Sunday, January 2, 2022

Getting published

I mentioned in a previous blog, that I had been indulging in Masterclasses. Indulging is the correct term, because I am loving it. I am only interested in the classes for writers, of which there are twenty. Of those one is poetry and not my thing. Of the remaining nineteen, a few are screenplay writing, but still of interest. Not that I plan to write a screenplay, but the development of character is similar.

I was a bit lost when I had completed all of the classes available. I was writing, but I kept returning to see if more writers had been added, but no. Finally I started repeating some of the classes. First was Judy Blume. I returned to her multiple times. Each time I found something new that I had missed in my previous sessions. That caused me to return to some of my more favorite writers and sure enough, each time I went through the classes, I picked up something I had missed the last time around. 

I also found that, as I was attempting to put into practice some of what I had learned, I had questions and these sent me back again to see if I could find answers. Now, what I would really love is, if Masterclass would set up some way to have my questions addressed directly. I don't expect them to have live sessions, though they did do that with Neil Gaiman recently. I mean, somehow allow students to send in questions and have these questions answered in a follow up class perhaps.

I think the most surprising of the lessons I have gleaned so far is how important the formatting of your manuscript is, if you wish to get published. I now look at my self published book and I have got to laugh at myself for considering that any self respecting publisher would even read it!. I had no idea that layout, format and correct punctuation, was so very important. For some reason I thought all you needed to do was spew out the words in your head, onto paper; edit for typos and then send it off to a publisher. Looking back now, I can't believe that I was so na├»ve. 

I also notice now, how critical I have become when reading books by published writers. I see every little thing the editors missed, and there are more than you would think. That sent me back to my own book and, oh dear, what mess! It is sad because I do love my stories, all true. But how badly they were presented is an embarrassment to me. I think I will probably go back and rewrite it. Or maybe rewrite each chapter and publish the edited versions here. After all, it is just a series of essays.

The final lesson is that what I really want to do is write short stories and essays. What I find interesting is that is not what I normally choose to read; but I have started. I now have a subscription to the New Yorker and I enjoy it, all of it. The essays, the short fiction and the reporting of current events. I like to read novels on long flights and when on the treadmill, because they relieve the boredom, but short fiction is ideal for places like the doctor or dentist waiting room, while waiting for a cake to bake or just to fill in time.

So I am currently working on a number of short stories; in between working on this blog, updating my book as an exercise in correct formatting; and returning to my more favorite Masterclasses. Judy Blume of course, David Baldacci, David Sedaris, Neil Gaiman and Amy Tan are top of my list at the moment. I have not given up hope that more writers will be added.

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