Karen Brichoux

Current and Upcoming Books

Available Now
"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
Previously Released
"An exceptional novel." --Melissa Senate, author of The Solomon Sisters Wise Up
"A coup. Warm, smart, and original." --Kirkus Reviews



April 5, 2005

March/April 2005 Newsletter from the desk of Karen Brichoux


*Article: ďRe-WritingĒ
*What Iím Reading


*First, an apology for not getting off a newsletter last month. I was as sick as the proverbial dog for over three weeks, which means Iíve been scrambling to try and get out of the all-this-work-should-have-been-done-yesterday hole ever since.

*Second, I am having a newsletter-subscriber-only contest. During April, May, and June, I will be giving away Advance Reading Copies of THE GIRL SHE LEFT BEHIND, one copy per month. As a newsletter subscriber, you donít have to do a thing. I will draw a name each month from my list of subscribers. Good luck!

*Third, at some point I will get around to doing a website update. It probably wonít be terribly intoxicating, but donít be surprised if some things look a little different.

Article: ďRe-WritingĒ

As a writer, Iíve heard every joke there is to hear about the pain and horror of rewriting. It can certainly be a dull and thankless task: ferreting out all the little yucky parts, the sections that no longer make sense and the conversations that should never have taken place. One of the ways Iíve found to make rewriting more fun is to actually re-write scenes or chapters Iím having trouble with.

First, I read the difficult section to get the ďbonesĒ in my head, then I simply write the scene again. The ďbonesĒ are the characters involved, the setting, and the purpose, but nothing else. By the time I am finished re-writing a scene, it barely resembles the original, except in the bones. I find this keeps the writing fresh through the tedium of the rewrite process and it removes the constraints of whatever words were originally on the page. It also allows my mind to play with new ideas and new directions for the scene, because Iím not busy trying to make something work with sentences I wrote weeks ago.

While you might think this kind of writing moves more slowly than polishing directly from the draft, it can actually be invigorating and end up pushing the rewrite along at a better clip--as long as you are one of those people who find polishing from the draft mind-numbing! Iíve been guilty of glancing at the first five chapters of a draft, then ignoring them completely and writing the entire five chapters over again, just because re-writing is easier than plodding through whatever is there and picking and choosing what is good and what should go. Generally, Iím not this extreme. Generally, I have the draft chapter and a blank chapter open at the same time and cut and paste the portions of the draft that I want to keep into the new version I am writing.

Okay, Iíll admit it. Itís a slow process. (But I still contend that it is more satisfying than trying to fix something that should probably be tossed.) How slow? It takes me about sixteen weeks to write a draft and about ten weeks to rewrite. Iím leaving off the three to six months I spend working on the idea for the book prior to writing the draft, and the month spent re-envisioning the draft after it is completed (I talked about that in Februaryís newsletter). Itís slow, but at least I donít have to pay any attention to the craft books where the so-called experts say, ďThe biggest writing mistake is trying to keep what you wrote on the draft,Ē in all caps. Now if I could only figure out a way to snap my fingers at all the other bad rewriting jokes and sage advice!

Happy Spring!

What Iím Reading:

THE CURSE OF CHALIION by Lois McMaster Bujold

THE SPIRIT RING also by Bujold

TREASONíS HARBOUR by Patrick OíBrian

SHIP OF FOOLS by Richard Paul Russo