Saturday, June 12, 2010

Janet Burroway

I recently attended a writer's conference in Madison, Wisconsin where I was lucky enough to hear Janet Burroway speak. I'd never heard of her before, but loved the way she talked about writing and the struggle to actually sit down and start writing. She gave all of us permission to write to our lowest standard, which is better than writing nothing at all.

Of course I bought two of her books on break. Of course I had her sign them. And she doesn't merely scrawl her name across the page or write a stock phrase wishing the reader well. She opens the book to a random page, selects a phrase wherever her finger lands, and inscribes that particular phrase to the reader. She said it's like a horoscope. Nifty!  One nice thing about this method, besides giving the purchaser a personalized inscription, is the time it takes. It's nice to spend three or four minutes chatting with the author rather than being rushed off, pushed aside for the next reader in line.

So far I've read one,  Bridge of Sand, and loved it. It's going around Bookworms Anonymous right now, and I'm confident everyone will enjoy it. Ms. Burroway is most well known for her text book, Writing Fiction, which is the preeminent text used in Universities across the United States, but this latest novel is a well-crafted story. As a reader I enjoyed it, as a writer I learned a thing or two.

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