Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Guest Post from Milt Toby

Our guest post today is from Milt Toby, an author and attorney who has been writing about Thoroughbred racing for some forty years. His six previous books include Dancer's Image: The Forgotten Story of the 1968 Kentucky Derby, which won the Dr. Tony Ryan Book Award as the best book about Thoroughbred racing published in 2011 and an American Horse Publications Editorial Award for the best equine book of 2011. Milt is a director of American Horse Publications and a former chair of the Kentucky Bar Association's Equine Law Section.


Milt has a brand new book out called Noor: A Champion Thoroughbred's Unlikely Journey from California to Kentucky.




Here's the blurb from Amazon:


While Seabiscuit is perhaps the best-known Thoroughbred in history, Charles S. Howard owned another remarkable racehorse that should never be forgotten. Irish-bred Noor dominated the 1950 racing season, setting world records in victories over Citation and winning the Hollywood Gold Cup by defeating a Triple Crown winner, the Horse of the Year and the previous year's Kentucky Derby winner. Sadly, that fame faded as he failed to sire champions, and Noor was buried in an unmarked grave in Northern California decades later. Veteran turf writer Milt Toby recounts Noor's colorful career and the inspiring story of racing enthusiast Charlotte Farmer's personal mission to exhume the Thoroughbred's remains for reburial in central Kentucky years after the horse was inducted into the hall of fame. 

Today, Milt shares his perspective on the writing process.

Keep Trying ‘Til You Get It Right

by Milt Toby

It’s a well-documented malady associated with writing: falling in love with a clever turn of phrase, or paragraph, or scene, and then steadfastly refusing to cut it out of the final draft.  It’s one of the things that I struggle with in all of my writing.  If you’ve nurtured a favorite scene and now don’t have the heart to do away with it, even if you know that it needs to go, take a lesson from Ernest Hemingway.

I finished rereading A Farewell to Arms a few days ago and as always I came away in awe of Hemingway’s genius with words.  The version I read was the new Hemingway Library Edition, and what made it special was this: Hemingway often said that he rewrote the ending 39 times to be certain that he got the words right, and this edition assembles—apparently for the first time—all of those alternative endings.  A few of the endings that Hemingway tried but ultimately rejected are very similar to the final version, with only a word changed here and there, the literary equivalent of fine-tuning for maximum effect.  Others are radical departures from the published ending, including three versions that take a fundamental part of the conclusion and twist it 180 degrees.

The book also includes excerpts from some of the early drafts of the novel, many handwritten, others typed, with Hemingway’s edits included.  A Farewell to Arms is worth reading and rereading on its own merits.  The special treat of this edition is being able to flip to the appendices and get a feel for Hemingway’s thinking as he crafted the final manuscript.

Of all the possible endings, the one I liked best happened to be one that Hemingway didn’t choose, and that’s another important lesson: It’s a fact of life that not everyone is going to like what you write, or how you write it.  Listen to criticism from members of your writing group, or your mentor, or your spouse, but always remember that your inner critic is the most important voice of all.  If it takes 39 drafts to get it right, that’s how many it takes.  

Milt Toby lives in Central Kentucky with his wife, Roberta, two dogs and two cats. This is a stop on Milt's tour with Walker Author Tours. For more about his book Noor, or any of his other books, you can read more here: http://services.authorjennwalker.com/noor-virtual-book-tour/

Thank you so much for stopping by, Milt, and sharing your thoughts. Your books look fascinating and informative!



Anonymous said...

Thank you for hosting Milt on his tour!

Jennifer Walker said...

Thank you for hosting Milt on his tour!

Linda Benson said...

Milt - your book sounds fascinating. I love reading about race horses, loved the story of Seabiscuit, and this book sounds like it has a bit of a mystery to it also. I'll look for it!

Valerie Ormond said...

Thank you for the advice, Milt. Although I hate to hear of others struggling, it's somewhat comforting as a writer to know that people like Ernest Hemingway worked to produce the final result; it didn't just happen. Look forward to learning more about Noor!