My First Professional Consultations — Please Vote!

As some of you are aware, I’ve embarked on a writing venture.  This is my first such venture and I’m realizing that education or training in this area would be beneficial.

What is My Training? 

None:  I don’t have a degree or certification in Creative Writing, English, Journalism or similar.  I haven’t attended any workshops.  I’ve never worked with an editor.

How-To Books:  There are lots of helpful “how to write” books.  My favorite is Stephen King’s On Writing.  He was one of my first favorite authors and that might be why I like his book best.  He’d probably say my current 10,090 words is not a fast enough pace.

Professional Help 

I’ve sought professional help!  I have two upcoming sessions — separate and distinct:  a writing consult and an editing consult.

Writing Consult:  A post-secondary institution asks for seven pages of my writing.  It can be poetry, prose, whatever I’ve written.

My response:  Excellent.  I could submit that now.

Editing Consult:  An editors’ association (I didn’t know there was such a thing) requests:

  1. A one-page summary of what my writing project is about, and
  2. The first chapter of my writing project.

My response:  A one-page summary is straightforward — let me put that together.  I’ve pretty much already got the first chapter.

When I start putting it together I remember that a summary requires knowledge of not only the beginning, but also the middle and end.  Uh-oh.

The first chapter…well, I’m writing in scenes.  Scenes are not chapters.  (Am I in fact writing a screenplay?)  I could mash up a few scenes to make a chapter but such an exercise would not be in keeping with the feel of the story.  (I can see how I may very well be an editor’s dream.)

Oh, and this material must be submitted one full week prior to each scheduled consultation.  Uh-oh.

My Plan

Writing Consult:

  1. I went through some of my short stories, flash fiction and poetry, intending to submit a mix.  Which ones to submit?  Seven pages suddenly seems terribly short.
  2. Then, I realized I could submit the same material I’m going to submit to the Editing Consult.  I see value in the opportunity to have both writing and editing critique at an early stage.  But, is there such a thing as too much feedback from too many different angles at once?

Editing Consult:

  1. I’m going to create a summary, even though the story is coming to me as I write.  And I’m only about 13% done.
  2. I’m going to write the first chapter, even though the story is coming to me in scenes and I don’t know what’s in the first chapter.

Help!  What Should I Do?

Should I submit the same or different material to the writing and editing consults?

Polls are open for one week!  I’ll need all the time I can get to prepare, either way.

Please also leave your comments, below, anytime.

Thank you! 🙂


31 thoughts on “My First Professional Consultations — Please Vote!

  1. I also really liked Stephen King’s On Writing!
    I’m not sure what to advise as to what to submit, but I know I work better with a deadline, when there’s a sense of urgency, so having to submit materials a week in advance may be a blessing in disguise?
    And that you’re looking to improve through training is probably a great sign – so no matter what you end up doing/submitting, you’re hearing different ideas, getting feedback, and that’s likely a worthwhile process to go through!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Isn’t his On Writing excellent? I’m so glad he wrote it.
      You’re right about a deadline. I’ve already brought some elements into focus which is a good thing.
      Some wonderful writers I’ve come across have varying backgrounds but I think training and feedback must be worthwhile. Different ideas are great and I agree that it will likely be a worthwhile process.
      Thanks, Geoff. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. J.

    I think submitting the same material would be the best idea. As well as receiving two specific opinions on what you have written, you’re not spreading yourself across different pieces of work. Dare say it allows you to focus on what you’re currently working on? Perhaps?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes a lot of sense, J! It hadn’t really occurred to me that spreading myself across different pieces of work might not be a good thing; I’m used to multi-tasking. Focusing on one piece of work would most likely improve its quality, wouldn’t it?
      I was thinking that some other items I’d written previously would be better somehow, maybe more developed and polished. But there are probably common elements across all my writing and areas for improvement across the board.
      Thank you, J. 🙂


  3. Like the previous commenters (all wonderful people, I might add), I think your best option is to submit the same material for both consults…for reasons previously stated.

    Do I understand correctly that you don’t have a middle and an end for your writing venture? That seems like a unique approach but I’ve never been an avid reader so perhaps a lot of writers take that approach. I don’t consider myself a writer but a couple of years ago I had an idea for a movie script (it’s a sci-fi horror story, simply because my boss had just written, produced & directed a horror movie and there might have been an opportunity for me to do something similar had it been successful…it was not). I never got to the point of writing the script but I put together an outline of the story that just needed to be filled in with lots of detail. I had what I considered a great ending (with options for a sequel, of course) so I could tie the story together to fit that conclusion. I was the same way with cassette compilations, always knowing how I wanted each side to start & finish. Filling in the blanks later was a lot easier for me that way.

    Okay, I got off topic. I hope some of what I wrote is helpful in some way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are wonderful people! I include you in that group, of course. I’m a very fortunate blogger. 🙂

      Yes, that’s correct — I don’t have a structured middle and end to my writing venture. I don’t have an outline. I have ideas and storylines are evolving, and I have the conclusion for one character’s story.
      From what I know of prominent professional writers, there are a variety of approaches. Some work with detailed outlines and clear structure. Others write more in free-form or free-flow; they just sit and write until the story is done. I haven’t investigated too many authors’ techniques so couldn’t comment on the ratio or proportions that take each approach.
      Do you still have your sci-fi horror story outline? Since you were interested enough to create one in the first place, I’d recommend writing a draft. Especially since you have a great ending! I know you already have a lot going on, but I think you have something interesting.
      That’s an intriguing comparison to compilations. I can see how knowing how you wanted each side to start and finish would be very helpful. I probably haven’t done near as many as you, but I’ve usually embarked on them with a theme in mind, then selected the songs and worked out a sequence that feels best.

      You didn’t get off topic and your insights are very helpful. Thank you, Rich. 🙂


      1. I’m not surprised that there are many approaches to writing. It’s hard for me to imagine going into a story without knowing the eventual ending, but as a drummer who’s played with several jam bands I could see the appeal of that approach.

        Not sure when I’ll have the time to write a draft of my screenplay. I think I would need to know that there’s a good chance it could come to fruition. Maybe not the best reason for writing, but I’ve got my blog to keep me occupied, and I also have an idea for a podcast I’d like to tackle in the not-too-distant future.

        I hope you have a lovely weekend, Danica.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. If I could choose, I’d probably prefer to go into a story knowing the eventual ending. It wouldn’t hurt to try planning it that way.
          A screenplay would take some time. I wonder whether it’s possible to know whether it would come to fruition? Especially for a first effort.
          A podcast is a great idea! I’ve been thinking of the same thing, although in my case it will probably have to wait a little while.
          Thanks, Rich! I hope you also have a wonderful weekend. 🙂


  4. I agree: Stephen King’s On Writing is a great guide!
    It’s th quality not th quantity that matters so don’t worry if u’ think u’re not producing enough.
    No worries: u’ve definitely got th Write Stuff, Danica! (Just shows that all those qualifications/workshops don’t matter!)
    Just finished my latest instalment, and am proud – at last! – to forward it to u:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Brad! It’s true that it’s quality that matters so I’ll try not to obsess about word counts. 🙂
      I appreciate your kind words about the write stuff — thanks again!
      Congratulations on finishing your latest installment! That’s awesome!
      I’m on my way over now….

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Banging out Chapter One – Living a Beautiful Life

  6. I go for submitting the same material. Regardless of what you write what counts is your voice. A Stephen King novel is always a Steven King novel whether it’s the mish-mash of Pet Cemetery or the decadent evil of The Shining. The difference between the two is in how King uses his voice.

    Both novels are good but only one of them is great.

    Liked by 1 person

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