Monthly Archives: June 2012

Write What You Know?

Sage Advice or Hogwash?

Excerpt from Writing Your Novel:

Long before I began writing and editing fiction manuscripts, I sat in many writing classes, starting in the late 1980s and continuing to today. I’m always learning. And in most classes, two phrases have stood the test of time:

1) “Show, don’t tell,” and, 2) “Write what you know.”

Sage advice? I agree with the first one, but I think the second is hogwash.

According to my online dictionary, Sage is defined as:

noun – Somebody who is regarded as knowledgeable, wise, and experienced, especially someone of advanced years revered for his/her wisdom and good judgment

adjective – having or showing great wisdom, especially that gained from long experience of life

I’ve loved books as far back as I can remember. Fond memories of my grandfather include the stories he read about magical castles and brave knights defending their fair ladies in days of olde. I never tired of the stories, so I was eager to learn to read, and I grew up with piles of books in my home.

When my husband and I owned a bookstore in the 1980s in Denver, I met several authors, and, since I’d previously been a proofreader in the aerospace industry, several asked me to proof their manuscripts. Some were well-written while others were obviously penned by beginners. But that turned out to be a wonderful, enlightening experience, because I’d always thought writing with hopes of publication was something I dared not try. WRITERS were those who had been born to literary families with Nobel Prize winners and who’d been educated in top universities. I, as a normal housewife and mother who’d never finished college, thought I could never attain that magical status.

Oh sure, writing had been a dream for years and, armed with the latest how-to book, I’d even begun a chapter or two of my own creation. But to me it was only a dream, something that I could never achieve, so I didn’t try very hard…

…until . . .

Writing Your Novel

Leave a comment

Filed under Craft of Writing

Book Signing @ Barnes & Noble, Redlands

On my way to the book signing event at Barnes & Noble Sunday, June 3, I broke out in a sweat. How would it go? I’m not a famous author – yet –  tho I’m working on it, and I’ve only been in CA a few years. And since most days are spent in front of the computer, I didn’t know that many people. My friend and fellow writer, Millie Hinkle, traveled about forty minutes on the SoCa freeway to be with me, so that was a comfort, but still I worried:

Would I sit at that little desk all alone, totally humiliated in front of the B&N personnel?

When I walked into the door, I was astounded by the group of people at my desk, and I looked behind me, expecting to see someone famous. But no, they were waiting for me! And a miracle happened:

My book sold out in 35 minutes!

After that, the events mgr had me sign plates for the customers who ordered the book.

The reception afterward was fantabulous! News Mirror editor Claire Teeter put together an event I’ll remember always. Rachael Gustuson’s hors d’oeuvres were visually appealing and delicious. My son & daughter in law, Roger & Debbie Bowman, spent two days making cake pops to fit the occasion and were a hit with everyone. Mayor Dick Riddell led a champagne toast to me and I truly felt honored.

Thanks to everyone who showed up to make my day a special one.

Leave a comment

Filed under Craft of Writing, Events, My Blog, The Publishing Process