WMBTSD Giveaway Day Eighteen: September 18, 2007

There are only thirteen days left! My, time flies when you’re giving things away. 😉

Just a couple quick reminders for anyone who is joining us for the first time:

The list of giveaways is here. I added another book.

“Da Rules” are here.

Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript by Cynthia LaufenbergAnd you don’t want to miss today’s book. It’s September 18th: Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript Edited by Cynthia Laufenberg and the Editors of Writer’s Digest Books (Writer’s Digest Books 2007).

Here’s the description:

Revised and with dozens of new examples, this edition of Formatting & Submitting Your Manuscript builds upon the success of the original–providing the comprehensive information every writer needs to prepare stand-out submissions–while also adding new information on specific genres, electronic submissions, and more.

Readers will find an expanded selection of sample manuscripts, query letters, proposals, cover letters, outlines, synopses and more–all featuring callouts that clearly identify and explain critical elements.

From specific fiction genres to nonfiction books to pictures books and poetry, this comprehensive guide provides crucial information for any writer hoping to be published.

Please answer the following question in 50-300 words to enter today’s giveaway: 

What’s your favorite part of the writing process? Is it the early stages–the idea stages? Is it the very early draft stages? Is it the rewriting, whether expanding or tightening? Or is it the finishing touches of formatting and proofreading and trying to make sure your writing is spot on? Or do you format early and let someone else catch your mistakes? As always, there are no “right” answers. Just your unique points of view.


33 Responses to “WMBTSD Giveaway Day Eighteen: September 18, 2007”

  1. 1 Mar Junge September 18, 2007 at 3:47 am

    My favorite part of the writing process is in the middle, after the hours of research and the tweaking of outlines, when it’s time to pull all the ideas together into one fantastic article.

    Finally, I can let the words stream out and ripple past the editors’ blocks. Content bubbles to the surface. Creative headlines jump up like trout after flies.

    My favorite writing time is now, between midnight and 5 a.m., when the phones are sleeping, no email is beeping, and the only sound is the whistle of the Amtrack bound for points East.

    Soon it will be dawn and daily deadlines will rise. But for a few more precious hours, it’s just me and my words, and a chance to write like I’ve never written before.

  2. 2 brainymama September 18, 2007 at 5:27 am

    I would have to say that I am learning to enjoy every stage of the writing process because each stage requires something different from me. I’m a quilter and I think the writing process can be compared to the sewing process. In the beginning stages of a quilt, I really enjoy deciding on the pattern I’m going to use and playing with the various fabrics and choosing a color scheme. The beginning stages of a writing project are similar. I have to decide what form I want my piece to take. What will I write about? What genre will I choose? It’s time to play and experiment. The next stage of quilting requires more planning and is the most arduous part of the process. I have to calculate how much fabric I will need. This stage requires careful attention as I cut out each piece and figure out how each block will fit together. In the revision stage of writing, there is a lot of tweaking going on—a constant refitting and reworking of words until the body of the piece is coherent and strong. The last part of making a quilt is just as important as the other two stages. The quilt’s edges must be bound and finished and the layers stitched together. I enjoy the last stages of formatting and proofreading because I know that this effort is what will make my piece look clean and professional and ready for submission.

  3. 3 Beth K. Vogt September 18, 2007 at 5:46 am

    I love the re-write phase of writing. Call me crazy, but I love writing and re-writing and re-writing until the words and sentences and paragraphs are just right.
    I like wrestling a manuscript into submission (pun intended). I like meeting with my critique group, Inkspired, and getting their insights. Thinking, “Aha! That is a better way to structure that sentence!” or “I didn’t make any sense in that paragraph, did I?”
    You could say I enjoy the hard work of writing–the labor that it takes to make a manuscript “sing,” as my mentor says.

  4. 4 Shawn September 18, 2007 at 6:44 am

    For non-fiction, it’s the ideas for me. For fiction, it’s the beginning, getting to know the characters and learning step-by-step where the path is going. I get lost in rewrites, though, so I would pick that dead last on my list of things I like about writing. If it’s not good enough the first time around, it doesn’t see the light of day. It’s much easier for me when someone else reads my writing and tells me what is wrong with it and how to fix it. Otherwise, I get overwhelmed. This is something I definitely need to work on around here, for both fiction and non-fiction.

