nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘writing groups

guest post in the South Branch Scribbler

with 2 comments

I find writers are very supportive of one-another. In New Brunswick we have an active writing community and lots of evidence that writers want to work together to improve their craft and promote the work of others!

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Many communities have writing groups who meet regularly — I belong to two groups: “Wolf Tree Writers” who have met for over 25 years and “Fictional Friends” who have been together for almost ten years. Every month, I have a chance to hear about the writing lives of the other members, to hear them read from their work, to practice reading my own work and to obtain feedback.

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I also belong to the New Brunswick Writers’ Federation (WFNB) ( https://wfnb.ca/about-3/ ). WFNB is province-wide with over 260 members. Each year, the WFNB hosts two main workshops: WordSpring and WordsFall. The Annual Writing Competition is a great opportunity for writers in various categories to get recognition for their work. The WFNB also has a writers-in-the-schools program and produces a bimonthly newsletter NBInk, packed full of information on writers, places to publish and contests.

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selling my book (within easy reach, 2016) at WFNB`s WordSpring with fellow author Edith Miller (Crow Impressions, 2016)

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Individual writers are also very supportive of one-another. A few have blogs where they celebrate the writing community. One of these is the South Branch Scribbler http://allanhudson.blogspot.ca/ .  The Scribbler is hosted by Allan Hudson and features interviews and blog posts by and about various authors, many from New Brunswick. Allan is himself a writer, the author of the Drake Alexander novels: Dark Side of a Promise (2014) and Wall of War (coming soon).

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This month I am so happy that Allan has featured my writing in his blog  http://allanhudson.blogspot.ca/2017/03/guest-author-jane-tims-of-new-brunswick.html . Have a look at his other posts including articles and interviews with New Brunswick authors Beth Powning (writer of Home: Chronicle of a North Country Life, 2014, and A Measure of Light, 2015) and Chuck Bowie (writer of the Donovan: Thief for Hire books — Steal It All, 2017; AMACAT, 2014; and Three Wrongs, 2013).

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Thank you to Allan for featuring me on his blog — I took the opportunity to write a bit about managing multiple writing projects!

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a photo of me, taken inside one of New Brunswick`s covered bridges

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Copyright Jane Tims 2017

revisions

with 10 comments

Yesterday was a very windy day.  Some leaves have survived the gusts of wind, but not many.  It has been a short drama of color this year, with only a few acts remaining.  The maples still have some leaves, the poplars are just turning yellow, and the oak is only now losing its green.

While the wind was blowing, I was at my desk, revising some of my poems.  It is my least favorite phase of writing poetry.  I love the beginning, the first ideas fluttering around in my head, and put to paper.  The page at this point is a confused mass of words and phrases, squiggles and arrows.  I like these ‘pen and paper’ revisions.  There is something about the hand-brain connection, so I write and rewrite quite liberally.  By the time I commit the poem to the computer screen, it has already had five or six revisions.  Once on the screen, I move things around a bit, but I print the page to do the finishing touches.

I am quite orderly about final revisions.

First, I work on what the poem is saying.  This is so difficult for me, because I tend to write descriptive poetry.  I have to challenge myself to add narrative, or clarify deeper meaning.  Sometimes the poem gets a new title at this stage.  Unfortunately, I am rarely happy with the results of this step in the revision process.

Next, I do the detailed revisions and for this, I have a checklist to follow (see ‘revision checklist for poetry’ under about)… I know my own work very well and I am prone to repeating words, using passive rather than active verbs, and using the singular when I should use the plural.   I ‘press’ on each word in the poem, to see if another word will add additional meaning, improve internal rhyme, or covey a more accurate image.  I count syllables … sometimes small changes will accentuate or create structure … sometimes there is little if any pattern to the poem.  Lately, I am paying a lot of attention to the ends of the lines, trying to decide why I end each line where I do.

Finally, I read the poem aloud.  This helps me to hear the words, and discover where the rhythm is off, and to know when to include smaller words like articles and when to let them go.  Reading aloud also helps me with ‘voice’.  I often shift from a child’s point of view to the technical and I have to be wary of leaving my audience in a state of confusion.

The next step in the revision process is more enjoyable.  To do some final polishing, I read my poems to an audience.  Sometimes this audience is a member of my family and I listen carefully to their suggestions.  I especially think about bits they may not like.  I also read my poems to the members of my two writing groups.  They offer excellent critique and usually I make some revisions afterward.

When is a poem complete?  Perhaps never.  I still work on poems published years ago.  I guess I agree with Oscar Wilde who said, “This morning I took out a comma and this afternoon I put it back in again.”

If you write poetry, how much time do you spend on revision?  What process do you follow?

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revisions

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a violent October wind –

every tree bleeds red,

bends northward

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my books also lean

and the pencils in their holder

the colors in the hand-blown drinking glass

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purple lavender, scent of summer

the flowers now dry

braided with ribbon

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Copyright  Jane Tims  2012

Written by jane tims

October 12, 2012 at 10:58 am

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