Karen Brichoux

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"Draws the reader into the story and never lets go." --RT Bookclub
"Brichoux reminds the reader how powerfully the landscape of 'home' can define a person." -- High Country News
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"An exceptional novel." --Melissa Senate, author of The Solomon Sisters Wise Up
"A coup. Warm, smart, and original." --Kirkus Reviews



February 9, 2005

February 2005 Newsletter from the desk of Karen Brichoux


*Article: “Re-Vision”
*What I’m Reading


*We’ve just had a beautiful four inches of snow. While the cats shake their feet in disgust, the humans and their canine companion have been out frolicking as much as work will allow.

Article: “Re-Vision”

Writers of all types hear about revision and rewriting continually. Words like “first draft,” “polish,” “clean up,” and “make it clearer” are all part of a freshman English course on writing. What’s missing from these elementary equations is that not every writer tackles a revision in the same way. Nor should they.

One of the basic things a new author learns is that every author is different and every author’s writing experience is, therefore, different. For years, I attempted to force my writing style into the mold of a “proper writing style” as laid out for me in the textbooks. This tended to make me unhappy and rob me of the joy of a creative process which is uniquely my own. Or not so uniquely my own. Once an author begins to talk--often in a whisper and with eyes darting from side-to-side to see who might be listening--about how he or she commits a mortal sin by breaking a cardinal writing rule, the brave author often is surprised to see how many others agree and have their own special tricks to keep their work fresh and exciting over multiple books.

Which brings me to my current writing phase. The revision process. I finished the draft of a book I hope will be the fourth book I publish on Christmas Eve. Just in time to enjoy the holidays. After the holidays, I gave myself the luxury of time. Time to think. Time for re-vision. I used to believe I should dive right in and start rewriting immediately. Now I know that I need about a month to spend playing with ideas and themes in my journal. My rough drafts truly are ROUGH. Not in the sense that they have miserable grammar (although mistakes abound), but in the sense that I, the author, simply don’t know the characters as people until the end of the book. I may be forcing a particular theme onto my characters that they are frustrated by and which doesn’t get at the heart of their situations. So having a month to do nothing but journal and think about the characters, the themes, the focus, and the ideas the characters want to express is crucial to a revision of the draft. It is a re-vision in the truest sense of the word. I am creating a new vision of the book and for the book.

After a month of envisioning the changes I want to make and the changes that fit with the characters as they have come to be, I begin the rewriting process. I’ll go into that process more next month. Right now, the snow is beckoning!

Happy writing and reading!

What I’m Reading:

THE SURGEON’S MATE by Patrick O’Brian