Monday, February 23, 2009

The End?

I'm having a bit of a conundrum in my writing life. Having followed my proposal, I've come to "the end" of my plot. But, my word count is oh... 20,000 words shy of a real novel (80,000 words, we'll say.)

Normally, this sort of problem would put me in full tailspin mode. I'm trying, this time, however, to relax a bit. After all, I almost always add lots of words when I revise, and, because I wrote this book so fast (I'm trying to get three books written this year) it hasn't gone through it's usual process of revision through my writers' group.

For those of you who don't know, I'm in a writers' group called Wyrdsmiths. We have a blog, but our actual purpose is to critique each others' work. We meet twice a month in real-time/ real life (tm), on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at a coffee and wine bar in Saint Paul, Minnesota called "The Black Dog." We hand out our work ahead of time either in paper format (preferred) or electronic (last minute), and everyone comes prepared with written comments that we read out loud and then discuss. We've been meeting for over twelve years. And I love it.

I've had other authors ask me how I can stand to have people tell me what's wrong with my book, but I honestly can't imagine writing without knowing possible pitfalls BEFORE my editor sees my book. Right now, for instance, I'm really missing their help. I know that there is probably some muddiness in my heroine's emotional arc, but I'm too close to it to see it. Plus, there are probably moments I thought I "set up," but probably didn't. Hopefully, my fellow Wyrdsmiths will find some of these problems for me.

I'm curious. Do other people have writers' groups? If not, how do you cope when you run into problems like this?


Ann Aguirre said...

That's a cool tradition.

Unfortunately, there's no local writers group here. I do all my writerly socializing at RT and RWA. That has to hold me for the year.

As to my mss, I have a beta reader who looks at my books before I turn them in. She helps a lot.

Jess Granger said...

I don't know what I would do without Angie. *hugs* I wouldn't be published without her.


Erica said...

We have a really cool local chapter of RW Australia where I live, and it includes a critique group. Those girls are great -- and they're wonderfully impatient.

As in, 'Is it finished yet? Well, why not? When? Stop watching TV and get on with it.'

It's a great motivator to know that at least someone is eager to read your my ms :)

Shirley Damsgaard said...

My "fix" is to call my good bud, Joanna Campbell Slan (PAPER, SCISSORS, DEATH) and do a little whining!! (I've also been know to whine a bit to Angie...isn't that right, dear??? ;)) I'm like you Ann, the closest writers' group to me is forty miles away, so I honestly don't know what I'd do if I couldn't talk to Joanna or Angie. They both always have really good advice and just talking to them helps keep things in perspective for me.

Casey said...

I belong to a group that meets once a year. It's made up of writers, but it's not really a writers' group. It's more of a brainstorming group. We get together for a week (this January, it was in Sarasota) and each participant has two sessions in which to discuss any plots she likes. We kicked around ideas, find problems, fix them, come up with questions, solutions, possible ways our plots can go. It's a lot of work, but it's always worthwhile.

tate hallaway said...

I agree. In the absence of a good critique group, fellow writers are worth their weight in gold. :-)

Angie Fox said...

Awww...thanks, Jess! I wouldn't be published without you, either.

There are plenty of critique groups in St. Louis, but I haven't joined any of them simply because I work so well with Jess. We're both on the same type schedule. She's easy to talk with. She's smart in ways I can only hope to be some day. And she's a good friend.

For some, groups work better. For me, that one-on-one makes all the difference. I think each person just has to find what works best for them.