Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Oft Beaten Path 3

Back to this writer’s retreat. As of this exact point of writing time [late August 2007], I am nearing the end of day one.

At the exact moment in time after the above, I switched from writing this to working on my novel [that is why I’m here] so now I’m at the end of day 3. Sorry about that but let me fill you in.

I’ve had two sessions with the creative director who is a marvellously sincere gentlemen, a great reader, makes wonderful observations and comments on each and every work, and has an amazing memory.

In our first session he advised that I work on character development. This observation was not exactly a surprise because I’d been discussing something similar with my teenage daughter. However, he went in to what was missing from my characters in such a way that I was able to pinpoint where and when such development could be slipped into scenes. He like the rhythm and pace of the action scenes but said they needed to be balanced, and would be given further impact, if the reader could relate just a little more to the main character.

No prob. I spent the afternoon after that pinning up notes on my corkboard on who need work. There is something immensely satisfying about pinning notes up on a board I found. I felt like a real writer. Someone who was creating something, constructing a work that was a physical piece of art. Typing into a computer is just not the same thing.

Day 3 brought another session with the director. We discussed mostly similar themes. I read to him the developments I had made and he thought they worked well. Not overdone and adding just enough to connect to the reader.

The hours after that were even busier than previous as I read through page after page of manuscript with a red pen in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. It was a hard balancing act but I managed and came up with, what I think is quite a good scene involving one of my main female characters and the man she loves. I won’t go into details, but I do like it. I shall look at it again in the morning however, to make sure I haven’t gotten carried away with myself. You may be surprised to learn this, but that does happen quite a bit.

We have no sessions tomorrow so I will concentrate on the second half of my novel and see if I can’t get it finished (yet again) by the end of the week.

Now, let me tell you about some of the other things I’ve learned so far this week. Go and read those nine points I made above – just a quick skim through is fine.

From the lips of the creative director [with only a little twist or two from me] – they are all true!

How a writer is supposed to find a way through all this, I’m not sure. It does happen of course though to those of us who are yet unpublished (in the traditional sense), it remains a mystery. I find myself asking whether or not publishers and agents recall at any time that they have their work because there are people out there who actually write the stories they publish?

I know they do and that I am being cynical, but, hell (or heck, if you don’t like to curse), it sure doesn’t seem like it at times.

Then, of course, I recall that writers (like you and me) really are a dime a dozen. What a depressingly realistic thought.

I’m going to start the next chapter with a few tips on how us “newbie” writers might be able to help ourselves along. One of those tips includes going on a writer’s retreat!

Go make yourself a cuppa (or stock up on whatever is your preferred form of refreshment) while I prepare...

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