Guest Bloggers

Revision: When the really big ideas show up.

Today’s Guest Blogger Rachael Herron has this to say about revision. I’m back in the middle of revision of a book, and I’m finally swimming in the water I love. What I adore about revision is this: I know the world. I invented it, after all! When I open the document, I’m right in the middle of something I understand. It’s much easier, for me, to drop in for hours and rest on the page. It’s also easier to come out of, to shake off. First drafts remain torture for me. So many of you love the first drafts, and I can admit that sometimes, the writing of new words is glorious. You surprise yourself with a turn of phrase that you’re pretty sure is genius and has probably never been said before. The plot bends and a tree you wrote about comes to life and points a branched finger…

Guest Bloggers

How to catch the ideas that flit by.

Today’s Guest Blogger post is from one of my favorite authors, Rachael Herron. Rachael writes: A comment by David Sedaris on a podcast gave me an a-ha moment recently, and I wanted to share it with you. I’d always wondered how he got his essays so brilliantly specific—filled with the kind of particulars that put you right into the spot where he stands. From Me Talk Pretty One Day, “For the first twenty years of my life, I rocked myself to sleep. It was a harmless enough hobby, but eventually, I had to give it up. Throughout the next twenty-two years I lay still and discovered that after a few minutes I could drop off with no problem. Follow seven beers with a couple of scotches and a thimble of good marijuana, and it’s funny how sleep just sort of comes on its own. Often I never even made it…

Places to submit

Find the right magazine for your article.

Rachael Herron wrote an article, soon to be published in Vogue magazine. Not about “fashion, beauty, culture, living, runway, met gala.” Rachael’s article is about clearing out craft supplies. Imagine that. What a brilliant idea! I imagine most crafters would benefit from an article about how to organize material and/or encouragement to let go of scraps of fabric, wisps of ribbon, etc. Do you have a special skill, a hobby, a special interest? Write about it. Think about a magazine that might seem an unusual fit. Tweak your essay to fit the magazine’s demographics. Research the magazine’s mission statement, purpose, intent, masthead. Do you have a pet peeve, an obsession, a unique collection? Turn your thoughts into an article, then research and submit! Browse magazines at the library. Search online for potential magazines. Find the right magazine for your piece: Every Writer Wikipedia List of American Magazines How a Freelance…

Prompts

Elevator Pitch. . . Prompt #251

This has been Rachael Herron Week on The Write Spot Blog. It’s been fun highlighting her and her work. Today’s writing prompt is inspired by her latest book, The Ones Who Matter Most. “What begins as one woman’s search for truth becomes a deep bond forged between the unlikeliest of people. Their surprising journey reveals how strangers can quickly find themselves to be family, and how kindness can bridge even the widest of gaps.” Choose something from this synopsis, or elevator pitch, to write about. Perhaps: Write about a kindness offered to you, or something kind you did for someone. Or, write about a surprising journey. Or, write about a stranger. Write about what a search revealed. Write about family. Note: An “elevator pitch” is a short summary of a book or project that can be explained in the time it takes an elevator to go from ground floor to…

Guest Bloggers

My endings are always asymptotes. —Rachael Herron

A conversation with Rachael Herron, author of The Ones Who Matter Most. “How did you get the idea for this book?” “The original idea for any of my novels usually gets buried so deep that by the time I’ve finished writing, I can barely remember what the first ideas was. This book, though, was different. The first scene was my original idea.” “Do you always know the endings of your novels when you start them?” “I wish! I know writers who know their endings and aim for them like marksmen. Rather than apples to be hit with arrows, though, my endings are always asymptotes. I write toward them forever, getting closer and closer but never quite getting there. Usually I have to revise the whole book (minus the ending) a few times until I figure out what should really happen.” Excerpted from the Conversation Guide at the end of Rachael…

Prompts

Something surprising found in a desk drawer. Prompt #250

Write about something surprising found in a desk drawer. Today’s writing prompt is inspired by the catalyst for Rachael Herron‘s latest book, The Ones Who Matter Most. A secret in a rolltop desk drawer leads a woman on a search that changes her life and the lives of another family. “What begins as one woman’s search for truth becomes a deep bond forged between the unlikeliest of people, and the discovery that there are many ways to make a family—as long as you take care.  . . ” — quote from the back cover of The Ones Who Matter Most.

Quotes

Writers are incorrigible thieves. — Rachael Herron

The excerpt below is from the Conversation Guide at the back of The Ones Who Matter Most. Question: What might surprise a reader of The Ones Who Matter Most? Author Rachael Herron answers: Writing the scene in which Abby is scrabbling through the rolltop desk’s drawers was a special treat. Writers are incorrigible thieves, stealing bits and pieces of their lives to provide sparkle and heft. We can’t help populating our books with parts of ourselves. I share Abby’s optimistic naiveté as much as I do Fern’s ruthless practicality. But beyond the stolen personality pieces, we steal actual objects. That’s my desk in Scott’s office. As Abby explores the many small drawers, Abby wonders why they aren’t being made useful. They could hold hair bands and gum and those wonderful yellow Paper Mate pencils. In my office, those drawers do hold those things. Found in an antiques store in a…

Just Write

Writing settles my soul —Rachael Herron

Today’s “Just Write” post is an excerpt of Holly Robinson’s interview of Rachael Herron. (Edited for brevity. Click on Huffpost link below to read entire interview.) Holly Robinson writes: One of my favorite things about being a writer is having the chance to meet other writers whose books I admire. I probably admire few books as much as I do Splinters of Light, my new friend Rachael Herron’s powerful, poignant, and surprisingly comic novel inspired by a People magazine article about the impact of early-onset Alzheimer’s on a woman and her family. In the hands of another writer, this topic could be dreary and depressing, but Rachael spins a story of resilience and love that leaves you believing in the healing power of family and forgiveness. Splinters of Light is a reading experience you won’t soon forget. Here’s a look at how Rachael works — she’s a prolific author of romance novels,…

Book Reviews

The Ones Who Matter Most by Rachael Herron

The Ones Who Matter Most by Rachael Herron reviewed by Shelly Tracy Gilliland: Rachael Herron never disappoints! Her characters are so believable you might think you live next door to any one of them. Her story lines and dialogue are real, too. I don’t read a book I don’t like because my TBR (to be read) list is far too long for that. The Ones Who Matter Most will engage you from start to finish. Shelly Tracey Gilliland reads voraciously, writes and quilts at her cozy home in northeast Indiana. Review by Marlene Cullen: Herron has the unique ability to write a scene that feels and sounds so real, it’s as if I’m right next to these characters as they move through their lives —at work, at home, running errands. I ride alongside the heroine as she navigates new and tricky waters. I clutch onto her jacket as she is…

Guest Bloggers

Does failure weigh more than success?

Guest Blogger Rachael Herron writes about successes and failures. It’s December! I know this for a fact (I just rechecked the calendar). No matter which hemisphere you’re in, regardless of season, this year is getting ready for her final bow. It’s completely impossible that 2015 is almost over because about seventeen minutes ago the year was just starting, full of potential and wonder and pale spring-green hope. I’m prone to doing what everyone else does at the end of a year: weighing the past year’s successes and failures against each other. But you know what? Failure weighs way more than success. When you put things on that imaginary scale, each small failure weighs as much as a wheelbarrow full of rocks while each huge success weighs almost nothing. Success makes you lighter—it makes you able to float for a minute or even an hour—while failure drags you so low your…