It’s the final week of our winter writing group, and we’re wrapping up with some great work! Anne, Lisa, Robert, and I started school this week, but we’re still plugging away; it’s easier to write before the student essays start rolling in…
Updates and Week Four Goals:
- Anne: I am going to continue with my notetaking from Burroughs and other sources. It is working — I’m getting specific ideas and motivation for my WIP [work in progress]. I’m even having the nerve to say that I have a WIP!
- Laura: I started my outline and this week I’d like to keep working on it; I’d like to get a very rough outline of the whole book done by the end of this week. I don’t usually outline, but a mystery novel is new to me, and I think that something so focused on plot needs better organization than I usually give it.
- Lisa: This week, I’m hoping to write two pages. It’s been busy, but I’m sticking with it!
- Matt: For all intents and purposes, I have assembled my first draft. I am more comfortable with some parts than with others. It’s a pretty big milestone and I’m heavy with ambivalence, but trying to give myself the space to actually appreciate the fact that it is a milestone. It’s okay to celebrate, even though I’m not finished. Right? [YES, MATT!!]
What I want to do this week is prepare some questions, both general and specific, as I regard the manuscript and get ready to share it with my volunteer readers. I’m not interested in burdening them with any thoughts that may color their initial reading experience, but they are all aware that they are test subjects. They’re not reading for pleasure (at least not exclusively?) but for feedback. And I know readers approach that process in different ways, so if anybody actually wants any guidelines or ideas about the sort of feedback I need, I would like to be ready with them. In any case, I will need the questions eventually. Now that I finally know what my story is, I hope to learn what the thing is about. Ask myself all those basic questions that a more responsible author would have asked years ago. But I don’t really like to work that way.
- Robert: I wrote 958 words in the last week. The first week of school was busy of course! For this last week I will still strive for 250 words a day, 1750 for the week.
I like to read about other writers’ processes, and one of my favorite writer-on-writing is Stephen King. I recommend his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft; he writes about his early writing life, the car accident in 1999 (he was hit by a van), and coming back to writing after being physically unable to do it. It’s a great memoir and King has a lot of pearls of wisdom for novice and veteran writers alike.
You can get a glimpse of some of the things he writes about in On Writing in an interview he did with The Paris Review as part of the magazine’s “Art of Fiction” interview series. The Paris Review has been running this series for decades and decades, interviewing writers like Vonnegut, Nabokov, Angelou, and so many more. You can get a collection of some of the best, or you can do a quick Google search and find the one you’re looking for.
Happy reading, and good writing this week, everyone!
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