Monday, December 6, 2010

Tina McElroy Ansa expresses gratitude & shares a little about her writing process

This is the fifth guest blog in my 2010 holiday series. It's from Tina McElroy Ansa, author of one of my favorite books of all time UGLY WAYS (a very quirky mother-daughter story), and the sequel TAKING AFTER MUDEAR. Leave Tina a comment and you'll be entered to win a signed copy of TAKING AFTER MUDEAR. And...she says she'll add "a little holiday gift from my garden, my heart and my hands."

What book-related/writing-related things I'm grateful for

Thanksgiving has come and gone. However, I try to remember to be thankful every day the Good Lord gives me.

In my writing life, I have one big thank you. And in my publishing life, I have another..

So, I am thankful this year that I discovered how easy it was to install the Voice Recognition program on my computer.

I followed the instructions, I had a mic and I had a story, so I was ready to go.

I not only am able to get ideas -- that come in the middle of whatever -- down on the computer for use later. I’m also able to dictate the notes, quotes, descriptions, conversations, edits, etc. that are so easily lost to us writers because we say, “Oh, that’s so wonderful, I’ll surely remember that!”…Never happens.

I also find that if I dictate first drafts, I can:

1. Hear how the prose and dialogue sound in the air as well as on the page. Writing, especially dialogue, that is not just right lands like a horse shoe in the middle of a funeral when spoken. The same is true for descriptions, even beautifully written descriptions that go on too long for the context. (I know that’s one of my challenges.)

2. When reading it on the screen again for typos and such, I have another chance to edit each word and the work as a whole. A real opportunity I gratefully take.

In my role as publisher at DownSouth Press, I am thankful for Carolina Knight, who has entrusted me with her first novel THE BOOK OF EPHESUS, which we will publish in 2011.


Anonymous said...

Tina, I installed voice recognition software on my dad's computer (he's 82 and legally blind and still working away on his bird research!), but it never occurred to me to use it in my writing. Thanks for the illuminating ideas, and for the gift of your work. (Thanks to you, too, Carleen--your novels are among my all-time favorites.)

Shirin Dubbin said...

During this past Thanksgiving holiday my mother and I spoke of our luv for Ugly Ways, and The Hand I Fan With. We even toyed with writing Oprah to tell her Ugly Ways, done correctly, could be her next hit film. ^_^

I'm so glad to learn there's a sequel. Tina is one of the authors I admire and I've missed reading her words.

Amy said...

What an interesting idea. I think it's pretty cool you listen to the way the dialogue sounds.

Doret said...

Baby of the Family will always have a special place in my reader's heart.

What is The Book of Ephesus about?

TrayCie said...

"The Hand I Fan With" by Tina McElroy Ansa, has got to be my all time favorite......I truly hope white America embraces black authors....they are all I read now. A co-worker once asked me why I only read black authors...I asked her why she only read white authors.
The way the weave magic and history and love and romance together are truly magical. I eel as if I am in every story and these characters become my friends. I am so let down when I finish a good novel...