The Writer’s Connection: Turning Words into Conversations

writer connection

“We’re all strangers connected by what we reveal, what we share, what we take away–our stories. I guess that’s what I love about books–they are thin strands of humanity that tether us to one another for a small bit of time, that make us feel less alone or even more comfortable with our aloneness, if need be.”

Turning Words into Conversations

by Katharine Britton

All my life I’ve enjoyed stringing words together and watching what appears on the page. While, initially, the writing process is solitary, at some point you bring in readers. Some authors do this early on: members of their writing groups read ten to fifteen pages every few weeks throughout the gestation period. Others, like me, wait until the whole manuscript is finished before handing it off to a few trusted readers. We then wait, anxiously, for their feedback. It’s not unlike sending your child off to school for the first time. Will others like her? Will he behave? Is she as delightful and precocious as I think? (Yes, yes, and no.)

You ask for feedback and, guess what? Your readers give it. Thus begins the first of many conversations you, the author, will have about your manuscript. A manuscript that is no longer entirely yours once you open the door and invite others in. “I liked this part.” “I found this part (the same part) kind of boring.” “Loved the protagonist.” “I just couldn’t relate to the protagonist.”

And so you turn to the solitary task of revising, but the writing feels different now because others have read your words and been moved by them (for better or worse). A conversation that you previously had just with yourself now has other people listening in.

Then you send the manuscript to your agent (or an agent, or many agents) and the conversation grows. The agent sends it to an editor. The conversation grows even more. That editor buys the manuscript, and the conversation grows again, and now it’s no longer just about the story. It’s about marketing and cover art and blurbs and reviews and marketing.

Soon publicists become involved and managing editors and copy editors. And the marketing department is still weighing in via your editor. And then you’re talking to booksellers and bloggers and media people. Once the book is published you again hear from readers. These are not all family and friends (although some, maybe a lot, will be). They won’t all like your book. But, if you’re hearing from them, through email or reviews or in person, they were moved by your words and are now part of the conversation.

A whole little industry evolves around your manuscript. A manuscript that started with you, alone at your desk, coming up with an idea, writing down that first word, and then the 80,000 or so that followed.

Writing is a kind of alchemy. Authors assemble letters into words, words into sentences, sentences into paragraphs… And, in doing so, create emotion and conversation. What an amazing process that I’m blessed to be part of.

With that, I hope you’ll leave a comment about this post, or books that moved you to contact an author or write a review, or any other topic that seems relevant.

Author Katharine Britton

Author Katharine Britton

Katharine Britton’s first novel HER SISTER’S SHADOW was published in 2011 by Berkley Books (Penguin, USA). Her second novel LITTLE ISLAND came out in September 2013 from the same publisher. She has a Master’s degree in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College, and a Master’s in Education from the University of Vermont. Her screenplay, “Goodbye Don’t Mean Gone,” was a Moondance Film Festival winner and a finalist in the New England Women in Film and Television contest. Katharine is a member of the League of Vermont Writers, New England Independent Booksellers Association, and The New Hampshire Writer’s Project. She has taught at Institute for Lifelong Education at Dartmouth, Colby-Sawyer College, and The Writer’s Center in White River Junction.

When not at her desk, Katharine can often be found in her Norwich garden, waging a non-toxic war against the slugs, snails, deer, woodchucks, chipmunks, moles, voles, and beetles with whom she shares her yard. Katharine’s defense consists mainly of hand-wringing, after the fact.

Twitter: kbrittonvt

About Little Island

Little IslandLITTLE ISLAND

ISBN-13: 9780425266359

Publisher: Berkley Books (Penguin Group, USA)

“[A] deeply compassionate story of an extended New England family beleaguered by loss, misunderstandings, and terrible secrets…[Britton] understands how, through love, the human heart can overcome just about anything.”—Howard Frank Mosher

“Acutely rendered details of a beloved natural landscape and [a] wise understanding of complex human hearts. The tale is touched with heartbreak but leavened with humor.”—Reeve Lindbergh, author of Under a Wing and Forward From Here

Katharine Britton’s Little Island flows with such luscious writing I wanted to slow down to savor it and a plot so compelling I tore through the book as if I were reading a page-turner mystery.The complicated, flawed, generous Little family reminded me of my own, and how, in the midst of the risks and raptures and currents of life, we save one another. –Nancy Thayer, author of Island Girls


To read Chapter One, please visit my website http://www.katharinebritton.com Available for book group visits or call-ins.

Her Sister’s Shadow

ISBN 978-0-425-24174-5
Her Sister's Shadow

Publisher’s Weekly: “Shifting between present day and the late 1960s, two sisters confront their tragic past in Britton’s touching debut. Britton seamlessly alternates between the two eras to unravel a tale of rivalry, tragedy, love, and the corruptibility of truth.”

To read Chapter One, please visit my website http://www.katharinebritton.com

Available for book group visits or call-ins.

Reader’s guide available on line.

With GratitudeKB

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6 thoughts on “The Writer’s Connection: Turning Words into Conversations

  1. Tea norman says:

    I enjoyed your blog post. Would love to read Little Island. The book trailer really caught my interest.

  2. Julie S. says:

    I loved this line in the guest post “A conversation that you previously had just with yourself now has other people listening in.”
    So true! Writers pour their heart into their work and then all of us that read the book get to feel like we know the author on a personal level. It is almost like we had a deep conversation with the writer face to face. 🙂

  3. I really enjoyed the idea of writing as alchemy. As a reader I sometimes finding myself questioning if my interpretation is based on what the writer meant or the experience I bring as a reader. I thinkit’s both.

  4. […] December was a crazy and unproductive month for me so I’m skipping my contemplating December and moving on. Although I do want to thank my guest author for her wonderful post in December’s The Writer’s Connection. Katharine Britton wrote a wonderful post that evoked some thoughtful comments from this blog’s readers. If you missed it, check out Turning Words into Conversations. […]

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