Thursday, January 7, 2010

Read to Write

I received an interesting email from one of my blog readers. Apparently, the blog reader has finished writing a piece of fiction. The work is deemed to be worthy of publication so the blog reader is asking for some advice. This is what I sent her --

Test your story on people who can read and give an honest critique. Chose people who can give good feedback, thereby, helping you improve the story.

Remember that writing is a process. What you started is a DRAFT. It is not a final copy yet. To submit the manuscript to a publishing house this early may be too soon. it takes time to polish fiction. When your friends have given feedback, REVISION is next. After that, you can now decide if what you revised is the final copy. Then you can send the manuscript to a publishing house.

a word of caution, writing is also HARD WORK. the writers we admire, those who've published tons of books go through a lot of thinking, revising and, yes, sleepless nights to refine a story. inspiration is free and at times, our writing muse keeps us awake in the middle of the night to squeeze the creative juices out of us. but, remember that writing is likewise a CRAFT that must be mastered, in time.

As you seek friends who can give comments and suggestions to your story, keep writing. And read a lot! Read and write and write and read. Read all kinds of literature and write all kinds of literature. If it's not your forte, try. Just keep those muscles and brain cells churning!

Good luck. And btw, the great poet Virgilio Almario received hundreds of rejection slips. Rene Villanueva, the famed chidlren's book writer had his own share of rejection letters from publishers. If writing is indeed your passion, no rejection slip can deter you.

Since I mentioned the relationship between reading and writing to the blog reader, I could not help but look at my own reading and writing patterns. So far, my reading habits has been regular but I could not say the same is true when writing fiction. It's an area I need to improve on. It seems that I need to spend longer days for my fiction to truly grow and flourish.

On a brighter note, the irrepressible Elbert Or has sent word on the Ondoy Book Project he started to collect from contributors last year. Anvil will be publishing this collection of essays. My essay is included in the anthology. I'm pretty excited.

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