Monday, February 28, 2011

The week in writing 2/28/2011

So this last week has been quite an interesting one from a writing standpoint.  I didn't write a lot but I made some new connections and decided on a path going forward.

My sister, Carolyn, introduced me to a friend of hers, Sharon Struth, who went from being an accountant to an author.  You can check out her blog here.  She was very encouraging and offered a lot of helpful suggestions.   One of the things that I took away from our talk was that it is time to get some pieces ready and submit them for publication.  I admit I have been resisting sending things out; it seems very overwhelming for me and, frankly, I am afraid of the rejections.  So I braced myself and marched out yesterday and bought the 2011 Writers Market, which I will use to find appropriate publications for my work.  Then I'll have to write query letters and get some pieces out.  Yikes!  Just the thought makes me wonder what the hell I am doing.  Why at 45 do I find I have to go out on this bizarre limb?  I have a good job; things are going well; we are all healthy.  But, I also find if I don't write, I get cranky.  I am always wondering, "Did I reach a reader?  Did they hear me?"  I am completely addicted to the feedback I get on my writing, negative and positive.  So I labor on despite my doubts.  Sometimes I do think I am crazy, though.

On Wednesday I started a three week seminar sponsored by Springfed Arts, a local arts organization.  It is a small group of 5 or 6 writers.  The instructor, Gwen, and two students are all published, the rest of us are not.  Gwen's lesson for the evening was characterization.  She wanted us to build characters that were 360 and then let the reader make the call on whether they liked them or not.  We had to write a scene based on someone walking in the room.  Who is this person, what are they like? What details are universal so the reader can relate and what are particular to that character so they are set apart from the rest of humanity and are not a stereotype.  The funny thing in writing this scene is I did the first part easily, then Gwen asked us to go back and add the particular details and I drew a complete blank.  I have never had such a complete sense of writers block.  I think my mind was emptier then when I meditate!  Then, as is typical, I got in my car to drive home and it all flooded in.  I had the outline of a novel by the time I got home.  Crazy!  I have posted my scene below with reader questions following.  Please take the time to give me some feedback by posting comments on the blog.