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

Grit by Janine Donoho

Where the world drops away.

Where the world drops away.

Grit—those pebbles that irritate tender folds of skin during extreme hikes. Wildly enough, grit’s also the resolve to persevere through setbacks. In other words, LIFE, or as I call it, “Putting on the big girl panties.”

Walking buddiesI’ve a confession to make. After a spin cycle of agitated road trips, firefly visits with friends, and the blue funk that rolls in after launching Intrepid Guy on another cross-global deployment, I’m less than excited about spelunking into my writing today. There’s the primal thrill over my coming launch of Soundings, Water Elemental, but I’m still a bit—well—flat.

Sparkling wine days are over for the time being. Ceaseless snow amasses across the highlands. Intrepid Guy sits in a lovely pink hotel room in Penticton until the airport connecting him to Vancouver, British Columbia, clears for flights, and I need to shovel the entryways and figure out why our faithful soapstone stove refuses to burn—yes, low oxygen, but why? Later, after I do my daily work…Writers make the best friends

In that vein, I brew coffee, a gift from a best friend and writer, before facing the blank screen. Pavlovian conditioning comes through and words begin to flow. Yes, I’m that writing hound. For what is this chosen pursuit other than goals set and pursued? Relentlessly.

Today’s mantra? Be brave. Gain stamina and persistence through practice. Show grit. It’s the real deal.Grit

Soundings, Water Elemental

LaunchFebruary 27, 2015
The big day is here.

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