Ahhh…as I expel the diesel-perfumed air that I inhaled all day today in London, my mental lungs proceed to gulp in the intoxicating purity of the breezes breathed in this past weekend in the Northeast England countryside. I mentioned in my previous post that I was venturing out of the city for a writing-focused retreat sponsored by the organization Room to Write. I truly don’t think that I can duly convey what the experience came to mean to me and will not attempt to do so–rather, I will hold that close to my heart and simply say that I had the privilege of being brought into the fold of some of the loveliest, most accomplished, talented, yet modest and genuinely good-natured folks with whom I could have ever interacted. Sipping tea with them in the conservatory of a Victorian country estate amidst an endless supply of sandwiches, scones, and fruit on a day colored by blue skies, green gardens, and brown deer was sheer heaven…it’s so me (in my dreams), and I could have pinched myself. Hopefully my Midwest American accent was not as piercing on their ears as the sun was in our eyes 🙂
As I tuck that sweet and shimmering memory in my breast pocket, I shall tend to some matters of business. I promised that I’d share some valuable advice learned over the weekend, and I’m a lady of my word. As I’m heading Stateside in the morning for a week—and consequently going to subject myself to 7 days of my parents’ torturously slow dial-up internet connection that I truly think would run faster if a hamster generated it by running in its wheel—I’ll break it up into smaller bits written in advance, but to be scheduled to post across subsequent days. Fair enough?
All right then, I’d like to start simply with some gems of quotations that I picked up. I will repeat them as direct quotations here, though most are probably just my close paraphrases of the actual content, and I apologize in advance to the plagiarism gods for not specifically citing their speaker of origin (as the facilitators may have been quoting from elsewhere in at least a couple cases) . Whatever…you’ll get the point, capiche?
“80% of the meaning of a novel comes from the reader and 20% from the writer.”
“Writers taste life twice–once when they live it, once when they write it.”
On revision: “Kill your darlings–if you love it, delete it.”
On research: “Write, don’t research.”
I will follow up in a later post with a bit of elaboration on these…I have an early flight and had better catch some sleep. In the meantime, keep writing!