  5. 5 Andrea McMann September 18, 2007 at 6:51 am

    My favorite part of the writing process is the beginning. I’m always coming up with new ideas for stories or articles. It’s so exciting when that lightbulb in my head clicks on and I have to scramble for a notebook and pen, jotting it down before the new idea flies out of my head. The problem is, I have so many ideas that never get past the idea stage. I often find that once I get used to a new idea, I grow bored with it, or simply change my mind about it, and the once exciting ideas become nothing more than idle thoughts left abandoned on a page. I have a hard time sticking with an idea all the way through the writing process, but when I actually do, I feel like I’ve really accomplished something.

  6. 6 Heather Haapoja September 18, 2007 at 7:05 am

    Hey brainymama, nice to meet another quilter/writer! It’s so true. There are so many similarities in the whole creative process, no matter what the medium. ;o)

    Hmm… my favorite part of the writing process. Depends on if I’m writing fiction or non-fiction.

    In fiction writing, the very early draft stage is definitely my favorite. Once I’ve formed the basic story idea and I can just sit down and write, write, write – I love it! It’s the one stage of the process where I really feel in charge, confident, like I DO know what I’m doing! lol

    In the later stages, my “inner critic” kicks in, telling me the idea wasn’t as good as I originally thought. It’s wrong for the target audience. It’s too predictable. Blah, blah, blah… I get caught up in the never-ending revision process. Thus, the unpolished manuscripts abound in my filing cabinet.

    In non-fiction, however, I enjoy the rewriting, arranging the different points into a logical order, plugging in quotes where they’re most effective. It’s kind of like a puzzle, and when everything falls into place, its clear cut, obvious, and very satisfying when everything comes out right.

  7. 7 Tricia Grissom September 18, 2007 at 7:29 am

    It’s whatever stage I’m not in at the moment. If I’m drafting, I wish I already had writing to work with – that it would be so much easier – and if I’m revising, I think how much faster it was to draft and not have to flog my brain so hard to come up with just the right word or expression.

    It’s like childbirth – your forget the hard part after it’s done. I’m such a whiny writer.

  8. 8 Lisa September 18, 2007 at 7:54 am

    My favorite part is editing. The beginning is such a free flow of thoughts, where I’m not worrying too much about grammar; I’m just trying to get the words down on the page. After I write for a few days, I then go back and evaluate and edit and see if I’m going in the right direction. To me, getting my thoughts down and expanding the story and characters is more important than being grammatically accurate. I’m happy to exercise my mind and writing, and decide what I want to change later on.

  9. 9 Abbey September 18, 2007 at 8:20 am

    I enjoy the early stages of the writing process when I have many pieces of information that need to fit into a coherent, solid article. I look at writing articles as solving a jigsaw puzzle. After completing my research and interviews, I need to find the right place for the information — and there is a definite “right” place.

    I also enjoy the editing and revising stages, but I get obsessive about it — I’m never completely satisfied with my final product. I rethink word choice and punctuation until I drive myself crazy. When I reach that point, I send the article off to my editor and I’m done with it!

  10. 10 Mary Jo C. September 18, 2007 at 8:31 am

    I love the idea stages, but the most exhilarating moment for me is the first draft. This is the discovery phase. Having a setting and some characters and writing their quirks and being surprised by their actions and dialogue. Kind of like watching your kids grow up; some things shock you, some things teach you and some things just melt your heart!

    I have a few writing processes and I’m experimenting to find one that works. First, I hand write everything! Makes me feel more involved in the creative process, ya know, “hands on” like how personal our signature is. After the manic thoughts stop, I’ll read through what I have and edit as I go (a habit I’m trying to break!) I edit again as I type the scenes into the computer, this makes it seem more final, less flexible for changes. Formatting? Forget it! That’s the boring, analytical stage. To tame the incomplete sentences, correct the dyslexic spelling errors, find redundancies. So, as you can see, I need this book badly!

  11. 11 Pattie September 18, 2007 at 8:39 am

    I enjoy the idea and drafting stages with my own writing, but the tightening and proofreading of someone else’s writing. Sometimes I wonder if I’m not a writer, but an editor, at heart. This may stem from years of teaching writing and helping my students perfect their own work, while my own sat in unfinished bits on my computer hard drive or in notebooks on my shelf. At any rate, I believe this book would help me with all the unanswered questions about what the finished product should look like before it leaves my house, and maybe that will spur me on to finish all the unfinished articles and books that are sitting dormant within the bounds of my computer!

