Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Flipping a Floppy

Thought for the day:  A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit.  [Richard Back]

[morguefile]
Praise be, I have returned safely from battle.

Okay, so it wasn't actually a battle; it was more of a book club meeting, featuring yours truly as the main course.

The bottom line is, I got through last Thursday's meeting unscathed, and didn't even have to draw my sword once to defend myself from hurtful criticisms hurled by disappointed readers. Matter of fact, it was awesome. I only hope the other folks who were there enjoyed our discussions half as much as I did.

As soon as I arrived, I surreptitiously searched the premises and didn't find any buckets of rotten tomatoes hidden anywhere, so that was a reassuring sign. Then when everyone got there, I asked if any other writers had ever attended any of their meetings. When they said I was the first, I knew I had it made, because even if I did a lousy job, I would be the BEST writer who'd ever visited them. Woo HOO! So I relaxed, and just had fun. I think they did, too, because I was told the meeting usually lasts for about an hour, and we were there for two and a half. It was such a terrific group of ladies, (and obviously very bright, too, because they all liked my book. HA) I wish they held their meetings a little closer to where I live, so I could join them as a member. It was a terrific experience. The only downside? Even though the gals all said they'd post a review, none of them did. Oh well. C'est la vie.


Yep, it's that time of the month again. Time for insecure writers (i.e. ALL writers) to share the ups and downs encountered along our bumpy writing paths. Once again, thanks go to ninja writer Alex Cavanaugh for coming up with the idea of forming this group and for making it such a successful reality. If you're interested in joining, please do! You can go right here to sign up, and you'll also find a list of the other participants there, so you can check out their posts, too.

Okay, I've already told you what a positive experience the book club meeting was, so let's move on to the question of the month: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?
.
Yes.

Oh... you want details?

[morguefile]
Nowadays, in spite of society's proclivity for quick fixes, disposable everything, and instant gratification, there's also been a huge resurgence of people who are dedicated to diligently refurbishing and re-purposing, whether it be a falling-down house in dire need of TLC, or some treasure pulled from a dumpster or purchased inexpensively from a flea market, so why shouldn't  we writers do the same with our old manuscripts? (Assuming they're something you flip over, and not a dismal flop. If it sits long enough, you can tell...)

Mine sat plenty long enough.

This particular manuscript sat abandoned in the back of my closet gathering dust for years. Although it wasn't painstakingly written on a scroll with a quill, or etched in stone, it was darned near that bad, because it was saved on... (gasp!) floppy discs.

Yep, I typed the first draft of Hot Flashes and Cold Lemonade on an Apple II E computer. Luckily, in addition to storing the manuscript on floppy discs, I also had the foresight to print it out in... (gasp!) dot matrix.

Fast forward about twenty years, and I decided to read the manuscript again. (Talk about letting a story sit a while, eh?)

I decided it was worth rescuing, but in order to work on it again, I had to scan the manuscript, one page at a time, and save it in a file on my new no-more-floppies computer. Not terribly difficult, but a time-consuming pain in the patootie.

Countless rewrites and many changes later, the manuscript finally became a book. It hasn't made me a bunch of money, but that was never my goal, so yeah, I'd say it worked out. If you have a poor little orphan manuscript languishing in the back of your closet, why not pull it out and give it another look-see? It just might be something worth saving, and my guess is... it isn't saved on floppy discs.

         WAIT! STOP THE PRESSES!!! 

(Haven't you always wanted to say that...) Okay, so technically, there aren't any presses to stop, but I did want to take a quick sec to sneak in an announcement before putting this post to bed. It's about a book. (Surprise!)

For quite some time, fellow blogger and author Karen Walker had a dream about putting together a book in which a group of writers offers candid reflections about the blessings and curses of aging. I'm pleased to say her dream is about to become reality, and Still Me... After All These Years is scheduled to be released in early April.

But you can pre-order an e-version NOW. In U.S., you can order here

In this upcoming anthology, two dozen writers from ages sixty to ninety... including yours truly... tell it like it is about keeping dreams alive, putting rusty sex drives in gear, and dealing with the ups and downs of retirement and the loss of independence. Touted on the back cover as being poignant, humorous, and brutally honest, this book promises to be a collection that will hold appeal for all ages.

All proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to Alzheimer's research.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other.














74 comments:

  1. Two and a half hours tells me that they really liked you and your book. Don't give up on them yet, I'll bet you will get some reviews from them soon.

