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Magic and Literary Festivals

Some people are upset when fall days are not crisp and cool, befitting the colors on the trees. But days like this, with the sun shining down as though it were spring filled with hope rather than an upcoming, cold and dark winter, fill me with such joy. You cannot beat the feel of the sun coming down and gracing your skin with its presence, as though a constant reminder that God loves you, nor the slightly cool breeze that occasionally floats by to give you just enough relief to let you enjoy the sun all that much more. I could sit outside for hours on a day like this.

I am sitting here on the balcony now, re-reading Pat of Silver Bush and reveling in the descriptions of scenery and joy that the little girl has in her house, her fields, and days, whether summer or winter. There is a magic in the words that L.M. Montgomery weaves – a magic that I desperately would love to capture in my own writing. I suppose experienced writers would tell me it takes experience, while savvy writers would tell me such things don’t sell anymore. But if it still thrills my soul at 30, surely there are still some girls out there looking for books that weave magic.

Days like this I can almost believe I can do it myself. Days like this remind me of flower fairies, wood elves, and God’s love surrounding every one of us.

I went to a literary festival yesterday with workshops to improve your writing and the one on revision had me actually hand a stranger the first five pages of my book and ask him to critique it. What a stretch that was! Far more stretching than I think I would have been brave enough for, had I known ahead of time. But it ended up good! He, being completely unbiased and not a huge fan of Jane Austen and L.M. Montgomery type books, was able to offer straightforward and much needed advice. I finally understand what the books mean when you say you need to trust your reader. He pointed out the areas where I felt like I had to describe in detail what was happening because I was afraid the reader wouldn’t understand it. More than that, he explained I also had to trust myself – trust that I was conveying the information I needed to without explaining it in three different ways. It seriously was the most helpful advice I think I’ve ever received – which is reasonable since I almost never show anyone my writing. I also critiqued the first pages of his book, which didn’t need a lot of changes – we have probably as opposite styles as you could possibly think of, but it was good, because I could see his short and to the point sentences, where mine ramble on.

It was my first time going to such a thing, and it was really inspiring – and I got to hear from other people who actually are writers or trying to be writers, who know the difficulties and don’t just vaguely say, “Oh, I want to write a book too!” There is something inspiring about knowing you are not the only one having struggles. Speaking of which, all I need to struggle with right now is whether to sit in the sun and read or keep editing my book. I think I might read and just soak in the success of one of my all-time favorite authors in hopes it will inspire me for the upcoming National Novel Writing Month.

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