5th Anniversary Announcement of New Feature: Community Forum

Anniversary Announcement: New Community Forum Feature!

May 5, 2019

 

Dear friends,

Five years ago this month – on May 10th, I think – I started this little blog for writers and creative people of all types.  It’s hard to believe it’s been five years already!  In some ways it feels like yesterday, and that is good because apparently visitors find something here that ‘fits’ or speaks to them in some way.  Some folks even stay and follow Magic Lamp here and/or on my Magic Lamp Edits Facebook page.  In fact, as of April 30th, we’re up to 160 followers here.  Thank you to everyone, longtime followers and brand new, and welcome!

For those who are new here, here’s a little background.  When I first started the Prompter Room feature, two to three years ago now, I found inspirational quotes to share every day, words that I hoped prompted some creative energy for your work.  Many of you are writers and poets, and there are photographers, fashion designers, crafters, builders, visual artists, graphic designers, and so many other unique artists among us. 

I used to add my own thoughts every day as well.  After a little over a year, the daily posts became too much – I was dealing with major health issues, it was getting difficult to find new thought-provoking quotes, but mostly I found my own reflections were losing their freshness.  I didn’t want to start repeating myself.  So I switched to twice a week for the Prompter Room, Tuesdays and Fridays, with no reflection.  That’s been much more manageable. 

It’s also been more enjoyable for me.  I spend quite a lot of time looking for passages that might speak to our collective creativity, whatever our genres.  Maybe you need a boost to start a new project, or finish one.  Maybe you’re stuck on a character’s development and progress.  Maybe you read or heard something that threw down a barrier and you need a hand up and over to start painting again.  Wherever you are in your creative process, in whatever genre, I hope the Prompter Room posts have helped, or made you think, or given you more confidence in your work.

For some time now, I’ve been thinking of ways to make Magic Lamp and the Prompter Room more interactive, more of a community, where we can talk with each other.  Now that we’re at the fifth anniversary, I thought this would be a good time to try to form a group for folks who are interested.  I don’t know how to do that on WordPress, other than the occasional comments readers post for me, but I think it can be done via Facebook.

So I have created a Community Forum group on the Magic Lamp Editing Services page on Facebook.  I can invite Facebook followers in a group message; as far as I know, though, I can’t do that through Word Press.  If you’re interested, then, there are two ways to join.

If you’re on Facebook already, please go to the Facebook group (look for Magic Lamp Editing Services).  Go to the page’s menu on the left, scroll all the way down to ‘Community,’ and ask to be included.  Be sure to tell me you’re following my WordPress blog.  I’ve made the Community Forum a closed group.  That way potential members or casual visitors can see only the name of the group, its purpose, and my name as administrator (Genie Rayner).  The public cannot see any of the content of our conversations or members’ comments.

This isn’t quite what I had in mind – I’d hoped to set up a group on WordPress – but I do hope you’ll visit the Facebook Community Forum, and perhaps even join up! 

If you’re not already on Facebook, here’s the link to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/groups/425809148153066/?ref=bookmarks .  This takes you straight to the Community Forum.

Staying true to the original intent of the Magic Lamp blog, I invite you to post short editing questions or concerns – Is the syntax in this paragraph correct?  Did I get the tenses right?  How much dialogue is too much?  Where does the apostrophe go? etc. – but also general questions or thoughts or ideas about creativity and the creative process.  Or maybe one of the Prompter Room posts got you thinking in a new way.  Of course, you can always write to me on my WordPress blog page, too.  (And if you want to talk about a longer project with editing needs, please send me a private message and/or go to the ‘About’ page on my blog.)

We’re all creating together and I hope we can help, encourage, and support each other.  (Maybe someone can give me a nudge, please, to get past my major blocks with my novel-in-progress and my poetry.  I haven’t written a poem in a couple of years, and I really miss my muse …)

So Happy 5th Anniversary, everyone!  Thank you again for sharing this space with me, and I hope to get to know some of you better in the Community Forum on Facebook.

 

As always, blessings on your work!

~~ Genie

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Critiques and Reviews Workshop

(Based on and expanded from ideas for a workshop in an online writing group from several years ago, with thanks and a hat tip to my friend, author Rob Read)

The intent of reviews/critiques is to benefit the writing, characters, plot – and thereby all of us as writers – not to criticize authors or their writing. The story/poem/essay/etc., is the focus, NOT the person who has done the writing. There’s a reason ‘critique’ is not spelled ‘criticism.’

Go to my new page ‘Critiques and Reviews Workshop’ for some thoughts on what makes for a good review experience, from and for both writers and reviewers. Of course correct spelling, grammar/syntax, and punctuation are givens, but there’s a lot more!

That Horn You Hear is Mine

Note: This is more a reminder to myself than blatant self-promotion.  It’s something of a written ‘selfie,’ I suppose, so read with that in mind, please.