    PS: I have been trying to promote your contest on my site, but I do not know if anyone has taken my bait 🙂

  12. 12 marnini September 18, 2007 at 9:18 am

    What a great book. Mama wants:)

    I love when an idea pops in my head and it executes exactly the way I intended. So I guess this would be considered the early phases.
    When I started writing the thought of editing and proofreading seemed daunting. But now it is probably my favorite part. I love to go back and look at my work with fresh eyes and see words that could be cut and sentences that could be restructured. It’s like a puzzle, it becomes clearer as you go. So, there you have it I love the beginning and the end. The middle is great too but they can’t all be my favorite.

  13. 13 Melissa September 18, 2007 at 9:29 am

    Well, the idea stage is nice, given that there’s not a whole lot of work involved! Or at least, not the really trying get-it-down-on-paper kind of work that sometimes torments me. But once it’s down, I love revising and trimming and getting it into shape, too. I hate having to be “done,” since I always think I could revise more (forever and ever!), but I like having things sent off for someone else to check out. Hmm, so favorite part… I’d still probably go with the idea part, where I can think the project will be easy and brilliant and fabulous without having to actually make it so. 🙂

  14. 14 Shonna September 18, 2007 at 10:27 am

    I like beginnings and endings. I’ve got an oversized “project planner” notebook that I do all my brainstorming and story development in. It’s nice and thick and I don’t know where I bought it from. I sure hope I can find another one when I use up this one! I so enjoy starting with a thought, a name, an idea and seeing where that leads me.

    The next best thing is the very end, when I print out the article, book, whatever. Sigh. It’s done. All that work. Oh, wait a minute, maybe I should change that word….or maybe add something here….

  15. 15 anonymom September 18, 2007 at 10:30 am

    I’m a fiction writer and my favorite part of the process is sitting down to write with my notebook and pen and finding some hilarious things coming out, fabulous ideas that spring forth spontaneously. I never know what’s going to be written when I first start a story, so there is this anticipation of something wonderful and then great satisfaction when it appears on the page.

    BTW, I (heart) fall, too. And I have a daughter named Autumn to prove it! 😉

  16. 16 Cyndi Pratt September 18, 2007 at 10:39 am

    I really like the idea light-bulb-comes-on moments. I love developing those initial stages of a story or theme. I have several ideas for novels sitting on simmer while I trudge through finishing one good story. I’m about mid-way through and it’s like walking through heavy slush. I’m making headway but it’s slow going. I probably should concentrate on short stories because I like to start and finish quickly on a project but I’m determined to get this novel ready for submission. I’ve told myself I cannot work on another until this one is finished.

  17. 17 Cath September 18, 2007 at 10:46 am

    I love that surge of adrenaline when I come up with a great idea (or what I think is great) and then make a dash for my pen, dripping all over the paper. I’m not sure why my ideas come when I’m in the shower or tub…it’s seriously putting a dent in my water bill!

    I hate formatting, period. Every time I think I have something ready, I check sub guidelines and wouldn’t you just know it? The story has to be in Courier NOT Times Roman (or vice versa)…single spaced NOT double spaced (or vice versa). When I’m at the send off stage I just want to send it!

    Rewrites, editing…that’s not as easy to quantify. I guess I have a love-hate relationship going on with that process. I love how richly my stories can develop when I see something I missed in that first rush to get thoughts on paper. But I hate how I work something to death.

  18. 18 Mary Jude September 18, 2007 at 11:18 am

    For me it is a toss up between the idea stage and the rewriting stage. I love searching for any scrap of paper to write down a new idea, but then it is somewhat daunting…scribbling it down for me means a commitment to at least try to do something with it! I then enjoy what comes after my initial drafts, trying to read with somewhat fresh eyes and consider what could be better.

  19. 19 Rose September 18, 2007 at 11:59 am

    My favorite part of the writing process happens before I even pick up a pen. It’s the excuse to listen in on other people’s conversations. It’s the freedom to ask the question that’s on everybody’s mind. It’s the impetus to take a risk. It’s the pleasure of slowing down to observe. It’s the desire to express. It’s the energy to take a new path. It’s the willingness to connect. It’s the decision to care.

  20. 20 Linda Harris September 18, 2007 at 12:19 pm

    I love researching. Sometimes I have to tell myself to stop researching and start writing. Although, going back to Heather Sellers, she says to read 100 books on your subject or in your genre. So I have permission to read, read, read!

