Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Light Side of the Dark Side

or the other way around. One of those. But first The Treadmill Desk. You've heard of these, right? Buy a treadmill, put a shelf across it the arms, lay your laptop there, and write as you walk. Nice metaphor for a writer, huh? Work for days and weeks and end up right where you started.

And then this advice from SCBWI: "If you know someone is openly dismissive of your writing then they're probably not the person to read the first draft of your picture book." Let's forget about the grammar problem (someone/they're) and let's agree there's not much point in showing something to an enemy.

There is, though, much to be gained from showing a first draft to someone who's hard to please. Some writing groups are the equivalent of petting zoos. Try the lion's den. Go to someone discriminating or censorious and -- rather than ask about the whole book or story -- ask about the first page, the father-character, the scene where the muskrat has a heart attack or even a single paragraph.

If the dark side of writing is criticism and the light side is praise, step out of the light sometimes. There are interesting things in the dark.


  1. The manuscript is in the mail, ready for your dark magic.

  2. Back to the treadmill desk. I am still trying to get my head around that. So we could combine our writing with our workout and have lots more time for blood letting? And here I thought free flowing ideas during a walk outdoors were just the thing.

  3. "Nice metaphor for a writer, huh? Work for days and weeks and end up right where you started."

    OR ...

    "We shall not cease from exploration
    And the end of all our exploring
    will be to arrive where we started
    And know the place for the first time" ... even if it is the g.d. treadmill.