Monday, March 12, 2007

The Construction Zone 11. - The Little Things

I'm going to pause for a moment for a less structured topic and one that will take more thought on your part and less on mine. I've titled it "The Little Things", but what I really want you to do is think of little things in books you've read that have particularly grabbed your attention - good and bad.

I was thinking about this as I was walking home from the school run today. There was a woman crossing the street in the skinniest heels I'd ever seen, and she didn't make her way over the grass to the sidewalk. I can only assume this was because her heels would have stuck into the ground.

I was reminded of a beginning of a LaVyrle Spencer book where the heroine has attended her husband's funeral and she is aware of the sensation of her heels sinking into the soft earth.

I don't remember everything from that book, but I remember that image. I am like that with a lot of books. Little things that stand out as really, really memorable. It could be a line of dialogue, an image, a feeling.

And the reverse can happen too. I can read a book and find something that really turns me off. Thankfully this doesn't happen as often as the lovely aha! moments.

So here's where you come in. Take some time and think about books you've read. What is memorable, good and bad, and why?

Then look at your own writing. Try your best to be objective. What do you do well? Not so well?

Play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses.

Knowing what you do well - and exploiting it - is what might pull you out of the slush pile for another look. And improving on your weak spots might mean STAYING out of the slush pile - for good.
Before I go, I need your input. The Construction Zone will be winding up this month. These are the topics I can think of left to cover:

Edit and Polish
Submitting - Queries, Synopses, Partials and fulls (Q&S might have their very own day)
Rejections and what they mean (this will be short, lol)
Revisions - one of my favorites!
What's next?

If you can think of any other topic I haven't covered that you want me to write about, drop a line in the comments section. It's just like going on vacation. I can't help but think I'm forgetting something.


  1. I've got one suggestion. What about "After the Call" and "While You Wait"? We work so hard to get the call but for newbies like myself, what advice would you give after getting the call and while waiting for publication? Of course, we should be writing our next stories but what other kinds of activities should we engage in to prepare for our actual release?

  2. Patricia - that's what I'm planning on covering during the "What's Next" Topic- because honestly I was SO not prepared. LOL



  3. Anonymous6:13 p.m.

    CarolC said...

    Your suggestions look great Donna and todays post was very thought provoking.

    I love those vivid images remembered from novels. One of my favorites is an Isabel Allende novel where the grandmother is hanging out the sheets to dry on the line and then gets whisked away forever with them into the wind (well I guess I should remember that shouldn't I?)

    I read 'Notes on a Scandal' a few years ago and was really reluctant to see the film as there were so many intricate details anchored in my mind about it - but the film was fab and really stayed true to the book which was great.

  4. See Carol, that's what I mean. If you can look at your own writing, or have a cp look at it and tell you what you do really well, then you can really work with that strength. It can be that "something" that sets you apart. And that can only be a good thing (as long as you're exploiting a positive, lol)!