Tags: Sabina Rascol

Sabina’s Style

by Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Published on: July 4, 2014
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Sabinas-styleI’ve been a member of Viva Scriva for years now, and each of the Scrivas is dear to me. Scriva characters invade my brain. Scriva works-in-progress tickle my editor’s fancy. Scriva nonfiction research becomes part of my dinner table conversation. No surprise, then, that when I saw this sign I immediately thought of Scriva Sabina Rascol’s latest draft. Sabina’s Style is a dress shop? Really? No. Sabina’s style is intricate, cultured, and poetic. Kind of like the sign.

It’s a given: I respect and admire Sabina’s writing style. Recently, however, instead of critiquing a portion of the draft Sabina submitted to Viva Scriva, I rewrote several hundred words in Ruth’s style. I wanted to show Sabina exactly what I meant, and so I showed her rather than told her. I showed her word by word by word in my way. Totally my way. Hardly a Sabina syllable in sight. Oy! How could I have done such violence?

The story ends happily, folks. Sabina received the make-over in the same Scriva-esque crazy humor with which I sent it. I got to edit someone else’s words at a time when I was finding it particularly difficult to work on my own book. I also got to examine Sabina’s style down to every word of every sentence I “critiqued,” which meant that I got back into the guts and sinews of the writing craft. I’d wager that it would be a productive exercise to rewrite Hemingway in John Green’s style and vice versa. (Would that I could write as well as either guy.)

The truth is that I never want Sabina to write just like me. She knows that (thanks for understanding, Sabina). I know that. One Scriva Ruth is enough!

 

 

Once the Baby Is Born

by Ruth Tenzer Feldman
Published on: March 31, 2012
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This is how I often envision my newly published book. What a sweetie! Family and friends, as well as assorted strangers, want to take a peek. They ooh and aah, and sometimes handle my creation less gently than I’d wish. They compare the wee babe to others they have seen. They ask me how I am doing. They have all sorts of suggestions about child rearing. They wonder if I plan to have another.

Yes, I am delighted to have Blue Thread out in the world. And, yes, I am delighted that other people notice! Still, this new baby stage is a mega-shift from the years of control I had over my story.

I am slowly assimilating the message that authors, like parents, have to learn to share and to let go. Readers, each with his or her unique mindset, complete a book. That’s what publication is all about. The public. Duh!

Viva Scriva, like any excellent critique group, has helped with the transition. The very act of my sharing chapter after chapter was the first step in wresting my manuscript from my iron grip of authorship. As readers, the Scrivas added their point of view and saw things in the manuscript that I couldn’t see or didn’t want to see. I can still hear Scriva Sabina saying, “In my version of your story….” As writers, the Scrivas offered “constructive criticism” in the very best sense of that phrase.

I know I’m stretching the baby analogy here, but it reminds me that “my baby” wasn’t ever all mine to begin with. The very spark of creativity was ignited with the help of someone else. Babies are not clones. You catch my drift. And on that delicious note, I shall finish this post and get back to my new work in progress.

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