No Red Pen – Writers, Writing Groups & Critique is now available via smashwords.
Everyone has a story. No one else can tell your story. The process of creating, refining and ultimately releasing it into the wild that is publication in the world needs to be a respectful one. No Red Pen – Writers, Writing Groups & Critique is not an overview of writing groups – it is a manifesto for a different paradigm for workshopping and critiquing.
No Red Pen – Writers, Writing Groups & Critique is intended for those writers looking for information on what to consider when forming or joining a writers’ group and for writers seeking tools for critiquing work in progress. This is not a how-to book for writers’ groups. There is no discussion of specific craft techniques. There are other books in the market that discuss finer points of writers group administration and many that deal with craft. This book is intended to help the reader make informed choices in the marketplace of writing group workshops and provide useful skills for critique consumers. The act of entrusting one’s written work and exposing that product of imagination, heart, and soul to the criticism of others is a risky and brave action by the writer and a privilege for the reader. No Red Pen – Writers, Writing Groups & Critique provides a toolbox for conducting a writers’ workshop and recommendations for critique that fundamentally respects the writer and the work.
While surfing around educating myself on self-publishing, I found the Self-Published Author’s Lounge blob, which included a very helpful page with publishing basics. In five minutes I answered several questions that had developed from my web surf inquiry. Additionally, as I read comments, tutorials and blog posts recognized several names of authors I’ve read, or heard at conferences of on other sites. This gave a little legitimacy to a site found out of the blue. If you too are looking for some answers with self-publishing, here are a few spot on posts that are sure to help. Self-Published Author Lounge
Reluctantly last year I jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. Fundamentally an introvert, I wasn’t all that thrilled about sharing the minutia of mine or other people’s daily living. Didn’t really want such cluttering up my phone’s social media screen. Then I listened to accomplished authors and well known agents discuss how social media and “building a platform” was the 21st century shingle outside of the door. I followed a few friends. Got psyched about poetry and followed some poets. Noticed the ‘similar to you’ post Twitter puts up next to the feed and followed a few of those. Followed a few speakers and presenters from conferences. The end result? I’ve found avenues for submitting my work as call for submissions float across the feed. Learned scores of techniques and practices for improving the marketability of my work. Found a few good reads by following the breadcrumb of a link in a tweet, discovering a new literary magazine or a just coming out book by an emerging author. Found answers to some of my ‘how to’ questions via crowdsourcing an inquiry over twitter. Sure, there is some minutia coming in from a few personal, I actually know in real life, friends. There is also the funny, dramatic, touching, and all too human experience of complete and perfect strangers that regularly tweet who have become virtual friends whose tweets I look forward to reading because they add to my day one small moment at a time. Twitter is a great tool that is helping me negotiate the shoals of self publishing and submission of the work and remind me that life must be balanced, as each small window into life flashes by 140 characters at a time.
I write because we cannot let our languages die with us.
By language, I don’t mean a difference in words or inflection. I don’t mean the distance between my family’s Spanish and the English of the country we have made ours. By language, I mean the way the things we touch come to mean the things we cannot. The way that, to my family, lemon blossoms mean reunion, because the tree outside my grandmother’s kitchen window seemed to bloom only when my older brother returned after vanishing for months at a time. The way that, as a child, I was sure that roasting poblano chilis invited el demonio into the house, because after a few burnt on the stove, my mother threw out the garden’s worth.
It did not occur to me then that to others, lemon blossoms were nothing but a first sign of bitter fruit to come. Not until a boy I grew up with taught me the language of his family. He laughed at the way my tongue, made for the trilling of ‘R’s and the blurring of ‘B’s and ‘V’s, could not mimic the softened stops of his family’s German, or the intricate ‘sz’ of their Hungarian. But more than this, he taught me how in the village his family came from, there was no greater sign of love than carved wooden roses; he often wondered at how marigolds to my family meant both death and joy. He did not understand why my grandmother taught me that too much cayenne in Mexican rice could mean a woman was in love; too much paprikát, his grandmother told him, meant nothing but that the cook was in a hurry.
By language, I mean the way these small things hint at the infinite, the way the ordinary stands for that which is so beautiful we do not speak of it. Sometimes passion is not a touch, but the way a lover sugars roselles for jamaica. These things themselves come from our childhood homes, our gardens, our cultures. But they are more than that. We learn them in ways no one else will. Sometimes fear is poblano chilis more than it is la llorona or the dark. But sometimes carved wooden roses, which first mean nothing to a girl who grew up among marigolds, come to stand for love in the hands of a boy who calls them rózsák.
I write because we cannot lose them. I write because, if we do not write, we will.
— Anna-Marie McLemore