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    1. I hope that's what those two and a half hours means. It might just mean we enjoyed each other's company, which in itself, is okay, too. We had some great discussions, and it was fun.

      I'm not counting on the reviews, so if any show up, I'll be happily surprised. :)

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  2. Echoing the previous comment. And hooray for yet another work you have contributed to. This reader is so very grateful to writers. Insecure or not.

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  3. Glad the book club meeting went so well! How exciting about the anthology, too. Congrats!

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  4. *snap* Less than a minute ago I scheduled my Words for Wednesday story which has writers and wannabe writers at a meeting! Then I came here and you have a similar theme. My story will be on my blog on Friday.
    I'm really glad for you the book club meeting went so well.

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    1. You know what they say. Great minds really DO think alike. :)

      Thanks. Me, too. It was a lot of fun.

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  5. I have all my Friday stories printed out and stored in folders according to length. Each week if the new words suggest, I'll take some out and see if another chapter can be added. Mostly not. I don't put much effort into them, so I'll be very surprised if one day I find I have a potential book on my hands.

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    1. Good for you. I wish I were that organized.

      Hey, ya never know. Maybe the reason you don't have to put much effort into your stories is because writing comes to you as naturally as breathing. (Lately, it feels anything but natural to me...)

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  6. And now every writer who speaks at that book club will have to live up to your appearance! :)

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  7. So cool! A book club meeting. Wonder what one of those would do to me. Not sure I want to find out. Last Friday I sold MM&L to a teacher at the hairdressers, cringing that every mistake she finds in it will make the review. I've got to get over that and just sell the damn things. LOL :)

    Congratulations! How could they not love you book! Soooo Good! Still smile when I recall my read through! Uh, I did post that review, didn't I????

    I know I did, just kidding.

    Congrats on the anthology too, I'll be looking for that in April, got to know how 'you' old folks did it. So I can follow in your footsteps. :)

    Happy IWSG day!

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    1. I think a book club would totally love you! If they invite you, that's already a pretty good indication that at least some of them like your book, and if you relax and be yourself, how could they possibly help but like you, too? You'd rock it. No doubt.

      HA! Yeah, I'm looking forward to reading what the "other" old farts have to say, too. :)

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  8. Reviews sure can be like pulling teeth, they come when they come. Sounds like a great time was had indeed. Even 20 years later one can get it done. I'd like to find some of that rubbish.

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    1. Yeah, that's what I keep telling myself about reviews... :)

      You know what they say... one man's junk is another man's jewels.

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  9. Love hearing about the book club and I too have turned my old stories to gold (or at least I think so). Some I toss or ignore but some keep tugging at my heart until I pay attention.
    And great good congratulations on getting a story into Karen's anthology. How good is that!

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    1. I think your idea of pursuing the stories that tug at your heart is a good one. If it touches you, it will touch others, too.

      Thanks! It's VERY good to be in Karen's anthology. :) (Even if it DOES mean I'm old... HA)

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  10. Hi Susan - the book club meeting obviously went rattling along - so glad for you. Then your 20 years of hot flashes and lemonade - about time it came out of the drawer - and when it did it was successful ... Then Karen's anthology ... it's great she pulled it all together ... congratulations to you both - Hilary

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    1. Hi-ya, Hilary. Thanks. The book club went even better than I expected.

      You're right. Twenty years is a tad too long. Hopefully, it won't take me that long to get my current works in order. :)

      Cheers!

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  11. Can’t say I’m surprised by your book group success. Well done! Give the members a little more time. I bet you’ll see some reviews.

    I strongly believe in letting a story marinate, but twenty years, Susan? No wonder Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade is such a rich and enjoyable read.

    Congrats on the forthcoming anthology!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I thought the meeting would go okay, but it was much better than I ever imagined it would be. Then again, I would've enjoyed being with that terrific group of gals, no matter what we'd been discussing.

      Thanks! Hmmm, this is the second anthology for me, and BOTH of them are about being OLD. I think the Universe is trying to tell me something...

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  12. Sounds like the book club meeting was a great success. Congratulations.

    And I'm delighted to be sharing the pages of Still Me with you.

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    1. It was! Thanks.

      As am I delighted to be sharing the pages with YOU.

      Delete
  13. I had no idea you'd trunked HFACL for twenty years! Wow, it must be so gratifying to see it through and to now have a book club experience to write about it. I loved reading this.

