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The Glossy Groove – October 1, 2012

Throughout history, various periods have been referred to by the highlights that framed that era. For instance, there are the ice age, the iron age, and the golden age and the bronze age to name a few. We’re now living through the computer age and more so the age of the internet, the age of easily obtainable knowledge.

This month’s “Glossy Groove” discusses the September and October issues of The Writer. There are several particularly enlightening selections I mention in this blog post as well as others that provide very useful tips most writers can use. The two that resonated most with me are, “Set Your Writing Free,” by Craig English [October 2012, pg 34] and “Making the Most of Writing Every Day,” by Melissa Hart. I hope to discuss the former in a second Glossy Groove segment later this month. Though I spotlight only a handful of articles from each magazine, the other features and articles in the magazine are equally informative, insightful, and well written.

SEPTEMBER 2012 ISSUE

Page 7 – Bret Anthony Johnston’s thoughtful perspective on rejection in, “Why We Pick Ourselves up After Getting Rejected,” will hit home with many writers. The parallel drawn between the skate-boarder’s progress to more and more complex tricks and the suspension of fear, the fear of falling, adequately illustrates what we feel as writers during the query and pitch process. In receiving a rejection letter, does it mean the work is a failure; for the skateboarder, does it mean he or she doesn’t have what it takes? No. One presses on and performs more sets of the same stunt until it’s perfected; or, one continues to send out query letters and to pitch to potential publishers of their work. When the skateboarder lands on his deck, after performing an almost completely aerial maneuver, he’s reassured in his self-esteem and the feeling that he could. As he sits holding a check for a book, or story, or poem, which was submitted to the dark and ominous mega ramps of the publishing world, the writer is carried on no less heady a wave of elation than that of the skateboarder, when the wheels of her deck touchdown successfully, on solid ground, with her aboard. Can anything else be more validating and motivating?

Page 13 – Second person is one of my favorite points of view to use. I was introduced to it many years ago in a college Literature course. We’d been assigned to read a translation of Carlos Fuentes’ Aura. Mary Miller brings the use of second-person point of view sharply into focus, while extolling its value as a writing device and exposing its limitations at the same time. Her skilled exposé of this little-used writing advantage serves to underscore its appeal to those who do use it. The article, “Second Person Puts You in the Story,” is featured in Writing Essentials, a regular section of the magazine.

Page 17 – I don’t always feel compelled to purchase books I read about in reviews; however, Melissa Hart’s straightforward appraisal of Midge Raymond’s book, Everyday Writing, spurred me to purchase it; definitely money well spent. Like many writers, I have limited time for writing. Between bread-winning pursuits, personal interests, and running a household of one, I allocate to writing any moment not assigned to a date and time on my planner. Raymond’s book provides usable suggestions for getting quality time in with my pen. As a result, I can easily fit one or more writing-specific tasks into a twenty-four-hour day around my busy lifestyle. Hart’s review, “Making the Most of Writing Everyday,” is this month’s piece in the regular section, Write Stuff.

Page 30 – So, you’ve arrived. You’ve got a great relationship with your publisher, a consistently increasing readership, and a chunk of change from book sales that’s none to shabby either. Now you can just kick back with a brewski or some other beverage and take a load off, right? Or, maybe you, as a writer, are like many others looking for ways to further refine their writing. Pamela Redmond Satran shares some of the techniques she used to raise her writing to greater quality and marketability in her article, “How to Take Your Fiction to the Next Level.” You’re bound to find at least one idea from the author’s tome of experience you can apply to your own writing.

OCTOBER 2012 ISSUE

Page 7 – I was intrigued by Brandi Reissenweber’s novel exploration of whether it’s necessary to have an antagonist in a story. In, “Does A Story Need An Antagonist,” she presents a point which is well taken. By first identifying the role of the antagonist in the story, she goes on to present examples of how the role can be filled without designing a character with antagonist tattooed on their forehead.

Page 20 – Have you suffered from writer’s block from time to time? Melissa Hart reviews Rosanne Bane’s book, Writer’s Block, in which she explores causes and solutions for that annoying state of mind. You’ve probably experienced the frustration resulting from the creative tap’s refusal to drip. Check out the review. You’ll find out why the book may just contain the remedy for your condition. The review, “Suffering from Writer’s Block? Retrain Your Brain to Beat It,” can be found in this month’s, Write Stuff. The review, “Suffering from Writer’s Block? Retrain Your Brain to Beat It,” in this month’s Write Stuff section.

Page 22 – Though it makes sense that he did, I was surprised to learn that Edgar Allen Poe commented and wrote on the subject of writing. B.K. Stevens shares some of the comments Poe made over his short lifetime regarding the art of writing. In, “Advice from the Crypt,” one realizes not all things from the past are outdated. Don’t be surprised if Poe himself taps you on the shoulder while you’re reading this excellent article to offer advice.

Page 28 – Time to start thinking about your next summer’s vacation? Why not make it a writerly get-away? Start planning now by researching writers’ workshops. In, “Standout Contests and Conferences,” by Sarah Lange, you’ll find a list of summer writer’s workshops for your consideration. What to do over the dark and cold of the long winter? Lange also includes a list of writers’ contests with deadlines throughout the year. Still in search of something to do?

Back issues can be acquired from many magazines. You may also find copies of the issues in question at your local library. When all else fails, libraries usually have an option for patrons to buy photo copies of specific articles and book sections for little or no charge.

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