November has been a strange month for me emotionally, one of change, perhaps mirroring the season? Trees are losing their leaves or changing color. Mountain tops are capped with snow. Nights are cooler, days are shorter. The ducks and the Coots are setting up residence around the lake, and inside my little abode, my writing is getting a major overhaul.
I finished the story in NaNoWriMo, pushing through and completing the remaining 30,000 words in the first ten days and then dropping out as it was hard to do an actual wordcount once I began revising.
Several days later I read that Bob Mayer had two last minute cancellations for his writers retreat on Whidbey Island. I'd been interested in going. As luck would have it my dog sitter had just returned to work after a six week abscence following abdominal surgery. Was this a sign perhaps? Or would I merely shoot myself in the foot, become dejected after intensive feedback and give up writing forever?
I went. Now I'm back and more determined than ever to get this writing thing under control.
At the retreat there were six writers, one Category Romance, two Sci Fi, one Literary, one Chick Lit, and me. I'm writing (attempting to write) Romantic Suspense. Bob is multi-published in Sci Fi, Thriller, and Romantic Adventure. It was an interesting group and I did learn a lot. I'd highly recommend it to anyone who feels stuck. Bob has this knack of pulling the eyes of the story out and saving those, getting rid of what doesn't work, reworking the original story idea or concept, and keeping it all simple. I had thrown in everything but the kitchen sink, all external conflict, not much emotional. Sigh. He uses the KISS theory--keep it simple stupid--I'm simplifying like crazy now.
I'd tried a story within a story and Bob didn't like it. Neither did anyone else. It had major flaws. He advised ditching the second story and using a clean, linear structure. At first I didn't like my simplified story idea, it semed barren, perhaps told too many times by more proficient and talented writers. I felt I had no new spin to give this story, then I realised the details are all in the characters anyway. Sooooo, make my characters more interesting, dig deeper, I mean really, really deep, show more real motivation. It's a start. Painful, but a start.
This is going to be a long journey. But I swear, I'm keeping it real. Who knows, I may have a major break through in my writing style. It'd be about time.
For information on Bob's future retreats, go to http://www.bobmayer.org/