The Quality Writer by Janine Donoho

Lindt TrufflesAfter I penned Rise of the robot writers?, Intrepid Guy conveyed the Love Hound and me to a Posh Canadian Resort for my birthday: Lindt truffles, whirlpool workout space, and plush quiet. Visualize doggie treat bags on the door knob—twice. This was most likely due to the Hound, Goodwill Ambassador personified. We even enjoyed a celebratory dinner while a pup sitter, Ms. Doubtfire without the gender confusion, rubbed the Hound’s belly.

IG with a frozen soul patchShortly after this holiday, we stayed at Hyperbola 7 for a work related event. This stopover offered none of the opulence at a third of the rate. Please don’t take this as an indictment of our lodgings—they match our resources. Still the contrast made me wonder: what distinguishes a great novel from, well, schlock? As a keen reader, I know the differences fall beyond production costs.

Come with me while I revisit a once favored writers’ conference outside of Vancouver, British Columbia. One particular year ended my attachment to this particular gathering. As with many such offerings, the information and networking opportunities shrank disproportionate to my outlay.

That year I attended a seminar offered by a prolific writer who claimed he never, ever edited. Ever. His addendum seemed to be that writers who did were chumps, and he had the money to prove it—kaching, kaching. Since I’d never read any of his novels, I remedied that once I returned home.

My library system supplied a work for hire piece based on a television series. It quickly became obvious that he never edited. Ever. I suspect he’s one of the hirelings that a robot soon will supplant.Work for hire

Yet deny a wordsmith the chance to make a living? Not me. Plus I enjoy the works for hire of other writers. The difference? Could it be respect for process?

Many write well, even lyrically. They surprise me with reversals and apply craft to the finished product. Despite integrating segments into an ongoing storyline, grace and heart suffuse their works. I deduce that they even—gasp!—edit.

These principled writers take me elsewhere and deliver on story. Begging the question: what separates hack from storyteller? Perhaps more importantly, who among us will be replaced by robots? Let’s start a conversation.Stacked books

Where Sea Meets Land by Janine Donoho

In the process of writing, one crucial response to exhausting my creative source is to change things up a bit. This goes beyond conditioning body and mind into worthy tools. Instead it focuses on ways to rest the charley horse cramping my writer’s brain.

Going to my favorite hardware store can be fun. I like to visualize exotic applications for washers, pipes, flexible plumbing connections, faucet handles, copper tubing and flashing. Steampunk couture, anyone? Or maybe it’s the fabric store, where pet-able materials and unique frills relax the writing part of the brain…or a cook’s shop where gadgets rule. Then a more impactful  fix offers itself.

Today I’m relishing changes in latitude and attitude. Joy is having writerly friends who travel – and who share their pack with you. My role as gypsy pup- and house-sitter presents opportunity to steep myself in local island culture even as I consider my new Fire and Earth Elemental projects. Along the way I check in with my BookTrope team, who are sailing SOUNDINGS, Water Elemental toward publication this coming February.

Enjoy these pictorial highlights.

Where sea meets land

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27, 2015
The big day is here.

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