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    1. Twenty years WAS a bit long, eh? Life just kinda got in the way, I guess.

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  14. Yes! Now that's the type of experience we all hope to have, eh? I'm actually terrified to ever sit through something like that because I know my writing isn't perfect, and I would totally freeze up, over-analyzing everyone's words for duplicity.

    I think the anthology sounds amazing. And you should TOTALLY send the leader of the book group a very kind reminder to announce at the next club that they really should post a review of your book. ASAP. ;)

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    1. Nobody's writing is perfect, but your stories sure are. You'd do great at a book club, I'm sure. (Just leave the over-analysis at home, okay? If they say they LIKE it, believe them!)

      Good idea about sending the leader a note about the reviews. Thanks, kiddo!

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  15. Hi Susan, I'm giving my new identity a test with commenting on your blog. I do appreciate you letting me know last month that my blog title wasn't updated. It's taken me awhile to figure out all of this marketing stuff between, facebook, blogger, wordpress, tumblr, instagram...geesh...the list of what to do and to which platform is slowly making progress. I love your energy about working with the book club. I am sad none of them posted a review for you, but that's a huge compliment with time! Anyway, I am also right there with you on the apple II e...you made me laugh. I have 100 pages of my first manuscript in a three ring binder on that same sort of lovely dot matrix paper. I need to do something with it before the ink fades. Thank you, Erika

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    1. Hi-ya, Erika. I just tried out your new identity, and I've got good news/ bad news. It does take me somewhere, but it's a dead end. It links to your google+ page, which has limited access. So to comment, I'll simply have to get to your blog via your link on the IWSG page, which works fine and dandy.

      HA! A fellow Apple IIE lover! That thing was so user friendly, I hated to let it go. The only reason I willingly let it go was because someone stole the same kind of computer from the special needs class in a local school. I figured they needed it more than I did.

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  16. I'm convinced that in the writing world "I'll totally give you a review!" is the equivalent of "Yep, I'll totally call you!" It never happens. It just... never... happens.

    Cheers to the success, though! And I'm really envious of anyone who can dig up something old and turn it into gold. My old manuscripts are being feasted on by maggots somewhere in a closet (maggots having been attracted to the terrible writing).

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    1. I'm afraid you may be right about what the real meaning of "I'll write a review" may be. There's only been a handful of times I didn't follow through on writing a review when I said I would, but in those instances, the authors chose that course of non-action for me. I refuse to write a stellar review for a book with which I have issues, so I warn the writers before writing a bad review, and ya know? Most want me to keep my 2-star opinions to myself. :)

      If your old manuscripts are that "bad," you've come a long way, baby!

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  17. Sounds like a great anthology. I'm not too surprised about the reviews. I've got a bunch that need to be written for books I've read. You never know. They may show up later.

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    1. Yeah, I know. I should have learned by now that not everyone writes a review when they say they will, and even if they DO, they aren't in any particular hurry to do it.

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  18. We have a similar story. Mine was hand written in a notebook rather than a disk though. (I wrote it even before disks. You know, back during the time of dinosaurs.)
    Like your attitude about the book club. They saw the best author ever!
    Excited for Karen and her anthology.

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    1. Oh, I still have all of the old notebooks, too. I've always written in longhand before typing. A blank sheet of paper is much less intimidating than a pulsing cursor on a blank computer screen.

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  19. excellent tale of perseverance paying off. And you are damn freakin' funny. Glad the book club was a success and no, folks don't do what they say they will. Good intentions these days, but no execution. Nonetheless, congrats on being in the anthology. Sounds like a big winner and a fun read.

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    1. Gee, thanks! Maybe I should give up on writing and become an old lady stand-up comedienne. The world should be ready for another Moms Mabley, dontcha think? (Remember her?)

      Thanks. I haven't read the other essays, but I'm looking forward to it. (Hopefully, I'm not the only one who made like Moms Mabely...)

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  20. Hah! Boxes of floppies and dot matrix runneth over in my closet. So far, it's far less time consuming in most cases just to write a new book than to work off old scan. That said, I AM repubbing a series of western romances from the early '90s . . . off scans. I think self-flagellation would be more rewarding but time will tell.

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    1. HA! I feel your pain. (Honest. The fact that I'm giggling means NOTHING!)

      Good luck! I hope all of that scanning and re-pubbing pays off for you.

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  21. I was told that it is always good to protect your floppies.

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  22. Yeay on the successful book club meeting!

