A Blog of Writing Tips, Interviews, Thoughts on the Writing Process, Book Reviews, Blog Hops, and Things NESCBWI Conference Related.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summer Solstice 2012

Celebrating the Summer Solstice

Each year, on the summer solstice I make a wish. For me, it's all about rejuvenating my spirit and finding inner peace. Tonight, my family will have a small bonfire in our backyard fire pit. we'll sit under the stars and talk about what we think the next six months will bring.

About the Summer Solstice Energy You Create

This is a time of completeness and abundance, for nature as well as for you, a time to celebrate all that you have achieved and manifested. The summer solstice invites you to celebrate your individuality and who you are, and to use your positive intent to look forward to all that you still want to become. As the sun’s energy comes to its peak, the active principle ripens all our outer achievements on the inner level too, bringing a transformation of spiritual strength and awareness. In this wholeness, you can recognize and celebrate the death and rebirth of the great cycle of the year.

How You Can Celebrate

This is definitely a time for celebrating and entertaining in style with the whole community. Drama, dance and song are all essential elements to raise the energy, and give everyone a chance to display their own unique talents. Light a huge bonfire and have lots of fireworks – Catherine wheels are especially symbolic. If you can find a fire-eater, even better! Throw aromatic herbs onto the fire (traditionally fennel, lavender, geranium, rue, rosemary and chamomile) and dance through the smoke. The tug of war is traditionally played at this time – all the summer-born people on one side and the winter-borns on the other, to symbolize the battle between summer and winter. Close the evening’s activities with a ceremony of thanks, to the sun, moon, five elements, nature, spirit, ancestors and, of course, each other. Then bless the food and drink and enjoy!

With thanks to Triple Moon at www.semelexerri.co.uk/calendar/celtic-festivals/ and Glennie Kindred for her excellent source book Sacred Celebrations.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

After the Beta Reader - Reads! 11 Things You Can Do.

My last blog post was about the importance of having a beta reader. So, let’s say you have a beta reader and they’ve read your manuscript. Waiting is hard. Every now and then you wonder if they hate it. With any luck, they won’t. And now you log into your email and they’ve sent you feedback...gulp...what now?

1.  Take a deep breath.
2.  Pour a glass of wine (so what if it’s only 8:17 AM).
3.  Grab a highlighter.
4.  Kick off your slippers.
5.  Sit back.
6.  Read.
    If you find something that makes you want to stop reading, highlight it and continue reading. Read it all the way through and don’t think defensive thoughts.

    7.  Now read it again. This time look for dangling threads, problems and "just not working notes", your beta reader noted.
      Didn’t realize you stopped writing about something halfway through, did you? Well, this was where my beta reader, rocked! She found several threads that weren’t completed and one that didn’t even need to be there anymore.

      8.  Put it down and walk away for twenty-four hours.
        I know, not easy to do, but this is important to your story. Take this time to do other things and let your beta reader’s input percolate.

        9.  When you are ready, make the small edits first. 
          Focus on grammar and punctuation. They are easy and you need to make them.

          10. Finally, with your beta reader’s comments in hand, read your story from beginning to end.
            Ready?

            As you read, you will see where the problems are. You will know what you need to do. It’s you story and you know it best.

            11. With opened eyes, revise!

            What are some of the things you look for when reading a manuscript?