Straight Talk on Writing: 20 Conversations with Authors about the Craft

By Scott Francis | Go to book overview

Becky Levine

“Revising is scary, and we
all want so much to get to
the publishing stage
quickly, that it can be
tempting to skim or skip
rewrites. The fact is,
though, we have to do the
hard work.”

Becky Levine is the author of The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide: How to Give and Receive Feedback, SelfEdit, and Make Revisions. She has written for Writer’s Digest magazine and The Horn Book Guide, and other periodicals. As a freelance editor, Levine provides critique services to other writers.

Levine is a big advocate for finding a writing group. She has great insights into giving and receiving critiques, as well as how to incorporate the feedback you receive into your revisions. Here is an interview with Levine where she discusses the craft, the writing life, writing groups, and more.

—SF


When did you know you
wanted to be a writer?

When I was growing up, we moved when I was nine years old, and I always date things around the “old house” and the “new house.” I don’t remember writing anything in the old house, but it was a huge part of my life in the new house. I think the actual moment when I decided this was what I wanted to do “when I grew up,” was when I was reading a wonderful series of teen mysteries by Phyllis A. Whitney. I can remember holding one of those books and making the decision that I would be a writer. Ms. Whitney had published several writing books, and I asked for them all for various birthday and Christmas presents.


What was the first thing you
wrote?

The first thing I remember writing was a short story about George Washington, that pretty much accused him of lying about that cherry tree and then confessing, but not until he realized he was going to get busted anyway. That may have been one of the stories I actually sent to Redbook and Cosmopolitan… needless to say, they did not publish me.


How much time per day do
you spend writing?

My time these days is pretty scattered. On a good day, I can sit and write for a solid couple of hours and feel good about what I’m getting on the page. But I think it’s more important that writers try to get a chunk of writing time in each day, even if it’s only twenty or thirty minutes, rather than waiting for the day they have a big open slot on the calendar. The more often we come back to a project, the more fresh it is in our brain. If we skip a few days, then too much of our “writing” time is used up by catching up with the work we did in the last session, with bringing

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Straight Talk on Writing: 20 Conversations with Authors about the Craft
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Acknowledgments i
  • Table of Contents ii
  • Introduction 1
  • Laurie Alberts 2
  • Barbara Baig 6
  • William Cane 9
  • Orson Scott Card 13
  • Sage Cohen 21
  • Sarah Dornet 25
  • Jeff Gerke 29
  • April Hamilton 32
  • Becky Levine 37
  • Donald Maass 41
  • Dinty W. Moore 43
  • Jessica Page Morrell 46
  • Steven Harper Piziks 49
  • Peter Seigin 53
  • George Singleton 57
  • James Alexander Thom 60
  • Fred White 62
  • Karen S. Wiesner 64
  • You’Ve Read the Interviews… Now Read the Books! 68
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