Monday, November 21, 2016

Adventures in Writing

Recently I joined a writing group. It was way overdue; I've been needing a good group for a while. After a while, I can't trust that I've really written whatever book I'm working on as well as I can; I need friends and writers who can push me to do better.

I like this group. We've met once and I like the set-up. It's made for novelists, so each meeting revolves around one writer, one book. This gives everyone plenty of time to work on their projects and for everyone to give adequate feedback.

I'm the next one up, since I'm new to the group. Here's the thing: I wasn't sure I had anything to share. I have one book with my editor (so that seems a little...out of commission right now), and another draft that is my current NaNoWriMo project and is the word equivalent of Swiss cheese combined with about six other kinds of cheese. It's a Frankenstein's monster, or rotting zombie, of a draft, and I know it's not ready to workshop.

My poor, incomplete draft.

So, I decided to send my NaNo project from last year. It's not done; I wrote about 50,000 words and then stopped because I had other projects that became more pressing. I also had no idea how to end it. Not that I had to worry about that; this book is a little longer (a lot longer) than my MG books, so I had some time before I had to worry about the ending. Since it's a new project and very rough, I'm not going to give the plot here. Suffice it to say, I wrote this thing in high school, got some education, realized my first attempt wasn't very good, and now I'm rewriting it from scratch and it's much better. And, here are some pictures that describe the story, a little:

Fun, huh? I'll talk about it more later, maybe when I've written the second half.

The adventure in writing here is that I hadn't read this draft, or looked at it at all, in a year.

Seriously. Hadn't really even thought about it. So, when I read it yesterday to make sure this was something I wanted to continue and something I wouldn't hate putting in front of my writing group, I realized I had forgotten a lot about the plot. I found myself reading it like a regular reader, not the writer.

This was an interesting experience. I was drawn into the book and found myself enjoying it. At first I thought this should be flattering, since, after all, I would hope my book would be enjoyable. Then I remembered I was the one reading it. Of course I thought the characters were fun - I made them. I designed them to be what I wanted. Of course I liked the plot - it's what I want, too. I'm the one who made this happen. I should be pleased when I'm the reader.

It has problems, of course. A year away from this draft made it easier for me to see plot holes, a lack of tension, and some moments when a character acts out of character. I don't know if I'll make a habit out of giving my drafts a year to cool, but I think I'm glad I did it on this one. I don't remember my original plans for the story, other than what I have in my notes, so I feel freer in deciding a new, maybe better, ending.

In case you're wondering, I think I can give this to my writing group. It's rough, but not a shredded mess, and I think I can get some good feedback on it so far. Also, maybe my writing group will help me figure out how to end this thing

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