    I read that Quentin Tarantino writes his screenplays by hand. And Danielle Steel uses a manual typewriter. You are/were way ahead of them!

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    1. Thanks! The meeting was a ton of fun.

      I'm not sure if I was "ahead" of them or not... they may have beat me to the pen and notebook...

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  23. That book sounds perfect for me, I think it is so true... even with age, I am still me. I remember when I was a teenager wondering what it would be like when I was older... it's much the same only I don't care what other people think about me, lol... Congratulations on your book club, that's such a nice thing to do... Have a great week Susan xox

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    1. I think that's true of everyone. The world sees our exterior and think THAT'S who we are, but on the inside, there's still a hot young chick screaming to be let out. :)

      You have a great week, too.

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  24. Sounds like you had yourself a rip roaring success of a meeting.

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    1. I don't know about the rip-roaring part, but we had fun!

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  25. I;m so glad you didn't give up on it. Lemonade is a great book, with so many treasures, it's the keeper kind that should be visited again and again.

    Congrats on your book club meeting. I wish I could have been there!

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    1. Thanks! Coming from you, that means a lot. :)

      I wish you could've been there, too. It'd be super cool to meet you in person. I think you might be my long lost baby sister that my parents never told me about...

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  26. I actually do have writing stuff saved on floppy discs. I have no idea what's on there, but I can't bring myself to throw them away.And congrats on your book meeting. That's awesome!

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    1. I reckon saving them makes sense if you still have a machine that can read them. (You DO... right? :) )

      Thanks. It was totally awesome. I'm still smiling about it.

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  27. Glad to hear the book club meeting went well. I hope some of the members will still come through for you and write reviews. I don't have any old stories on floppy discs, but I do have several typed up on paper that aren't on the computer. Congratulations on your part in the new book!

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    1. Thanks. Nothing yet, but like Crystal suggested, I may send the club leader a note and gently mention the reviews. Just once reminder. Then I'll let it go.

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  28. I think I would like to join a book club...the have one here in the little town I live in!

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    1. If there's a book club near you, by all means join it! They'd be happy to have you.

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  29. Congrats on the book club meeting! That takes courage!

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    1. Thanks! Nope, no courage at all. I'm a natural yakker.

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  30. You had me at Alzheimer's! (Research, that is.) Sis-in-law has a 'milestone' birthday in a few weeks and I'll bet she - a voracious reader - would like this.

    So glad your book club meeting was a success; wish I was there!

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    1. I hope LOTS of people like it! :)

      Thanks. I wish you could have been there, too.

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  31. You're too good a writer to be pelted with tomatoes. :-)

    Greetings from London.

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    1. HA. Thanks, but ya never know. Taste is subjective. :)

      Greetings back atcha.

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  32. Floppy disks? I remember them LOL. Good for you, going back to the book after a long time. Better late than never.

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  33. Good luck. Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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  34. Hi, friend Sue ...ma soul is just floating back from ma Bali experience into ma snow country ... it was like livin in paradise alright, but me also saw trouble in paradise ... like drugs and prostitution and things ... anyway, loving to read about U and Ur writing adventures ... smiles ... glad that U r writing so me can be reading Ur writings ... smiles ... Love, cat.

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    1. ... and thanx 4 stopping by ma blogs, friend Sue ... http://catsruledogsdroole.blogspot.com/ and http://ckpeacemaker.wordpress.com/ Love, cat.

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    2. Welcome back, dear cat. I hope the memories of your visit to paradise live in your heart for a long time... and keep you warm even when it's snowing.

      Thanx 4 having such interesting blogs for me 2 visit!

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  35. Hi Susan, Congratulations on being part of Still Me After All These Years! I'm sure your story will make me laugh and cry like Hot Flashes & Cold Lemonade. I knew that you'd be the star of the book club. I'm sorry that they haven't come through with reviews yet. Love your new header and your alter ego underneath it!

    Julie

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    1. Hi-ya, Julie. Thanks for the congrats. I'm looking forward to reading all of the other essays in the book. Mine might make you laugh a little. :)

      I miss you, kiddo. Take care.

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  36. You were able to access material that was stored in a floppy? Good grief! I'm very impressed. Wow. Anyhoo, congratulations on reworking the story and getting in published.

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    1. I'd be pretty danged impressed with myself if I'd been able to retrieve the info from those old floppies, too! But alas, no, nothing that impressive. The manuscript was also printed out, so I scanned it into my new computer. :)

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