Sunday, October 2, 2011

Not Writing--Going to Conferences!

I have always found that the best way to avoid doing something is to talk about doing something, on and on, until you and everyone around you are thoroughly sick of it.

I was dangerously close to working on one of my novels--I had the whole Saturday free!--so I took the best step I could to avoid writing: I attended a writing conference. Actually, it was a writing "master class."

Somehow I found a fellow writer to go with me--another novelist who tends to write in the YA lit category--and we traipsed down to Tallahassee for a class on character building. A pretty lame class, actually (though most of the writers there seemed to really like it). Since we were also both educators, our main beef was with the format of the class. For instance, the presenter had a system for identifying the kinds of elements in one's novel using many colors of highlighters. A pretty cool system. Only we didn't even begin working on the manuscripts we brought until nearly the end of the all-day session. And it wasn't until AFTER we'd highlighted our own manuscripts that she brought out a "practice" sheet for us to all work on together so that we could understand what we were doing.

She also spent a good bit of time (and several handouts) advertising her future online and in-person workshops. And her daughter's. And her 350-page lecture packets. If she'd actually published any books of her own, I'm sure she would have been selling those, too.

Still, I thought, it's not a total waste. After all, it did keep me writing for ELEVEN hours. That in itself would be worth the money spent, since I've been having a really hard time lately keeping myself from writing.

Only it didn't really help. I took the first fifteen pages of my manuscript, and despite the instructor's method, the highlighting made it clear that the reason I hated the beginning of my book is that I had 7 pages of back story right at the beginning, instead of starting the novel in the middle of the action. Eureka!

Now I'm all pumped about cutting that crap out and sifting it in slowly (or dumping most of it). And now I'm bursting to write more, to finish up the last tidying of The Ghost Portal manuscript and query letter (and agent listing) so that I can get to revising this haunted house novel. The only reason I didn't work on it last night is that I was exhausted, but I woke up at 4:15 this morning, ready to write. And the kids are asleep until at least 6:30... so I can't start vacuuming, do laundry, or wash dishes yet.

Must. Find. Something. Else. Now!

(Any ideas?)

1 comment:

  1. You make me smile.

    I've heard it said that it's good to get all that stuff in the first chapter out of your system. Then when you finish the book, you can go back and dump it, usually having kept the pertinent stuff (a little bit here and a little bit there) through the rest of the story.

    Good luck with it.