I am so pleased to have been invited to join Heidi’s writers group here in Dubai! Yup, a novel length submission group which is novel for me – other groups I have attended critiqued short lengths of writing – 2000 to 4000 words from as many as six or seven people. Some were short stories or parts of novels, some were bits of writing on their way to being a short story or novel.
In this new one, we read a complete novel, just one, from one author until we are done – albeit 10-15 chapters at a time, critiquing each section each week.
After two meetings, I can say I do like this new protocol.
- As I follow along the story, it’s easier to pick out plot holes/ flaws when I have the whole book. When critiquing pieces from six or seven authors in short bursts, you get a short peek into the plot and if you get to read more, it’s usually months later.
- I am invested in the story, the characters, the world of the novel. As I go deeper, I can watch the characters change as each new plot twist unfolds. Love it!
- I can keep track of continuity. I notice if the car the antagonist drives changes color suddenly, if mannerisms are out of character from earlier chapters, and since these things are important to me, I assume they are important to the other writers.
- I can also I pick out repetitious descriptors and descriptions, something that can break the spell of the book faster than a misspelled word.
- And it’s fun to find out that what I thought was a flaw in the narration is really a plot twist I never saw coming in the next chapter.
So, yes, I like this “Novel” group.
Disadvantages? If you don’t like the genre, it can be hard going – but less than I thought.
This novel I’m reading now is set in a dystopian world of monks and soldiers, very cerebral, chock full of meditation and mind games. I’m more of an action/dialog kind of gal. But when the author asked if I found it hard to read, I was pleased to say, “I read the first 30 pages out of respect, but after that I was hooked.” Good writing always wills out.
Am I OCD? Don’t care. But I am taking days off from the never ending, never quite enough effort to improve my exercise routine, my nutrition, my writing and relationships etcetera. Shit, yeah! I even keep a finger on the pulse of my relationships – husband, daughter, sisters, friends, writing group, for God’s sakes! I am supposed to be retired.
So today I am going to read, all day, for no other reason than to enjoy the feel of a book in my hands. Kathy Reichs Speaking In Bones
She’s not me; she’s better.
I had a kid late in life. Yes, selfish – lots of places I wanted to go, and did. Lots of things I wanted to do and see -and did.
Then I met my husband who is different. Because who you like when you are in a hurry, like in your 20’s and 30’s, is a different guy than who you like when you are 40 and sick of slick and shiny.
And we had a kid. She’s 24. And holy crap, she turned out great. I mean GREAT. Independent, hard working, thoughtful, and focused.
Which means if I never write another book, or sell one, or get on a bestseller list or walk to the stage to receive a prize, I have done more good in one human being than any bestseller could do.
To remind me constantly to make writing fun
Is it writer’s block, writer’s fatigue, or as a fellow writer confessed at group – writer’s fear?
Good ideas often come to me in the metro, or a taxi, as I wait in line at the bank. Sooooooo, there are whole blocks of days, I make myself leave the security of my computer desk behind and ride the rails, usually with a book and my Galaxy Note. Amazing how an inexpensive change of scene can free you from the pressure.
I am a morning coffee person. Two cups start the engine, but afternoons, nope. So I am always on the lookout for a delicious cup of tea.
This month’s recommendation – Teekanne (since 1882) Premium Rooibos Vanilla. Smooth, antioxidant, and delicious with milk. (Please spare me the “how could you”speech against adding milk. I already have a Brit brother-in-law)
When I am at a loss for words, and my house has already been cleaned twice this week, I have a cup of tea.
First, I bought a new phone and spent 3 days trying to transfer data.
Meanwhile, I had planned to write, not wade thru tech blogs, but I needed my new phone to function – I could not continue carrying around 2 phones – one with the sim card and one with all my apps (and data). So finding the instructions that worked (and I could understand) was important, so I could free myself up to write – a query letter.
The Q letter is my nemesis, my boulder, my personal blister on my heel. These take me a long time for all the usual reasons – defining major plot points, finding the precise words that describe the characters, editing until the sentences swim off the page like shimmering dolphins.
On the plus side, I have written excellent q letters before, so I know this.
If I keep at it, keep a note pad nearby, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing, if I write down ideas as they occur, the letter gets written. I drip, drip, chip away until it’s done. That’s the secret for most difficult endeavors, right?
Also YouTube is the best for tech questions and demos!