Wednesday, January 4, 2012

What I learned from the Iowa Caucus (as a writer)

The Iowa Caucus was gripping, just like a football game the score kept changing. In the end, the winner declared victory with only 8 votes.

During the weeks before, both Santorum (Though I want to call him Santarini for some reason) and Bachmann (who I want to call the I-Girl), campaigned in a similar fashion.

"I am the only candidate to visit all 99 counties," she boasted, over and over, and over and over, and over, and over, and over and over again.... She wanted to get herself out there, and meet the people.

Santorum visited all the counties as well, shaking hands and kissing babies.

Both candidates did the exact same thing! One worked, and one didn't. Why?

Well, we could go into character flaws, but the cockiness of Bachmann, the refusal to check her facts, lack of organization, and the use of the word "I" had to have contributed to her quick and easy demise.

As writers, we can learn from her mistakes:

  • Cockiness: When we get cocky in our writing, and refuse to stand back and look at the full picture, we submit pretty bad manuscripts (that we think are great). It is important to take feedback, listen, and remove yourself from your writing to you can see what is wrong with your story.

  • Not checking facts: If you are writing non-fiction, this is ESSENTIAL. But even for us fiction writers, we can't go around rewriting history, saying that male bees go around collecting honey when it's actually the worker bees (female) who do all the work, or putting mis-information in our story. Facts need to line up. (I can't stand it when I'm watching a cartoon and they give a bug a characteristic they don't have.... grrrrrr.)

      Side note: Thank you to my critique group for keeping my manuscript in check! I have an animal character I sometimes have doing something that animal couldn't or wouldn't do. So if you use a character, study them! Great lesson learned for me. (And yes, I did make changes.)

  • Organization: When writing, it is important to be organized, both in your story and submitting. You can't jump all over, need to keep track of where you are submitting it, and should have some sort of system for keeping your writing together. This is one area I struggle with.

  • And the use of the word "I". OK, overuse of the word "I." This can be in a cover letter, or in a story. I am a great writer. I have years of experience. I went to college and majored in Journalism, so you know I've studied how to write. I have 2 kids, 2 cats, a dog, and a husband. When I am not writing, I love to read, and veg out on my computer. Currently I am addicted to Peggle. I am not doing as well with it as I would like, but I know that someday I will be a Peggle Champion. If you publish my book, I will make sure that I stop playing Peggle and go do a book signing.
And that's all I have got to say about that. :-)


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