Sunday, September 5, 2010

Featured Guest Betty Booher speaks: The Summer of Continuous Improvement

It all started with a rejection. Two. A dismal contest score.
That’s not exactly right.
It all started with Donald Maass. Washington DC. The Fire in Fiction.
Permission to get off the submit-submit-submit-keep-those-partials-rolling merry-go-round to stop, stare, play with my words again.
His advice, admonishment really, poked, prodded, needled through revisions, work on the next story, assorted conferences and writers’ meetings.
Then I decided to audition for the symphony.
I know. It was a crazy to compete with Conservatory-trained players from London, Paris, Iowa. But this wasn’t so much about competition as personal challenge. I practiced and practiced and practiced. Took private lessons. Examined every attack, every pitch, every release.
And I got better.
No, I didn’t win the audition, or even make it to the next round, but each time I pick up my horn I can tell. That intensive work, those hours in the little attic room, improved my ability, made the music better.
The tools to improve my writing weren’t nearly as obvious as playing scales and orchestral excerpts. Then Margie Lawson came to Portland to present her two day workshop. By the time that weekend was over, the reasons behind my rejections started emerging from the page like a ruddy sun ball through a coastal fog bank.
Ignoring the well-intentioned advice of some of my writer friends to return my story to the slush pile recycle bin, I made my way to the attic once more, this time armed with Margie’s lecture packets, a bag of highlighters, and coffee. A lot of coffee.
It wasn’t enough.
Don’t get me wrong. The coffee was great. It is Portland.
Margie’s lectures and exercises made me look at the page in an entirely different way. But I needed more. I needed to take the next step.
I needed to go to Colorado.
Immersion class was lecture packets on steroids. At 8888 feet.
I’m back in the attic now. Practicing scales and rhetorical devices and raising character stakes.
Margie Lawson armed me with a bucket full of new writing tools.
Donald Maass gave me permission to use them.
Thank you both!

Welcome to the next guest Betty Booher

RM: Welcome to Betty Booher another talented IMCer and Emergineer. She was a working on a paranormal romance, complete with scary ghost and all. Betty has a great voice. She had also a graduate of several Margie Lawson classes so she was our go-to person when we wouldn’t quite follow something. And very patient she was too. Betty plays a mean oboe – I mean, who would have thought we would be deep editing to live music? Yes, she brought her oboe. AND, she just got her black belt…but I’ll save that for her tell you more about. She’ll be checking in to answer questions this week; don’t forget to comment so you can be entered in the contest which is on till Sep 15, 2010
Keep an eye out for this fresh voice in romance – I for one will be pre-ordering her book when it’s out!
Over to the next post and Betty Booher! Ta da.