Monday, February 14, 2011

Weekend Writer: Writers Group Participation

I usually post this on Sunday evening, but this weekend I was out of town until Sunday evening and decided to catch up on the chores instead of blogging. Real life does get in the way of writing.

My trip out of town was partly for work. On the second Saturday of the month I participate in a wonderful writer's group that is part of our Sisters in Crime chapter. This past Saturday the group was critiquing a few chapters of my work in progress. I left the meeting with lots of positive comments on the work, but also lots of opinions on how to make my story stronger. The opinions are important. It is equally important to me to remember that they are "opinions." In the end, I must look at each comment and decide if I agree or not.

There are countless ways to tell the same story. In each, the essential elements will be the same, but the way they are presented is very different. For instance, a change in whose point of view is used to tell the story changes what is revealed and when. I could hand my plot to each writer in the group, and their stories would be very different from mine.

This is not to say that I am going to ignore everything my SiC writing friends had to say. I am going to make some significant changes based on their feedback. I have lots of work to do between Saturday and the next time I give them chapters. Not all that work is simple stuff like moving a line or rewriting a sentence for clarity. I have a subplot that wants to take over the story--that's no easy fix. There is also a pesky problem of second bookitis (those places where I know the character so well that I don't explain it clearly enough for the first time reader). I need to go in and reintroduce those characters in a way that doesn't repeat what I did in the first book of my series, but still gives someone who hasn't read Circle of Dishonor a feel for who those characters are. Like I said, I have lots of work to do, but in the end the book will be better. That is what this process is all about. I want every book to be the very best story I can write.

Now for the confession: part of what got in the way of writing this weekend was the need for a break. My spouse and I stayed over in Louisville for a nice dinner, a soak in a hot tub, and a little pampering by the hotel staff. I highly recommend getting away from the computer now and then. It does wonders for my outlook on making those revisions.

No comments: