Writing short

by | Apr 23, 2007 | Blog, Improve your writing | 1 comment

I think the weekend just passed is the first since I started writing this blog that I did not post anything new. Apologies, gentle reader, but I was busy learning and networking at the American Society of Journalists and Authors Conference all day Saturday and Sunday. My head was spinning at the end but I took copious notes and will share snippets with you once I get organised – my apartment is covered in papers and magazines and manuscripts and I have to go to work.

The most valuable thing I took away from this event is an anecdote that I aim to share at any writers conference or festival or panel to which I might one day be invited. (Said invitation presupposes publication of book which is still being written, but a great anecdote is gold, and one must hold on to them when one finds them.)

At a session on “revising your manuscript” – which I assumed, silly me, would focus on long-form works such as books rather than articles about snowboarding for regional magazines (the moderator’s day job) – I asked one panellist how she was finding the transition from writing articles to writing chapters of her first book. “I tend to write short,” I said, “and I was curious about whether that was something you struggled with.”

She looked at me quizzically through her cool glasses and said with a shrug, “If you’re writing short then you’re probably not passionate enough about your topic.”

The temptation to humiliate her in front of the entire audience by identifying the topic of my book was extreme. To my credit I resisted and did not press the point.

Later, in the “restroom”, another panellist approached me and said, “Honey [she’s from LA], if you’re writing short, it probably means you’re not ready to write a book.”

I look forward to proving them all wrong.

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