Friday, August 10, 2007

On Writing

No, this is not about Stephen King's book. Although, I find it to be an excellent read and a good investment if you want to read it over and over...

No, this is about my writing. Or, more specifically, the lack of it. I haven't been writing a lot lately. Yes, I know that I should be, and I also know that not all other writers write all the time. Some go in spurts, as my last novel seemed to. But I'm caught in the middle here. I FEEL like I should be writing. I feel like I should be getting practice in, taking my hacks, to put it in baseball parlance.

But on the other hand, I want to learn. I want to know what I did wrong. I want to know what I screwed up last time, so I don't make the same mistakes again in another book, another short story, whatever. This is where feedback comes in. I had a friend read the ms, and another that read the first 50 pages. I have still another whose feedback is supposed to appear in my mailbox any day now. They all had good things to say, and good suggestions for change. But I need it all together, to make it coherent, to get a larger picture of what an aggregate group thinks, and what I agree with and what I don't.

Into this story walk the Guppies. One of the Guppies is in charge of coordinating critique groups and setting people up to have them read each other's work and commenting on it. I have already met some great people and have already gotten one ms feedback. I have read one manuscript myself and sample chapters of another, and have added my (hopefully useful) comments. I feel like I am nearly ready to tackle the ms again. I have 3 good sets of comments, at least one on the way, and a few more people in my critique group to access. I believe there will have to be some wholesale changes. There is a question of believability of motivation, which undercuts the tension. How will I deal with this? I don't know yet. I am a victim of the passive voice. I need to change a lot there (but not all).

So, into August and September I go, pushing on toward the end of the baseball season, and hopefully on to another (and better) version of my book. I will keep you posted, because I really want to get it done. I know what the next book is. It's very different, and I'm very excited to explore it in more detail.