    Another favorite part is writing down the “chunks” of inspiration that come to me at odd times. My writing is like putting together chocolate chunk cookies. I have all the chocolate chunks; now I need to bind them together with the cookie dough. That part’s tough for me. And that’s where I am right now.

  21. 21 Chris September 18, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    I love the first moment when an idea starts to germinate, and the thoughts start flowing into a first draft. Sinking your feet into the story and the characters is such a great feeling.

    There’s antoher enjoyable process that follows, which is the period after you let your project “rest” and you pull it out of the drawer for a fresh eye. This really serves to give a slightly more objective outlook, and oftentimes helps to make my work better–so this is a valuable step.

    That notwithstanding, I could reallllllllllly use this book! 🙂

  22. 22 Erika September 18, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    For me, I love when I first start typing the ideas into my computer. I may have a scratch piece of paper of notes or just ideas rolling around in my head, but it feels like such a relief to finally capture it in words.

    I have this fear that I will forget some fabulous idea so once it’s written, I can let go of that fear. I don’t worry much about the quality of the writing at that moment – it is all just an effort to free up more space in my mind for the next idea to come along – which, of course, always looks great at the early stage!

  23. 23 Tammy E September 18, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    My favorite part of the writing process is when ideas start percolating. That usually happens just as my head is hitting the pillow, and if I don’t capture them at that moment,they are gone in the morning.

    When I do start to write them down, some of them are easy to identify and get down on paper. Then there are others that are just peeking out from the depths of consciousness – just to the point that I am aware there is an idea there, but I just can’t quite pull it on out into the open yet. When they finally materialize, those are the ones that put me in the writing ‘zone’ – like a gift from the universe where words come faster than I can write them down.

    I don’t mind the re-reading process, but I am a lousy self-editor.

  24. 24 Besu September 18, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    To use a paraphrase from my novel: “the birth of a muse has a high rate of still births.” There is a certain romance to the idea-stage, but I want the satisfaction of substance.

    I loved the adolescence of my book. The first draft was done; the awkwardness and the growth pains started to kick in. It was frustrating – filling those plot hole cavities with words and spackle – but there is that amazing satisfaction of already having completed so much. I love taking one bland line and making it into a paragraph of vivid description.

    I am now at the teenage stage of my novel. It’s tedious and not-so-fun. Fixing typos, trying to get other people to read and provide perspective… I just want my story to grow up, become a book and move out!

    That said, this prize book sounds really good. If I don’t win, I may have to buy a copy.

  25. 25 Heather M September 18, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    My favorite part of the writing process is the beginning, the idea stage. I love outlining a new idea and seeing where it will take me. Finding out how the idea is going to grow and mature into a full blown story. To me this is the most exciting part of the writing process.

  26. 26 Tammy September 18, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    I don’t have a favorite part of the writing process. I love it all. Each element has its ups and downs. The idea stage is fun, especially when I’m inspired. Sometimes, though, it’s tough when I’m trying to think of an idea for a deadline, or for a blog post. I try to avoid starting at the blank screen, and do my idea gathering away from the puter. The writing part is fun, especially when I’m inspired. It’s not fun when I’m writing a letter telling a writer I can’t use his material. Editing is fun, especially when I really like the topic. Editing stories is fun too, trying to make them work like a puzzle. They can be rough sometimes though when I am not sure where I’m going with it. And of course, being published is fun. Although, I get a little uneasy knowing that lots of people are reading my stuff.

    So it’s all good, with an element of potential negatives with each stage.

  27. 27 Kathleen E September 18, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    My favorite part of writing is developing my characters. I don’t do a detailed character rap sheet like many writers do. I just make an informal sheet with a few of the basic ingredients. Then I ask the character a couple of questions about the intended project and let him or her tell me their take on it.
    This is a great way to allow your character to develop on their own. Pretty soon they will be tugging your eyelids opn in the middle of the night wanting to talk to you becuse they have already come to trust you with all their confidences.

  28. 28 Zen Writer September 18, 2007 at 4:11 pm

    My favorite part of the writing process is certainly the final edit. When I’m doing the writing, I always have some weird aversion to reading whatever I’ve written that day. Don’t ask me why. I almost think of it as a painting – I’m in the moment, creating the art, and if I stop to review, I’ll get too caught up in revisions.

