Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Plot Thickens .....

My RWA Conference this year was a blast due in no small part to my traveling companions - Tammy Lynn and Jeanie Therklesen. We really had a great time and laughed so much my face still hurts.

Our trip home started at 5:30 AM Alabama time after entirely too little sleep the night before because of the GH/Rita celebrations. On the way home, however, we turned what could have been a miserable ride into a thirteen or so hour plotting session. We filled several pages of a legal pad FULL of great ideas for our WIPs and even some future WIPs. We bounced ideas off each other, wrangled and mangled them and took lots of notes.

Writing can often be a very solitary endeavor. You sit alone at a computer and talk to people who aren't really there and immerse yourself in a world that only exists in your head. Inviting others in to wander around for a bit can be a bit unnerving unless they are the kind of people who know how to visit.

My critique partner, Erin, and I spend a lot of time brainstorming. Especially when we write ourselves into a corner or try to shoot holes in our stories before an agent, editor or contest judge can. We stand a much better chance of nabbing our target audience if we see the holes and then fix them. It can be a very rowdy process. Sometimes we don't agree. But the best thing about our relationship as critique partners is that we trust each other enough to be BRUTALLY honest and that we care enough about each other's work to want it to be the best it can be.

How about you? Do you like plotting alone or do you sometimes want the feedback of another person? Is that person usually another writer? a loved one? a teacher? How do you manage to take thoughts or advice that CAN sting and make really good use of it?

5 comments:

Kate Diamond said...

I am a social being. I love writing with others. I used to start a writing group in every town I moved to, as a way of meeting people. It wasn't about critiquing. It was about socializing, doing writing exercises, and getting into the habit of writing regularly.

I miss that. It might be time to get back in gear and start another writing group!

Karen Beeching said...

Sounds like a fun, productive time! I love both! My husband will tell you I love to think and plot out loud, probably too much. :)

He humors me.

Christine said...

I love writing groups where plotting occurs. But I haven't recaptured the original feeling yet... I will... I still call my first CPs for brainstorming. I just wish they lived closer!

Cari Hislop said...

Group writing or brain storming would never work for me, but speaking of critiquers...my husband has recently taken it upon himself to become my editor (he doesn't read romance novels and I didn't suggest that he torture himself) but he decided "to help" so he jumped in the deep end. It's been good. It's weird to know he's meeting my brain children and forming opinions of them.
He's given me a brutally honest reader's point of view which is already helping me. I'll definately end up with a better book at the end because of him, but my favorite part is when I ask him if a story made him laugh and he reluctatly admits that it did.

M.V.Freeman said...

Honestly, I have one critique partner I totally trust, who can be brutally honest, and really pulls the best out of me as a writer.

I'm fairly solitary as a writer, but I am learning slowly, to relax a bit and share. I do like the energy of getting with a group and plotting...but it sure tires me out!!!