chance to recharge before diving back into the first manuscript

NOTE: BGLit is a children's book agent who will be leading May's workshop in the chat room.

lorrier: it gives you more of a fresh perspective too

^lindy: perspective is EVERYthing

Stinkerell: I find an excellent time to take a fresher look is after a rejection :)

Verla: Well, that, too, stink!

^lindy: but usually not in the first five minutes after you receive your rejection, eh Sink?

Stinkerell: Lindy, we won't even discuss the first 15 minutes

^lindy: for me, about two weeks later.

^lindy: oh good.

SRW: lol

^lindy: although we all get better at it.

lorrier: no, the first 5 minutes I'm too busy wallowing in self pity :)

Verla: I usually have to wait a month before I can decide if a rejection's comments have value or not. And when I was first writing, it took four months for me to accept the comments of one rejection! (It was actually an invitation to rewrite the story, but by the time I'd realized it and sent it back to them, they'd bought another ms on that subject and no longer wanted mine. Sigh)

^lindy: Verla, re waiting four months... I think sometimes it takes that much time to look at our own pieces with fresh eyes

SRW: You can look at it a little more objectively if you put it aside for a bit.

Verla: yes, I think you are right....

BGLit: LOL Stink...but sometimes the person rejecting something is DEAD wrong about it

BGLit: For instance, I got a rejection for an author last week, and the next day got an offer for the same mss from another editor. Talk about rollercoasters =)

SRW: congrats Barry!

BGLit: was a fun week. =)

SRW: no doubt!!! Wish I had that kind of week. *g*

BGLit: Everyone should have a week like I to sixty in just a few days. =)

^lindy: BG, and for anyone that doubts you, just go out and look at new books. There's always something you love and something you wonder WHO would buy this?

PamelaRoss: Hi Linda and all. Sorry I was late but I just came back from a SCBWI meeting in the city. Did anyone talk about procrastination re: sending out your mss altogether?

Verla: Yes. We did, Pamela

PamelaRoss: Aw shoot. I knew I shouldn't have procrastinated at the end of the meeting and come straight home instead.

Verla: Yikes...our time is you have any last parting words for everyone before we formally end tonight's workshop, Lindy?

^lindy: It's PERFECTLY okay to write crap, call it crap a month later, and look at it as good

^lindy: I mean, you gotta write bad stuff sometimes!

^lindy: and the faster you get it out the better. <g>

Verla: I have to do that a LOT in my writing, Lindy

PamelaRoss: Linda: So what's your advice about being afraid to write crap?

^lindy: (don't mail that stuff out though) ;-)

Verla: some things I write are SO bad....

Verla: but yes, I never send THAT stuff out! LOL

PamelaRoss: I hate that word: crap. It's so ugly.

^lindy: I'm not sure I understand Pam...

Verla: pamela should see some of my first draft stuff. She would say that word fits it perfectly!

^lindy: I mean you gotta let your self write badly... you gotta let yourself be messy before you can be great

Verla: Oh I like that, Lindy!

PamelaRoss: Meaning..... I worry what I put down won't be the perfect mss I think it should be. I avoid writing. I let the fear take over. It's.... crappy.

^lindy: and once you produce something "great", you CAN'T expect everything you write will continue to be better better

Amishka: but the editors expect that

Verla: Yeah. That's a real scary place to be, lindy! I don't ever want that

^lindy: no they don't

Amishka: critics maybe

^lindy: besides, you don't have to SEND your bad stuff

Verla: I'd like to think that anything I write will always be a little better than what I wrote before...because I'm constantly "growing" as a writer

Amishka: true you only send the better stuff

_Lyra: I feel that way

^lindy: and the more you Produce, the more you will have to compare to, and the "better" your better will be

Guest24157: Hi I am new to this site. I am not sure if I can participate with questions. So please excuse me if this is out of line. What if you are procastinating out of fear of heading the wrong path? For example, and with respect to the meal analogy, whether to make chicken or ham?

Verla: Yes, you can certainly participate!

Verla: great question

^lindy: no, with the meal analogy I was speaking about getting all the ingredients into your writing

^lindy: for instance, voice, character, plot....

Amishka: make them both and serve the one that turns out the best

^lindy: if you "perfect" several ingredients... but you forget just one (ie plot) it isn't going to sell

Harazin: I head down the wrong path all the time when I'm revising

^lindy: but we don't usually know it's the wrong path until we travel far enough down it , yes?

Verla: you need to just "write it" and not worry about where it's going to start with, guest.

^lindy: You gott TRY new things or you live in a box and you won't shine out of the slush pile

Verla: You can "aim" it better once you have a first draft done

Harazin: I have to write the scenes--and then make the discovery

MelLane: I love your scenes, Hara.

Harazin: (Thanks)

Harazin: I have plenty of them Mel!

Amishka: you have to write what your heart tells you to write not what you think is going to sell

^lindy: I agree. Sometimes when I write I'm not at all sure of the direction....

