Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Time Spent: 2 hours, 30 minutes.

My goal for the day was 3 hours - considering I did all my AST work at the bank today, I think the time I got in is pretty good and I don't feel at all bad about not quite meeting my goal.

Again, lots of research. I spent time reading The Missouri Review, a lit journal from the University of Missouri - Columbia. It's excellent, and I think it will be one of the journals I submit to in a few weeks. The very first story is one about an English au pair who escapes to Cape Town with the family she works for in Cairo during WWII. Very moving, especially at the end when the boat they're on is hit by Japanese subs and goes down in the middle of the night. I really only got through the first two stories, they're both so long. More learning to expand my horizons again today.

And in looking at websites, another WD 101 best site, verlakay.com. The website itself was just alright. It had a few good articles on how to get into the children's book industry, but the best thing was the forums! A bunch of published and unpublished writers who post about their triumphs and setbacks so that everyone learns. I read about openings in critique groups/circles online, what things people have written, who've rejected their query letters, and how they cut words from MSs to get it into editors' word limits. The most interesting thing I learned on the forums was about cutting, or pruning, as the message said - by going through a MS with a fine tooth comb (or having Word highlite certain words like 'and, the, or, just don't, up, down', etc) and eliminating certain words that don't need to be there, one can really cut down word counts. Makes a lot of sense. Since I haven't written anything truly long (this author in particular was talking about cutting her word count down to 120,000 from about 125,000!!!), I don't know yet just how tightly I write. But that would still be a good thing for me to do with some of my short stories.

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