Naked, Drunk, and Writing

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How’s that for a title? It’s not mine, it’s from a book I just picked up at the library. And it’s awesome (the book, that is). So awesome that I was only three pages in before I ordered a copy online. So awesome that the writing reminds me of some of my best blog posts.

Yes, it is that awesome.

The subtitle is “Shed Your Inhibitions and Craft a Compelling Memoir or Personal Essay”. But don’t worry, I’m not planning on shedding anything; if you’ve survived reading about my underwear, I won’t inflict myself on you without it.

Here is a sample, where Adair Lara tells us about her first job in publishing, as a copy editor:

I sweated over the captions that came my way as if they were War And Peace, and wrote headlines such as “Swell Wines at Swill Prices” (which they rejected, the cowards). I called up writers to say things like, “Listen to this paragraph and see if you can live without the last two sentences.” I told myself it was terrific to be an editor, enjoying all those lunches out and wearing all those black outfits.

Heady stuff. And that’s just the introduction. Lara goes on to use engaging prose to teach how to write engagingly: “show and tell”, and an enjoyable read into the bargain.

I’m going to read this book, and wonder if anyone is interested in reading along with me. A little ad-hoc book club (we can work out the logistics – blog posts, email, Facebook, whatever – once we know who is interested).

Naked, Drunk, and Writing is available from Amazon and Chapters in both paperback and e-book format. There will also be another copy at the Ottawa Public Library just as soon as my Amazon order arrives.

So? Anyone? No pressure. And if you have any
other book recommendations, I’d love to hear them.
(Bonus points for titles with nudity and/or alcohol.)

Do you hear what I hear?

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If you do any writing, you’ve probably heard this before, but this is the first time I’ve tried it: I got DH to read aloud a piece I’m submitting to the Canada Writes Edible Non-Fiction Challenge, and found at least four things that I wanted to change in a 300-word manuscript that I thought was (finally) finished.

It was an entirely useful exercise, completely different even from reading it aloud myself. I’d get him to do it again, but given that he also got to sit through the thesaurus rampage that changed “lots of tasty stuff” into “oodles of edible fare” (but only after we’d been through “oodles of entirely edible fare”, “oodles of edible delights”, “an abundance of entirely edible delights”, and “a wealth of savoury delights”), I’m thinking that a second reading tonight might be grounds for divorce. I’m pretty sure that that contract they made me sign at the church had a “cruel and unusual” clause.

Hm. Maybe I should check that. The deadline is noon tomorrow.

Do you read your work aloud? Does it help?
Do you ever coerce ask someone else to read it for you?