How to Know Your Work is Ready for Submission

When it comes down to being a writer, if you aren't wholly in it for the joy and pain of fiction, there is inevitably a time when you must submit your work. Whether to a publication, an agent, or a publisher, your writing, your flesh and blood final draft versions of stories that fell out of your head, have to leave the nest and you have to watch from the front door and see if they have wings. But how do you know your stories, novels, essays, poems are ready?

Mistake #124 Not Following Your Heart

I'm a fairly regular reader to the blog What Not To Do As a Writer written by the ever talented and sailor-mouthed Lisa Kilian. On her blog she lists all of the possible mistakes a writer can/could/will make, some of which we've all learned by experience. Lisa's blog has been one of the few voices on the internet to speak to other writers and admit that on some days: it all sucks, and on other days: you suck.

This week she posted that she's "going rogue" and no longer going to update her site anymore, although nothing will be taken down. Her life and dreams are leading her in another direction and I think I'd like to tip my hat to her and say, in tribute, that Mistake #124 should be Not Following Your Heart.

Remembering What This Writing Thing is All About

I just wanted to share something with you real quick and I'm not even going to count it as my "weekly" (I use this term loosely) post. I really like author Ann Patchett, especially "The Patron Saint of Liars." Her stories work for me and her style of writing resonates with me most of the time. A few days ago I happened to see in my library's catalog that she had a non-fiction book called "What Now?" which is a commencement speech she gave.

Creating a Story Outline

I'm currently working on an idea for a new novel which I plan to write in November. While I'm not scribbling any words on the page until November first, a la NaNoWriMo, I am rigorously plotting the tale and doing research on my subject matter ahead of time so I know what to write when the time comes.

I like to write as a mix of planned plotting (outlines) and discovery writing. I may know what's going to happen next in a general sense, but the details come during the writing of the scene. I might know what one character will say, for sure, 100%, and will have written the quote down on a scrap of paper, but I might not know what the other character's reaction will be, not entirely anyway.