Posts in Category: Writer Q&As

Writer Q&As: How do you find new energy in your writing?

I have miles of writing in my journals and notebooks and over the years, I return again and again to themes and issues––is that catharsis, compost or content? I guess my real question is how to break out of habitual approaches, find new energy in this content, and discern what belongs in poetic voice ...read more

Writer Q&As: How do you deal with a heavy manuscript beginning?

A question I wrangle with often is how to deal with the heaviness of my manuscript’s beginning. To make sense of the story, the ‘heavy stuff’ needs to be shared up front. It’s the catalyst for action. When the journey that follows is healing, uplifting, and at times, even funny, it feels so depressing ...read more

Writer Q&As: How do I get through the first draft when I am too emotionally vulnerable?

I have a current manuscript that I keep abandoning because the subject is so deeply personal and traumatic. In the process of writing this story these experiences are intensely relived, with the result that I become overwhelmed and too emotionally vulnerable to stay the course. Even the research into clippings, letters, and photographs can ...read more

Writer Q&As: When Is a Manuscript Ready to Be Submitted?

When do you know the manuscript is finished or polished enough to send it out? Nikki Hillman This is the most frequent question that plagues writers, Nikki. We tackled part of this question in my September 4th Writer Q & A post but I will elaborate more this month because it’s such a vexing ...read more

Writer Q&As: Writing as Bridge from Mind to Page

I see all writing as a kind of translation that “bears across,” is a conveyance of an idea across the bridge from a mind to a page. But I wonder to what extent is this task possible? Does characterizing brain-sparks clarify or obscure? Is language a sufficient means? And—since it’s all we’ve got—what if ...read more

Writers Q&As: Identifying the Narrative Through Line

In the context of editing a longer manuscript, I hear people talk about how there might not be a clear narrative ‘through line’ and if so, how to find it? Do you have thoughts on this? The through line is a concept of Constantin Stanislavski (1863 –1938) that he developed when training ...read more

Writer Q&As: When to Stop Revising

How do you know when to stop revising? I presume that if one does get picked up by an agent or publisher they will have their own editor who will ask you to revise again, so when do you know to leave it alone? I have thought I was done a couple of times ...read more

Writer Q&As: Matching a Writer with a VMI Mentor

How do you match a writer/manuscript with a VMI mentor? First, it’s important to say that I’m the matchmaker! However, mentors review the writer’s application I’ve matched them with before I inform the writer whom they will be working with. Arriving at this match depends on several factors: The mentors The ...read more

Writer Q&As: Voice and Proximity

Everytime I ask myself a question, I answer it. Lately, this is the question:  how do you find your voice in the telling and not sit too far back? In other words: how do you find that intimate tone when the material is so personal? It seems the tendency is to speak from a ...read more