Comparing writing a proposal to writing a book

I finally have a break from work. Yes, it’s Sunday and I have the day off. For the last five weeks I’ve been knee-deep in working with a team of engineers writing a proposal to the U. S. Air Force. And, I’d like to share some of the steps they have gone through – some very similar to those we take as fiction and nonfiction authors and some not. Plan. Start with an outline or a plan – the engineers produced annotated outlines and planning documents called story maps that showed where on each page of their sections their graphics and text will layout on the page. I started both my memoir and novel with outlines. I know some of you are panzers, but I like to have a plan before I write. Review. We spent a lot of time reviewing these plans for compliance with the proposal instructions and technical soundness. I was very fortunate to have a friend review my original memoir outline and another person review my revision plan when I was getting it ready for publication. Having fresh eye … [Read more...]

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Ask the author

One of the best experiences I had while we were on our recent trip to New England and the East Coast was being a guest at my great niece, Anna’s first grade class in Fairfax, Virginia. The class was working on a poetry unit. They had spent a lot of time in the last two months writing and illustrating Ouch, Acrostic, Animal, Color, and Haiku poems in preparation for a program for family and friends called Poetry and Punch. At first I thought Jessica, the teacher, wanted me to give them a lesson in writing Haiku – the poetry form they were currently working on. But, no. They already were writing them and knew all about the form. So I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I was going to have a Question and Answer session with them. Jessica had the children sit on the rug in the front of the room and introduced me as Anna’s Aunt Madeline, the author. She then gave them the opportunity to ask me any questions they had about my work as a writer and author. And from the very first quest … [Read more...]

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