Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Art of Fielding

It's been a long time since a novel captivated me as much as The Art of Fielding. I know very little about baseball and thought I cared even less. Harbach made me love each character, one by one, and crafted a great story about them. The characters (college baseball players, the school president, and his daughter) were compelling, the setting (a small, private college on the shore of Lake Michigan) stark and interesting, and the story simple (primarily about relationships and the forces that drive people), but elegant. The story begins with gifted short stop Henry Skrimshander and his error-free streak. When Henry's record-tying streak is broken by an errant throw, the book shows how it impacts the other characters' lives. The book is beautifully written and contains tons of literary references especially to Melville, the college President's favorite author, after which the baseball team, the Harpooners, is named. I had been listening to it in the car on CD, but about 2/3 of the way through, I couldn't wait any longer to learn what happened to Guert Affenlight, Owen Dunne, Henry Skrimshander, Mike Schwartz, Pella Affenlight and the others. I got the hardback from the library and finished it in one sitting. P.S. After I finished the hardback, I continued listening to the audiobook in my car. I just wasn't ready to let go of the characters.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

“You can fix anything but a blank page.” - Nora Roberts

Each month I receive questions. Below is a summary of frequently asked questions and where to find the answers.

The most frequent question I get is whether I will read manuscripts. I have done this in the past, but currently am focusing on my own writing and not taking individual clients. However, other people are. If you click the "Newsletter" tab on my website then the link on the right-hand side of the page you'll find "Individual Assistance." This page lists editors, coaches, writers, teachers and other people who are in the business of helping writers get the job done. It is not a complete list. I do not necessarily endorse these people or know how well they work. I only know that they have contacted me and they are available.

The second most frequent question I get is whether I know of any writing groups. As a matter of fact, I do. If you're looking for a group, surf over to the Ongoing Writing Groups page. Some writing groups focus on a particular genre. Others are open to anything. Perhaps you'll find one that suits your needs. If you're already in a writing group that is open to new members and you don't see it listed on my website, please let me know and I'll include it. Similarly, if you start a group and you'd like to attract members, I'll be glad to post that as well. You'll find this list of groups under the Newsletter tab and then by clicking the link on the right.

Also under the Newsletter tab you'll find the current essay, the current list of writing events, a list of promotions for individuals and organizations with which I am familiar (these are endorsements, not advertisements), a page of "fine print" which lists specifics about the newsletter such as deadlines and subscription information, a link for signing up for the newsletter, and submission information. There is also a link to an archive of past newsletter articles.

In the shameless self-promotion category (in separate tabs along the top) you'll find a list of my classes, quotes from people who recommend me (aka kudos), and my biography.

Under the tab "Websites," I've listed many different links to my favorite stuff including writing courses, meditation, coffeehouses, and other things I just want you to know.

Finally, yes, Write Now Newsletter and Bum Glue do accept donations. If you find either the newsletter or blog helpful, this is a great way to show it. In addition to our time, we have internet, web design, and mass email fees every month. Under the Newsletter tab, at the bottom of each page, is a link which allows people to donate.

Is there something else you would like to see on my website? I'd love to hear your suggestions.