Monday, March 25, 2013

Continued Learning, by Allison Brennan

Here's an excerpt from an excellent blog post by romantic suspense and thriller writer Allison Brennan, posted today over at Murder She Writes blog:

Last week, I shared a link on Twitter to Jodie Renner’s terrific blog post about writing tense action scenes. I found the way she shared the information to be clear and helpful, particularly because she provided examples (much like MSW friend Margie Lawson does in her workshops!) Since I learn by example, I love this approach.
I particularly liked Jodie’s article because I was in the middle of editing a fast-paced novella and reviewing her checklist helped me remember the important aspects of thrillers. I’ve written 20 books and sometimes, while I subconsciously know what to look for in edits, I can have tunnel vision and miss big picture problems. I also think that no writer is perfect, that every writer is (or should be) learning on a regular basis. Does this mean taking classes? Maybe, maybe not. I rarely take classes, though there are some where the presenter is particularly strong or the subject matter something I need help with, where I’ll sit in at ThrillerFest or RWA. But I love reading articles that speak to the way I learn (i.e. examples.) Since I don’t have time to take a lot of on-line workshops or go to every conference and sit in on all the interesting panels or workshops, I read a lot.
Jodie seemed surprised that I read craft articles, but honestly, I think every writer can benefit from continued learning — articles, workshops, brainstorming sessions with friends, classes, reading the masters — every other profession does it, why not us?

Teachers have continuing education; realtors; doctors; etc. My physical trainer has continuing education to keep her certification, and she constantly reads about nutrition and exercise programs so that she can provide her clients with her up-to-date expertise. It just makes sense that writers don’t lock themselves in the room and think they know everything or the best way to do something.
I suspect, as an author grows in their career, they need less craft guidance–but that doesn’t mean we need NO improvement. I’ve learned so much about writing from my two editors that I hope I’ve applied what I’ve learned to my manuscripts. Does this mean I don’t need to be edited? Hell no. I expect to be edited. I expect to continue to learn not only to write sharper, cleaner copy, but to learn how to tell better stories.
Sometimes, I get annoyed with aspiring authors, who are frustrated by the slow publication process (which is, sometimes, needlessly slow) and say they’re going to self-publish. Or,...

For the rest of this excellent article, click here:

Jodie Renner is a freelance fiction editor who specializes in thrillers, mysteries, and other fast-paced fiction. Jodie publishes her craft-of-fiction articles here and on several other blogs. For more information on Jodie’s editing services and her books, please visit her website. Jodie has published two books to date in her series, An Editor’s Guide to Writing Compelling Fiction: Writing and Killer Thriller, a short e-book, and Style That Sizzles & Pacing for Power, which is available in paperback, as an e-book on Kindle, and in other e-book formats. And you don’t need to own an e-reader to purchase and enjoy e-books. You can download them to your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

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