Friday, February 20, 2009

The shortest month of the year is the longest for me

PA winters are too long for my taste. If I had a choice, winter would end on January 2nd, all the daffodils would come up and I'd walk my dogs without the coat, gloves and scarf. To combat that stuck-in-the-house feeling I get by February, I visited my best friend Joni and her hubby and son in San Antonio for a few days this week. My visit to them was long overdue and absolutely wonderful. There is nothing better than basking in the warmth of an old friendship to refresh me, inside and out. It's better than spring.
In hopes of breaking up the winter doldrums for some friends here in PA, Michael and I are hosting an Oktoberfest tomorrow night. We'll be serving up some wurst, sauerbraten, weiner schnitzel, potato pancakes, dumplings, spaetzle, red cabbage and lots of other recipes from my German cookbooks and my mother. I've got German music, Hogan's Heroes episodes and I even made up a couple of games. Here's hoping we have a good time. Prosit!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Writing and rewriting

A lot of the writers in my critique group find it easier to write new material than to self-edit: slashing out pet phrases, paragraphs or whole pages. Not me. I think I prefer self-editing and the whole rewriting process. It's as if my first attempt is a blurry picture and I need multiple edits to bring the characters and story into focus.
I can edit my work and re-write anytime, even if I have 15 minutes available. By contrast, to write a new scene, I need the right conditions: at least an hour, minimal distractions, a clear head and no fatigue. Focused time like that is a rare commodity for me.
I have a whole file of 'early versions' of my novel saved on my computer, versions that involved a different protagonist, scenes that I decided not to use, or plot lines that were dead ends.
I don't know why I'm saving them. Maybe they'll come in handy sometime in some other novel. Or maybe they are all just part of my learning curve.