PamelaRoss: You can aim... you know.. sometimes the sh--t hits the fan.... (And speaking of crap...) ;>

Guest24157: Have you ever worked on the same mss on two completely different styles?

^lindy: guest, explain. I don't understand your question

Verla: Oh.. I hate to say this folks...but we have to "formally" close this workshop. But if Lindy is willing...we can stay and talk more a little longer....

misskopelk: Thanks Lindy, thanks Verla! Tonight's discussion just hit the spot.........

new_Merryl: Thank you very much, Lindy. Thank you for your time.

^Libby: Thank you so much, Lindy!

Amishka: great workshop lindy

new_Merryl: Thank you Verla.

Verla: GREAT workshop, Lindy! Thank you SO much for all your time!

Verla: whistle whistle stomp stomp stomp!

^lindy: you're welcome

Verla passes out silly string to everyone

BGLit: Good job, Lindy

Verla: and squirts green all over everyone

MelLane grabs the purple silly string and covers Lindy with it.

^lindy: gee, you guys are too nice!

^lindy: (lindy loves silly string)

Stinkerell: Thank you Lindy

_Lyra: nice job, Lindy -- stop by more often!

lorrier: thanks lindy!

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Guest24157: I would love to be able to stay. I am working on a project that is factual but I wouldn't want the end result to be textbook in style.

^lindy: guest, so you are writing this project in what styles?

Verla: non fiction writing doesn't have to be "dry" anymore, guest

Verla: My second book published is non-fiction...Iron Horses... on the building of the transcontinental railroad. And I was informed a few weeks ago that two kindergarten boys got into a physical FIGHT over it... made me feel very proud to think my book could generate that kind of emotions in children...

Guest24157: I am aware if that. It can actually be fun but it has to have a voice and a soul and the process is proving to be quite difficult. But thanks for allowing me to participate.

^lindy: yeah, verla, I think evoking emotion response from reader is The Most imprant thing in a a book... it's what makes it special

^lindy: it's what makes The connection.

Verla: Her picture book, Good Knight....

Verla: just sold again!

Verla: actually, was just republished..

^lindy: ... hey "new sale" is incorrect... subrights sold.

Verla stands corrected

_Lyra: Linda--that's so cool your book is doing well

^lindy: Now it's in Japanese, got my first copy a couple days ago.

MelLane: Oh, congrats, Lindy!

^lindy: yes, it has done very well.

BGLit: Don't you just love getting Asian editions of books, lindy? I always got a kick out of it

Verla: It's one of the BEST picture books I've ever read. Right up there with Bark, George, in my estimation

^lindy: .... can't remember name of Japanese publisher, but quality is Very fine.

Verla: that's so exciting, Lindy

BGLit: Most Japanese publishers are very good, and their printing is marvelous.

^lindy: yes yes LOVE "reading" foreign pic books!!!! They are often so different.

PamelaRoss: Linda-- this is amazing!

PamelaRoss: How do they work out the rhymes?

Verla: I can't wait to hear how the translated version reads, lindy.

^lindy: I bought a japanese picture book at a used store because the story the pictures told was wonderful.

^lindy: I had a friend translate it and liked it even more.

_Lyra: I had Italian copies of MY SISTER THE GHOST -- so cute

Verla: I got one last year from my future daughter in law. She went to Japan as a foreign exchange student for a month or so and brought one back for me. I was thrilled.

^lindy: does not rhyme in japanese, but rhythm is still there.

^lindy: oddly enough

PamelaRoss: Fascinating rhythm...

SRW: Now to only learn those foreign languages so you can know what you're reading.

^lindy: had my daughter read it to me in japanese and it sounds good to the ear

Amishka: your daughter reads Japanese?

Amishka: cool

^lindy: I didn't have her translate it yet though... I'm going to ask her roommate (he's from Japan) to do it.

paulad: ...I had a japanese translator write to ask me questions about the book she was translating and she apologized because her english wasn't very good

PamelaRoss: Paula--Was it your book?

paulad: yup

BGLit: The Japanese market is such a fascinating one too. Do you know who the primary market is for picturebooks in japan? Young women, 20-30. They collect them.

Harazin: Interesting, BG

Amishka: that's interesting Barry

Amishka: I'm sure the kids are reading novels there before they go into school

PamelaRoss: Barry: American picture books-- in english? Or translations?

Harazin: BG, what do you write? I don't think I've met you before.

paulad: .....last night gave some french ambers to the people at the wonderful restaurant on my street and we discussed how the titles are so different in french

ToniB: Barry, call them up and ask if they'd like a book about a sea chest and one about a recalcitrant duck :>

ToniB: Hara, he doesn't write--he sells my books!!!

BGLit: The wntire asian market is so different. Most picture books are sold door to door, not in bookshops, and they're usually sold in sets of 10-20, like encyclopedias.

^lindy: BG, I had no idea ! (re 20-30 year old women) Interesting.

Harazin: Ah--then he is very lucky to have you!

Log file closed at: 1/9/01 7:27:09 PM 

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Verla Kay

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