Thursday, December 20, 2012

Yes, Virginia...

 Since I was a child, perhaps since the beginning of time, The question has been asked; "Is therethere really a Santa Clause?" Big brothers and sisters have enjoyed the torment of their younger siblings by informing the believers; There is no Santa Clause.
I am a believer of magic. the divine brilliant power that God gives to all of his children to do his will in this world. You can no more prove to me that there is no Santa Clause then you can prove to me there is no God. Our responsability as the children of this omnipotent being is to believe in the wonders of his powers, and to me that means Santa clause. I have experienced a load of toys and gifts being dropped off at my house by an anonymous that not Santa Clause?
 The best response to this question was given in 1899 by The New York Sun newspaper to a little girl named Virginia O'Hanlon. Her father told her; "If you want to know ask The Sun. If its in The Sun, its so."

"Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know they are bound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would the world be if there were no Santa Clause!"    

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm A Great Writer...In My Own Head

                A few years ago, I was listening to a series of audio books; while recovering from a kidney transplant. These particular novels were topping the best seller lists and taking the country by storm. I hated them. The characters were underdeveloped, the story line was too slow, and I was not engaged in the plot…blah, blah, blah.
                I can do better than this. I told myself. If I know what’s wrong with these books, then I can write better ones. Armed with my sure knowledge of how to be a great writer I set out to write a series of stories that would top this pathetic group I had been reading.
                A year and a half later…I can’t read what I wrote; it is so bad.
                What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking that a little talent and determination are all you need to write good stories. While that may be true; being a great writer in your own head leaves your stories good for… only you.
                Learning How to be a good writer takes patience and hard work. More importantly, it takes readers who like what you write. If it doesn’t make sense, capture, or entice a reader; it is worthless. One of the best tools I have found in my quest to be a better author; is a thorough critique.
                I am part of a critique group. A group of writers who listens to my work and then tells me what does and doesn’t work. The other members of the group get the same feedback on their work and then each of us has more than just ourselves to impress.
                I also send out short stories, essays and shorter work to on-line critiques, and to members of the three writing groups I belong to.
                The feedback of other writers is invaluable. Not only do I get to hear what readers will be thinking, but I get the talent, expertise and know-how of an entire universe of great writer’s. It’s like living in the library and having the books converse with me          
                My critique group made it possible for me to get Killing Casanova ready for the publisher. Thanks to the hard work done by the critiques, edits were minor and the manuscript was immediately accepted for publication.
                That original set of stories I wrote all those years ago, are being critiqued right now. I hope to get them in to publication sometime this next year. Rescuing my writing from my own flawed perceptions of what works is the reason I love critiques.
If you want people to read your work and then gush about how brilliant it is; give it to your mom or your best friend. If you want to be a great writer, not just in your own head; join a critique group. You won’t be sorry