Maybe you thought I forgot about this blog? Or even the novel? Well, not entirely.
In May, I submitted my pages to the writing workshop, then decided to take a rest from writing and editing. In June, we took off for Mexico, and the beginning of a wonderful and fun-filled summer vacation began. Then July rolled around, and I attended Donald Maass' Intensive Writing Workshop. I haven't been the same since then (in a mostly good way, though:). I learned so much in his workshop, grew so much, came to realize my strengths and weaknesses. I have a lot of strengths in my writing, thank God, at least enough to make me want to continue writing. My main weakness was that I included too much backstory and did not start the action soon enough. Too chronological. Too linear. As I sat there day after day, getting wonderful feedback reports and strutting back to my hotel room, all glowing and self-content, it began to dawn on me how much more work was in front of me. I thought I was going to be finished by the end of this year. Now that I believe it will be two more years, maybe more, to ensure it's loaded with the kind of impact I want it to have.
That's okay. After the workshop, I got a little depressed about the idea of requiring many years to complete my novel. But now that I've had some time away from writing it, I'm looking forward to giving another crack at it. First I want to continue with the reading program I've imposed upon myself. I got the idea to do this from the writing guidebook Plot and Structure by James Scott Bell. In it, he says to read 6 books similar to the type you want to write, whether genre, plot type, setting, or character. You're supposed to read each one once for pleasure, then reread each of them again with a set of index cards in front of you. This time, make notes on what's happening, scribble down what works for you as well as what you don't like in the story your reading. I will probably only do 3 because I have small children, but so far this idea seems to be helpful. I'm almost finished reading Eat, Pray, Love. I like a lot of things Elizabeth Gilbert does, and have already made some mental notes of things I would have done differently.