Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Art & Craft of Fiction, A Practitioner's Manual

Today I read The Art  & Craft of Fiction, A Practitioner's Manual by Victoria Mixon.

Recently I've been working on incorporating a known theme into Bon Secour and developing my "B" and "C" stories to also incorporate the theme.  Doing this work pointed out that my plot planning was not as complete as I thought it was.  A recent post in Victoria Mixon's blog, A. Victoria Mixon, Editor, introduced me to the idea of developmental editing.  And since I am as insecure as they come, I started thinking, "Do I need an developmental edit?"  And, if I do, is she the editor for me

I don't know how much a development edit costs.  But, the book is probably cheaper than the edit.  And if you don't like what she has to say about writing, you can cross her off the list of possible editors.  So, I bought the book to find out if I wanted her as an editor.

Well, I do like what she had to say.  I also like her sense of humor which might help when the deserved criticism comes rolling in. 

I have so much work to do before I would submit to a development audit.  If, in fact, I ever do.  After all it's like cleaning your house before the cleaning service comes to do the job.  You don't want them to see how messy you really are.  I've got to get my story in the best possible shape I can before I would let anyone see it.  Especially someone who is going to look in every corner and closet and find out how messy my house really is.

     "Writers who regularly attempt to plot and write at the same time are the ones who wind up drunks.
     So you mull it over for a long time, you think it all out, you make sure every plot point is necessary.  Every scene has a hook, development, and climax, every incident caused the next effect, every single twist teaches the reader something they didn't already know about life.
     Then you sit down and write your scenes, (or re-write, if you've done your planning in 72,000 words of prose), entertaining yourself mightily as you go."

This is a really good book.  Part I: Developmental Issues is excellent.  It contained both new to me information and a better explanation of topics I've read before.  I give it three stars.

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