That certainly is why I first started writing, and in many ways why I continue. Whenever I have to process the things that are happening in the world and how they affect my life, I have always done that by putting pen to paper or finger to keyboard.
Part Two is Write, with practical advice on elements of craft from creating characters, establishing setting, and a great piece from Jo Eberhardt on empowering ourselves by owning the badge "writer."
The rest of the book is divided into the following sections:
- Part Three- Invite
- Part Four - Improve
- Part Five - Rewrite
- Part Six - Persevere
- Part Seven- Release
As I read the book I marked so many passages I wanted to quote that I soon realized I could compile a whole new book of quotes. There is not room here on a blog to include them all. However, there were a few that particularly resonated with me.
In several places throughout the book is a section called Community Conversations, where the online Writer Unboxed community weighs in on a topic. Readers are able to connect with that community online using a password provided in the book, and I thought that was a terrific idea. The comments left at the blog are often full of little nuggets of wisdom, and the Community Conversations offer such nuggets. Commenting about "voice" Robin LaFevers shares, "Your unique story becomes your novel's secret ingredient. Voice embodies an author's core emotional truths and personal wisdom. Take time to learn your core truths."
And, in a Conversation about why we write, Robin shares, "The act of creating changes us and makes us stronger, draws us closer to wholeness."
What a nice way of voicing that something deep inside all of us who write that we often find so hard to describe. It is indeed why we keep writing despite all the downsides of this wacky business.
The design and layout of the book make it easy to read a few pages while taking a break from writing, or while waiting in a doctor's office for an appointment. There are Pro Tips, short quotable tips that pertain to the topic of the current article, as well as Caution Signs by Bill Ferris.
Oh my gosh. How many times have you done that?
There are so many more things to love about this book, and I will keep it handy, right next to Bird by Bird: Some Instruction on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott, to pick up and re-read sections until the pages almost wear thin. I found the articles on craft so helpful, and was inspired throughout by the encouraging tone of each essay. Even a beginning writer will feel welcomed into a community of supportive professionals who treat newcomers as kindly as old friends.
Ever since I started reading the Writer Unboxed Blog, I wondered exactly what it means to be Unboxed. The simple answer might be that we can be a writer who stretches the bounds of genre and stretches the bounds of expectations. However, I found this explanation by agent, Donald Maass, a more complete answer: "Readers aren't moved by what has moved them before, only by how you can move them in new ways now. They want familiar ideas put together in fresh ways. They want to feel like they're in on the joke even though they haven't heard the joke before. That high-wire balance is possible when it is a balance you hold within yourself. To be unboxed is to dwell in an in-between place and be happy there."
I think, "happy" is the key. If we are happy with what we are doing, that will show in our stories.
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Therese Walsh is the co-founder and Editorial Director of Writer Unboxed. Her debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, was nominated for a RITA award for Best First Book, and was a TARGET Breakout Book. Her second novel, The Moon Sisters, was named one of the Best Books of the year by Library Journal, and received starred reviews from Booklist and Library Journal.
One of the contributors to the blog and to Author in Progress is Kathryn Craft, a former contributor here at The Blood-Red Pencil and the author of The Art of Falling and The Far End of Happy.
Author in Progress is published by Writers' Digest and is available in paperback and Kindle versions.
Posted by Maryann Miller - novelist, editor and sometimes actress. Her most recent mystery, Doubletake, was named the 2015 Best Mystery by the Texas Association of Authors. She has a number of other books published, including the critically-acclaimed Season Series that debuted with Open Season. Information about her books and her editing rates is available on her website. When not writing, Maryann likes to take her dog for a walk and work outside on her little ranch in East Texas.