22 April 2008

Why I Love AQC

I'm in a private critique group on Agent Query Connect and I love it. As serious as we all our about our writing and about giving each other constructive feedback, we still manage to keep it fun. Some of our crazy little tidbits:

Addismac writes: "The craft I'm on right now is a boat that's adrift, directionless and windless. My life preserver is this group. " AND "This writing thing has me whimpering like a new born puppy taken from his mommy, its eyes not open and squirming away in the wrong direction. "

Thrownbones writes: "Oh, and I burn a lamb in a sacrifice, before I start a new book. Weird, huh?" (funny guy!)

Elana writes: "I also wrote a totally lame MG novel about elves. No one will ever see it. Ev-er."

And when Robb posed the question of why we (writers) so often write ourselves into corners, this is the countdown we came up with:

  • Reason #10: everything else is on TV. (hkelley)
  • Reason #9: "it's a balls-on thrill ride, writing yourself into a corner, because we all know how great it feels when we figure the way out. That "oh YEAH!" moment. It's kind of like "the thrill of the chase" (thrownbones)
  • Reason #8: "Writing wouldn't be nearly as fun in a round room, now would it? Rather write myself into corners than in circles....I think?" (me)
  • Reason #7: Medication has become unaffordable. (robb58)
  • Reason #6: someone has to keep the theory alive that the earth really is flat. (addismac)
  • Reason #5: Sleep is overrated. So is making dinner... (elanajohnson)
  • Reason #4: because robb would make an awful math teacher. (thrownbones, after robb goofed on the numbering of our list)
  • Reason #3: because actually following an outline would be so BORING. (hkelley)
  • Reason #2: because werds iz funz. (thrownbones)
  • Reason #1: Because writers are all just a little "touched" in the head and although we write ourselves into that corner and can clearly see the door there, or the window, or the jackhammer that could tear the whole room down, it is the words that own us, not logic, and they demand that we never take the easy way out. (me)

15 April 2008

Park Reflections

The first really great day of the season. And not just short-sleeves-no-coat warm, but flip-flops-and-shorts warm. By 6pm, the sun is mostly obscured by a thin veil of white, but the majority of the sky is still bright blue.

It still seems strange to have so many more hours of daylight, and I'm not quite sure what to do with myself after work. It seems a shame to waste the light by sitting in front of the television screen or computer monitor.

The park is buzzing today. Voices of a cheerleading group in the amphitheater. The clack-skritch-clack of roller hockey. Since NHL playoffs have just begun, I imagine the boys are imitating their heroes - perhaps Ovechkin in pursuit of Lord Stanley's Cup. There's the distant smack of softballs into gloves as a group of kids learn to wind up and pitch underhand. I can't hear them from where I am, but a school group is holding a tennis match across the way, and a group of younger kids is learning the basics of flag football.

Even the gnats and other tiny-winged things - plentiful around my bench in front of the freshly mulched bushes - are not so bad. They're a nice change from the nearly insectless winter which, to tell the truth, wasn't horrible either. We never did get a big snow, and at this point I've given up hope. Even after some of the crazy winters recently passed, I have no doubts that mid-April is beyond the likely window of blizzard opportunity. Now I'm left waiting patiently for the true warmth of summer, when I can retire my coat to the closet for a few months.

Not yet, though. Tomorrow's supposed to be cold.

08 April 2008

Battling the Demons

So I've been workshopping chapters from my manuscript with a critique group on the Agent Query site. I've gotten tons of feedback, some positive, some negative. A big negative being the "immaturity" of the MC and the overall voice. Not to mention some plausibility snags related to that. Ouch, right?

Right. But I'm afraid I've let it all go to my head a little too much. I keep dwelling on the negative critiques, despite the positive ones. I'm beating myself up. Trying to change too much. Over analyzing every word. I've almost convinced myself that the whole manuscript - all 76,000 words of it - should be tossed in the garbage can. Not that I'd ever do that, though, because I'm a bit of a hoarder when it comes to my writing, haha.

So instead, I'm going to take a short break from the AQ site and just get back to the story, really get in the mindset I need to be in to make it shine. I need to find my confidence again, my critical eye, my love of Charlotte (the MC in the book) and her story. I just need to get that back and stop telling myself I'm not good enough.

A little tangent (that is definitely helping with my confidence some): I've networked with another writer on AQ and he wants me to be his editor! He's got a great manuscript, from what he's already posted on the site, and I was flattered and thrilled when he asked me, of all people, to be his editor. Even though I've never edited anything (professionally, that is) in my life. But he saw something in my critiques that made him think we'd be a good author-editor fit. And I think he's right. This is probably the most exciting thing to happen to me in quite a while. Getting paid to read? How much better does it get?

And I think I'll end this depressing blog on that happy note. Yay for me!