The nature of writing is solitary. Writers don’t often work in teams, or by comittee, and even those who work with a writing group still have to do the work sitting at a desk, alone. And with only one set of eyes looking, a lot of things can slip by.
Personally, I don’t like writing groups. It’s too many cooks in the pot, and reading other people’s work-in-progress is distracting. I have asked other people to read my work just to get a raw feeling from them, or just as a second look before I send out a manuscript. Sometimes it’s hard to catch all the grammatical errors in your own work, and the computer’s grammar check isn’t 100%. But I’ve never asked anyone for a substantive read of my work until doing the F1rst Pages writer’s bootcamp. Maybe I never felt that I needed it before. I always felt that I had a good bead on what I was writing, and could see pretty clearly where it was going. But with the story I’m working on now, I’m just stuck. So having a second eye, and a professional one at that is extrememly helpful and quite enlightening.
Harold got back to me last week with his impressions of what I’d written so far. It still has a long way to go. The message isn’t quite clear yet. And after a bit of conversation, he decided to throw out the word “epic.” Holy Jeevis. While I know he isn’t talking about a Lord of the Rings kind of epic, it’s still a daunting thing to look at what I want to do on a much grander scale. I’m used to doing small stories. I like small stories. They’re sweet. Plus they’re not as much work as an EPIC. Obviously Harold does not realize the level of laziness I aspire to.
With that in mind, I started by pruning back on what I have already. If I’m launching into a longer story, I can’t dilly-dally on minutae. I’ll lose the audience before the action kicks into high gear. AND I have to think about a more expansive middle with more deeply carved out characters.
I have so much work to do.