I usually shy away from using the pronoun ‘I’ to start anything I write, but today I’m going to use it on purpose because I’m going to blow my own horn.

I do that even less than I start my work with … you know … but here’s why I’m doing both in this post: I’m a damn good editor.  There, both ‘I’s and the horn in one sentence.  In bold italics, too.  Wow!

I started thinking of this last week. I was in the hospital sleeping off (kind of) the general anesthesia I’d had earlier on Tuesday for a catheter ablation and, for some reason, I started thinking of all the people for whom I’ve served as editor.  Then I started to recall all the different projects they have shared with me.  This train of thought was inspired, I believe, by the teamwork of all the medical staff who worked on and with me for the procedure: the surgeon, of course, but also — and especially — the pre-op, OR, and post-op nurses and nursing assistants, the lab folks, the food service and housekeeping staffs, even the pre-op registrar.

We all need a team around us as we work — family, friends, colleagues to support and encourage us in our solitary writing times.  As an editor, too, I prefer to work as a team with each particular author.  I don’t, and won’t, work alone with another’s words.  I cannot presume to give voice to another’s words and vision on my own, and so I relish the opportunity to get to know each author, to communicate with her on a regular basis, to make suggestions for him to consider, to offer ideas for us both to try together.

As I thought of all the years I’ve done this editing gig — this work that I love, and all the people, all the projects and manuscripts I’ve worked with  — I realized that I am a team myself, too.  The majority of good editors are, and we have to be, but it’s according to a different definition of ‘team.’

This team knows how to edit Steampunk stories, vampire novels, poetry collections, humorous and spiritual memoirs, academic papers and dissertations, essays and other creative non-fiction, fantasy and mainstream short stories, even pastoral theology for the various intended audiences because I have written in all of these — and other — genres.  I know how to spell and punctuate according to British, Australian, Canadian and American customs from a lifetime of reading and studying a wide variety of world literature from the earliest of days to last week, along with the most up-to-date journals and manuals.   In other words, then, I am backed up by the sometimes-centuries of unseen writers who have gone before me, on whose shoulders I am privileged to stand, and what they’ve taught me.

I am beyond grateful.  I am also well aware that my own writing may not — and in some cases, does not — compare with some of the writers I’ve read over the years.  The important thing in my teambuilding, though, is that I’ve tried my hand at the different genres. I made it a point to stretch myself, sometimes going beyond my comfort zone (as when I wrote zombie and vampire stories), for my own benefit, but especially to improve my editing work.

That’s what teams do best: we encourage each other to reach beyond what is normal, what is usual.  I’ve found that because I’ve done so myself, I can do so for others as well.  Together, then, our work ensures my clients that their words are in good hands. They can entrust their words to me because I am a damn good editor.

How Do You Work Best?

Note: A short time after I posted this, I realized I’d already published it here with a different title.  I was going to take it down, but I received a comment or two immediately and decided to keep it up.  In the interim, I had the opportunity to read an article about something very similar, which bears out — and says better and in more detail — what I was trying to express.  The article can be found at NPR.com.  Look for the title ‘In a Digital Chapter, Paper Notebooks are as Relevant as Ever’ from May 27, 2015.  Be sure to read the comments, too!

Do you have or utilize different writing/creative processes for the different genres in which you write?

When I write poetry, for instance, I have to start and finish the first draft in longhand. Once I start refining a poem, I can do it on the computer – though it always seems better when I stick to pen and paper – but it always has to start with the physical process. The pen has to channel my images and thoughts onto paper. And I need silence. Lots and lots of silence, and no distractions.

When I write fiction, I usually start that same way, but then I can easily go to the computer or go back and forth between the two as I craft the final product. Again I need silence for this, but there can be the (very) occasional and short-lived distraction.

Creative non-fiction is the easiest to compose on the computer, for some reason. And I can work on something with other things going on around me.

I’ve always been intrigued at these differences. So here’s the question: How do you work best in your various genres and why?

Different Strokes

Do you have or utilize different writing/creative processes for the different genres in which you write?

When I write poetry, for instance, I have to start and finish the first draft in longhand. Once I start refining a poem, I can do it on the computer – though it always seems better when I stick to pen and paper – but it always has to start with the physical process of the pen channeling my images and thoughts onto paper. And I need silence. Lots and lots of silence, and no distractions.

When I write fiction, I usually start that same way, but then I can easily go to the computer or go back and forth between the two as I craft the final product. Again I need silence for this, but there can be the (very) occasional and short-lived distraction.

Creative non-fiction is easier for me to compose on the computer, for some reason. And I can work on something with other things going on around me.

I’ve always been intrigued at these differences. So here’s the question: How do you work best in your various genres and why?