It’s been five days since our panel at the Kentucky Women Writer’s Conference; we’ve received heartening feedback from those who participated and are grateful to all who sent us notes and comments.
For those who couldn’t make it, a brief recap: we planned the panel intent on being succinct, and so briefly told three stories—how KaBooM began; how the anthology took shape as our collective project; and how the physical book became a tangible art object. We offered specific suggestions on the inner workings of writing groups, such as holding members accountable to writing goals set weekly. And we demonstrated a critique method that both honored the writing process while demanding the rigor of a continually developing craft.
What we did not emphasize was the world’s deep need for the work contained between two hand-crafted covers. A friend who’d not been at the conference asked me, the day after, to read a few pages of When the Bough Breaks. After a few lines from several pieces, she looked at me with wide eyes and said: “This is a good book!” I thought “Well, of course it is!”
Jan introduces our panel at the Ky. Women Writers Conference
We’ll be at the Constitution Square Arts Fest in Danville, Kentucky on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, September 18 – 20. Stop by and say hello!
On Saturday, September 12, Kaboom gave a presentation at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. We held a meeting as if the audience was not there. As usual, we began with goal-setting. As usual, Leatha arrived late, and as usual, we kept on going. Each of us stated a writing goal for this week. Goal-setting makes us accountable to the group.
We moved on to a live critique of four pages from “Blue Hen,” a chapter in my novel-in-progress. The first round robin elicited such praise that I felt almost embarrassed, as if my fellow writers were exaggerating the good points for the audience. But because they explained how the piece worked and pointed out particular passages of support, I felt encouraged and pleased that my intent had been realized. Then, of course, came the harder parts, the places where rhythm contradicted sense, where details were left out, where (strange) questions were raised. (This is often my favorite part of hearing criticism because it makes me go back to the words and discover what other meanings lay hidden as I wrote but rose up bright and blinding for a reader.) (Read more…)
Welcome to the launch of the KaBooM Writing Collective blog! This is the latest project of our writing group, and we hope it will offer a connection with other writers and writers groups. We’ll be sharing news about what we’re doing in our meetings, what we’re reading, what kind of projects we’re working on, and whatever else comes to mind. Our group has seven members, and you’ll be hearing from all of us.
For the past several weeks we’ve been focused on the publication of our anthology, When the Bough Breaks, which will be out on September 10. For this post I’ll share with you some of the steps in physically making the book, a process we’ve felt privileged to be part of.
We thought we were intimately acquainted with our book when we finished writing and revising it. We had pored over every line until the day it went to the printer. But with this publishing project designed as a hands-on venture, we were just starting a new chapter, so to speak. We were about to experience a whole new level of knowing a book.
Mary and Lynn collating pages
When the printed pages were delivered, our first task was to transform a roomful of boxes filled with paper into the recognizable innards of a book. There are many reasons to work with a writing group, and getting that job done was one of them. We collated the individual pages into six separate signatures, which are the small sections put together as if they comprised their own little book. They are later stacked and bound together to form the complete volume. That was a day spent with pages spread out on large tables, telling stories and trying not to lose count as we put boxes and boxes of paper in order. When the collating was complete, then the signatures assembled into books, we were ready to sew.