Critique Groups

I am a member of RWA and a local chapter of writers too. I recently went to our first critique group meeting.

What I learned from that first meeting was- we all can improve. What I had wrote and rewrote and slaved over for the last few months was a start- it is not a destination but its a journey.

I have a long way to go. With the help of these ladies I think my road will have less pot-holes. Do you work alone, or with writing partners? I’d love to hear from others about the writing progress. Now its time to get back to it Write On!

Di

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IDENTITY lesson

What I learned this summer

I have been blessed to extend my circle of friends and my learning through different adventures this summer. In NYC at the RWA writer’s conference I met a lady Jessie G who writes M&M romance. Something I was surprised to discover when she told me she is married straight woman with children. It takes a skilled writer to be able to emote in the opposite genders viewpoint. So male/male romance as a genre preference was totally unexpected. And She’s good!

The lesson that stands out the most from RWA conference was a lecture I attended given by Michael Hauge. He showed me how to get into a characters mind and deepen my story with three main ingredients. These are just what I gleaned after going back through my notes.

Know your characters’ IDENTITY, by knowing their WOUND/FEAR/ BELIEF/

What is their biggest fear?

What do they believe/ this must be a lie, but they think it to be true and it’s logical

How are they wounded? (This is the inner conflict founded by something in their past)

Perfect example= Shrek

He’s an ogre for Pete’s sake- he shows everyone he’s frightful, strong and mean, by growling, posting keep away signs and frightening anyone who comes near.(MASK)

Shrek’s biggest (FEAR) is he will never find love/He’s not worthy

He (BELIEVES) if anyone does get close they will run away(Logical because his whole life people have) Scene: When he was only a child his first friend ran away when told he couldn’t like an ogre or have one for a friend.(WOUND)

To keep from facing the fear that no one will find him worthy of love- he portrays the evil ogre so no one can get close enough to find out who he truly is. Which is his ESSENCE= loveable true and loyal friend.

The identity is: the mask used in the real world to protect him from his biggest FEAR, which grows from the BELIEF, created by the WOUND that happened long long ago.

So that short lesson showed me more about character development than any other I’ve read or heard. Now I am going through my characters and making myself define their FEAR/WOUND/ BELIEF to flesh out their identities.

I did IT!

I was hesitant to do the NANOWRIMO Event but plunged in full gear. I sort f cheated having been working on a current project for the last couple of years and stalling out.

The idea was one I’ve been playing with for a long time. And trying to et it down right I was given some excellent insight as what was and was not working. Having a place where I felt I needed to be accountable, helped.  Also the feeling that so many oters were struggling right along with me also pushed me.

Do any of you know someone who did this? Have you tried in the past?

50,000 words in 30 days is a great challenge.

The cute little video and certificate to print out was a surprise.

Write ON!

Di

Getting ready for NANOWRIMO

This will be my first year trying the NANOWRIMO out. I’ve heard a lot of people have done this. The goal is to write 50,000 in 30 days. I am trying to decide if I should start from scratch or begin major revisions on a current WIP (work in progress). But I better figure it out Nov 1st is only days away!

I am not certain of how it works or if it will get me to be more accountable, but hey why not give it a go?

Any one else joining?- Is this your first time or are you a veteran?

Places for writers- old post

I have been writing for a long time. Mostly for myself and family- until I ran across the site of  fanstory.com in 2004. http://www.fanstory.com/index.jsp   There I am called Diny.

Then I started to learn the craft. People there helped me edit my book, my poetry and my thoughts.  I believe I remained true to myself and used the site for what it was originally designed for; to learn and find like minded people who also wanted to do the same. As I continued to grow I noticed the site starting to be more of a social gathering spot. I met writers from all over the world. There was a big gentle guy from Australia, a funny English lady who touched my heart and even regular guys that you would never imagine to possessed a poetic soul.  It was there I first began writing stories and attempted my first novel.

Today I revisited the site and entered a contest which doesn’t even close until after Feb 2015.

I was struck with the feeling of coming home. For no matter how much I continue to work on 2 novels and short stories etc… I will forever remain a poet at heart.

I am looking forward to attending a writers retreat next month and growing more.  It is a pleasant surprise to find writers who share the same love of words and thoughts. The expressing of such things remains a constant joy in my life. When I am down, troubled, or lost in life’s daily drama and routine it is words that take me back to where I find myself most satisfied.

Where do you go to find inspiration?

Write On!- Diny/ Diana/ Di

 

 

 

UPDATE… The writers retreat was fantastic- I want to go every year! I hope to make lots of new friends readers and colleagues, MRW rocks!- Diana

Writers Retreat MRW

I was as nervous as a cat in a rocking chair factory! I wasn’t published by one of the big 5… I was self published in 2005- did I even belong in a real writers group? Well et me tell you something, there are writers everywhere!- Some ex-cops, school teachers, housewives and professionals who actually make a living doing what I dream of. All of which are as sweet as chocolate! they welcomed me with open arms. They made me feel worthy and down right good!

I understand we all can improve and was down right flabbergasted at the comments after critiques. Those who have been writing for years were as interested in improving and getting help as the novice like myself. Books are another world compared to short stories and poetry. I have learned more in the last 4 days than I have in all life when it comes to writing.

The ladies who shared the weekend with me were so encouraging that I think I might actually be able to do this full-time one day… What a great time. I can’t wait for next year! In the mean time I will be posting excerpts and improving my craft and hopefully bring a new book in the making with me  next year.

Revisions, edits and time

Let us look at the process of the beginning of a story- First from who’s POV should this be? After much thought I changed that… Then I learned about passive voice and active ones. Then speech tags. Construction and flow. Later a friend of mine who is invaluable to me taught me that DEEP POV… make your reader feel and see the story- They want to know the character and be there with them. Readability is key. All this and we only have words upon a page to portray this…

SO here are three different attempts- See if you agree which one is best

First seven lines…  (old a year ago)

As the tin bell clanged to announce Gina Lever’s entry to the Springtown Café, she inhaled deeply the fragrance of bacon and freshly brewed coffee.  With the millennium just around the corner it was odd to see the decor of the fifties so alive.  Not only did the diner resemble the long ago era but it actually existed, suspended in time, since many of the furnishings were brand new.  The tiny restaurant was the only place to eat in the Arkansas-Missouri border town of Springville. The old Hotel had few visitors, the bottling company had closed and the storefronts were mostly empty, yet The Springville Café was bustling with customers.

Gina looked over toward her usual booth to find it occupied by Matthew Chance.  She also knew why the young man was there; with the death of his grandfather he was alone now.

 

(newer this year)

His family was broken before he was born.  Matt knew money didn’t buy happiness; he never wanted for anything, but that.  Being the richest kid in the county hadn’t brought much joy to his family situation.  He witnessed family bonds of kids at school and now that graduation was over, Matt wouldn’t even have those examples on a daily basis.  He never knew his parents.  Sam Chance, his grandfather, didn’t share anything least of all information.  Matt would give all his money to have what so many others took for granted.

 

After study work and suggestions from a real editor…

Holding the last piece of crunchy goodness, Matthew Chance took a bite, I bet you, heaven is full of bacon, he thought as he sat in the Springville Diner. He looked at his watch for the hundredth time this morning. A fresh batch of cinnamon rolls, spread a thick blissful sugary scent over the diners. Matt visualized the huge pecans and melted gooey caramel. His mouth watered as he considering ordering one to go and stabbed the last bit of egg onto his fork. When he was finished, he’d be forced to return to the outside world, a world that thought he should be grieving over his grandfather’s death.