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Marlan Warren is a free-lance publicist who promotes entertainers and book authors (Roadmap Communications and Book Publicity by Marlan, respectively). She is also a film maker (Roadmap Productions), Reiki Master/Teacher (Light Hands Reiki Studio and Institute), Screenwriter, Novelist, PhotoJournalist, Tai Chi practitioner. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Writing Coach Elaine Ash Helps Writers Rewrite Until It's Right.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of hearing Los Angeles writing coach, Elaine Ash, speak on the topic of "Self- Editing for Authors" at the monthly Sisters in Crime meeting. If you've never been to a Sisters in Crime meeting, and you're an aspiring crime writer living in the vicinity of their meeting place, the South Pasadena Library, I urge you to attend their free meetings, which always feature a riveting speaker.

Elaine Ash is an engaging speaker who shows up with a well organized and entertaining presentation that included a handout with insightful tips guaranteed to get any writer's motor running. The headings included:

  • "Develop First - Everything Else Can Wait"
  • "Get The Most Out of Your Writers' Group"
  • "Too Many Characters"
  • "Deconstructing Successful Novels for Structure"
  • "The Feather Edit"
As a publicist and book reviewer, the "too many characters" totally resonated. For me, few things are more frustrating than settling down to read a newly published indie novel, only to find a few pages in that I need to write down the 10 characters who were introduced before I got to page 4 (and draw a map of the tangled backstory while I'm at it). As readers, we wish someone had tipped off the writer that confusion overload can lead to a reader closing the cover, never to open it again--unless it's for love or money.

I can honestly say that writers should never trust themselves with "The Buck Stops Here" self-editing approach. To be truly successful, most writers need a specialist who can tip them off when the story isn't working, and guide them back on track.

Ash combine her prodigious analytic gifts with solid knowledge of screenwriting fundamentals (Hollywood may not have invented story structure, but they sure as heck have refined it). She even supplied an actor to read bits of passages to drive home points. 

 And one more thing:

I love the term "feather edit"? Sounds so easy, it makes me want to do one right this very minute.

For more info, including Elaine Ash's author bio, etc., check out her blog at:
Elaine Ash Edit: Author & Book News