Monday, June 29, 2015

A Kick in the Pants

Sometimes when it comes to writing, you need to give yourself a kick in the pants. Sometimes, if you're really lucky, someone hands you a great big steel-toed boot to do it with.

I'm really lucky!

I've been sitting here thinking about my book for months, but haven't dared to even look at it- too busy, too tired, too overwhelmed even by the thought of it. Last week I was looking up a program for my son at the library and I happened to see a free writing workshop on the events calendar. And it happened to be on a Saturday my hubby had off. But it was 5 hours. No way I'd get away from my kids for 5 hours. But then hubby told me to do it. "Go for it!" he said. So I did.

Helloooo boot!

I will be perfectly honest- the workshop was for beginners. Like, beginning beginners. People who think they might like to write a book but may or may not yet even have a story idea. We did some simple exercises- getting to know our main characters (which I actually found helpful because while I knew her pretty well, I had never really "interviewed" her, if you know what I mean), having our characters interact with others' characters using some dialogue (a fascinating exercise, actually), writing scene descriptions, and learning about basic plot structure. Like I said, basic stuff, but just the kick in the pants I needed.

Here's what I got out of it:

1. When you stay away from your WIP for too long, it's hard to remember all those great ideas you had for it before- and it's hard to remember other stuff too, like the color of your main character's horse (true story). I need to not let so much time pass between my writing sessions.

2. I got the great reminder that every character in your story is their own person- they have their own background, their own likes & dislikes and motivations. It was so fun to have my MC meet another person's MC in a store, and to see how they reacted to each other. From that exercise I also learned that I know my MC very well. I was able to say, "You're going to have to talk to her first, because she wouldn't come up and talk to you," and "Give me a minute- she's feeling anxious which means she's going to ramble," and then when my partner's MC gives her a puzzled look, "Yeah, she's familiar with that look. She gets it a lot," and then, "She knows she's screwed this up and when you say that she's going to breathe a sigh of relief."

3. I'm not a beginner anymore. There's no excuse for me to be sitting on these writing talents of mine and not using them. Plus, I have a really great story and it deserves to be a published book- or at the very least, to be finished.

Kick in the pants? Accomplished. Time to get back to work.

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