    On my recent book project, I wrote 1,000 words a day for 30 days, but I didn’t read any of my daily writings until I was given the final, edited manuscript. It was my first read through the whole collection, and it seemed …new… that way. I was able to get a better idea of how a reader would perceive the book if they were to casually pick it up at the bookstore.

  29. 29 tastycake September 18, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Anytime I can put my pen down after writing a sentence and say to myself, “Zounds, that was fantastic!” is the absolute best part for me. So often I’m going along, creating word after word and sentence after sentence with no idea at all whether the reader will be as engaged by what s/he is reading as I am by writing it. That’s such a frustrating feeling. HOWEVER, that needle-in-a-haystack moment arrives about once a chapter, when I write a sentence and just KNOW that I’ve nailed it. Everyone is going to love that sentence, everyone! It’s as perfect as it can be, and even if the rest of the chapter is complete and utter rubbish, I know that I’ve written one brilliant thing.

    I live for those moments. Now if only I could string them all together to make an entirely brilliant book….

  30. 30 Laura September 18, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    My favorite part of the writing process is the first rewrite. All the ideas are already on paper. The possiblities already exist. When I do my first draft, I try to just write, take the bad with the good. This to me is the hardest part. Next comes the fun part, the rewrite. I enjoy the process of weeding out unnecessary words, and tightening up the paragraphs.

    Afterwards comes the rest of the rewrites, submission and hopefully publication. However, my favorite part is still the first rewrite, when possiblities are new, but waiting for me.

  31. 31 Darren Lipman September 18, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    When I first started writing, my favorite part was just after I began. Beginnings are often hard for me, unless I’m lucky to be hit with one of those ideas that just screams what words to begin it with, and then it’s rather easy to put on paper and get into the story. Once I’m in the story, though, that rush of sheer brilliance and rapture is incredible. As the piece progresses, it can sometimes wane and feel dull, perhaps sitting silent for days, weeks, or in extreme cases, even months, but once I break back into writing it, that rush and excitement is once again the greatest feeling there is.

    But now I’ve come to love all the stages of writing, and I’m a better writer because of it. I still love the start, and I still take pleasure in the rush of the middle, but now I appreciate the worth of editing and the satisfaction of completion. Early into my life of writing, I detested editing (which is to me the process rewriting, proofreading, and doing it all over again), though as I’ve trained my eye to catch more weaknesses in writing, it’s become an endless adventure of discovery (and rediscovery) as I weed out the weaknesses and take pride in the strengths of stories. And since I’ve come to stand by my writing until completion (a habit I regrettably didn’t begin with), nothing can now compare to the feeling of accomplishment when I write that final word and proclaim, “The end.” It is a feeling beyond expression.

  32. 32 LauraE September 18, 2007 at 8:48 pm

    OOOO! I’d HAVE to say that my favorite part of the writing process is the early stages. My romance with a new story. Not that I have commitment issues. My romance grows over time. But it’s like going out with a guy for the first time. I always think about the story, wake up almost nightly with new inspirations, day dream about new plot twists and evil plot bunnies. I’d have to say that the early stage is my favorite. But coming in a close second is the stage I’m in with one of my novels. I’m calling it the mature stage. The stage where I’m throwing half of the novel out and honing what’s left to fine tune the dramatic arc and the thrill-ride of the story. The story and I can tire out quickly together, but the time spent is golden.

  33. 33 Mary Jo September 18, 2007 at 11:46 pm

    I love the whole process! Creativity bubbles up as ideas float around in my imagination, bumping into each other, merging, changing, until they come into clear focus and start demanding to be preserved in ink. Then the fun really begins: drafting those ideas into word pictures, painting landscapes and characters with letters, until the whole story is complete.

    Sooner or later, I have to step back and reread my work. That’s when I begin wrestling with words and phrases, shifting ideas and images, in order to make the word pictures more aesthetic to the imagination of the reader. I cut unnecessary dialogue, clarify descriptions, expand an action scene, change a character’s mind. Rewriting is like any other hard work–it can be tiring, but it’s also exhilarating, as I start to realize how much I’m accomplishing, and as I see my piece move toward perfection.

    That final formatting process is like the frosting on the cake. When it is finished, I have the thrill of standing back and admiring my workmanship, awed by the ability to create beauty and depth of idea with letters, and words, and phrases.

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