I went to a new workshop tonight, the Palm Harbor School of the Novel. It was their second monthly meeting. They have a couple of writers who have previously been published, so their perspective will be extremely valuable. We each had an opportunity to read five pages of our writing if we wished, and me being the approval-seeking whore that I am… I wished. I read the first scene of Chapter One, that being approximately five double-spaced pages of material. The feedback I got was generally good. Some of my research was questioned, which was fair. My writing was well-received, particularly my concise use of dialogue, which I appreciated. The best suggestion I received was something that at once surprised me and relieved me. I’m going back to the Prologue idea, but with just the two scenes of Chapter One being the Prologue. What is currently Chapter Two will be the new Chapter One. This will also introduce the central character in Chapter One, which is as it should be. Sorry about the changing of things (again), but that’s what happens during the draft stage of writing. It’s kinda like making sausage.
The Poll only received four votes, so I’m going to go with what I got. If it turns out that the majority actually feel differently, then I guess the majority should have submitted a vote. I did leave the voting open for a full week and an extra full day, so why I only received four votes I don’t know. But three of you voted to keep the same theme and one of you voted to change it. I have no way of knowing how any particular person voted and that’s the way I like it. So I’m going to go with the majority of those who voted and keep the same theme, though I will continue to look at ways I might be able to address the readability issue.
CHANGES COMING SOON!
But there are still going to be some changes, and as they are related to security, the sooner I can implement them, the better. Although it can’t be proven, there is very persuasive circumstantial evidence that suggests that television writers are data mining writing sites and blogs (just like this one) for story ideas. One person in one of my local workshops feels certain that her site has been mined several times as she has seen one particular show use several of her ideas including introducing a new storyline concept based largely on one of her ideas in particular which she posted only on her site. So, when she heard other writers were experiencing similar issues she stopped chalking it up to mere coincidence and has locked down her story content, removing it all from her blog.
I really don’t want to have to do that. I love the feedback, advice, and encouragement I get from everyone here, so after a great deal of thought I’ve figured out a compromise. Those of you who have posted comments on this site will by now have received a WordPress invitation in your email inboxes. Please accept the invitation and create a WordPress account. You don’t have to create a blog here if you don’t want to, but it will allow me to add you as a Contributor to this site as I can only add people who have WordPress accounts. Once I have you all added, I’ll lock down the site. From that point on it will only be accessible by the WordPress users I will have specifically granted access to. Anyone else who wants to access the site in the future will need to go through the same process (up to a maximum of 35 people). I apologize sincerely for the inconvenience, but it’s the only way I can think of to keep this going without risking some thief out there stealing my ideas and writing their own book based on my stuff.
Attended the bi-weekly Clearwater Writers’ Meetup tonight. One of the things we do is go around the group and read ten minutes’ worth of our writing for the other members of the group to critique. I read the first two scenes of the draft (now called Chapter 1) at the last meeting so tonight I began at Chapter 2. In the ten minutes I was allotted, I read the first two scenes and got about halfway through the third (and final) scene of the second chapter. What can I say about the feedback other than that it warmed my heart to hear my work so well-received by other writers. I dare not be so effusive as to show outwardly the depth of my appreciation and gratitude out of concern for generating embarrassment on both their part and mine, but inwardly I can scarcely contain the joy I feel when people enjoy my writing.
The story itself seems to be getting the most praise. Tonight’s reading revealed the vampires’ ability to assume the identities of specific people by consuming their blood and changing their shape to physically match a person using their blood as template. Everyone seemed to agree that it was a very unique twist on more traditional vampiric abilities. They did not see it coming and felt that I did a good job of revealing it. On a more technical note, cutting away from Zsaka at the moment she first becomes stuck in the tunnel to focus on the events taking place concurrently in the castle above her was also well-liked.
The encouragement I’m getting from everyone has been critical to my ability to continue writing. I really can’t express the amount of gratitude I feel toward every single one of you who are interested enough in my writing to follow it and cheer me on. If this book ever gets published it will be because of all of you; because you refused to allow me to quit. I hope it isn’t too premature to thank you for it now at the time when I am the lucky beneficiary of your generous praise and criticism. I also hope that by cheering your efforts to push me onward that you won’t stop doing so when I hit future rough patches.
So, now I’m going to take the momentum from tonight’s meeting and see if I can channel it into some words.
In case you’ve been wondering what’s going on and why I haven’t posted the next scene it’s because it still isn’t finished. I’ve written almost 1,000 words for it, but it’s going to be a long scene and it’s only about half-finished. What’s taking so long? Two things. First, the scene is a bit more complex than some of the others; and secondly, my sinuses have been killing me this week. A lot of you with environmental allergies already know this, but the oak pollen count is off the charts this year with some estimates as high as SIX TIMES the normal pollen bloom. I’m not normally susceptible to environmental allergies, but the pollen has me in a helluva fit this year. Not being all that familiar with environmental allergies I’ve tried a lot of things, from Claritin-D to menthol inhalers to homeopathic nasal sprays with varying degrees of success but no lasting, permanent relief. It’s hard to write a complex scene when your head feels like an overstuffed melon that’s been thrown against the wall a few times too many.
But I am pushing through it, writing a couple hundred words a day, on average. I hope to have it done by the end of the weekend.
Also, I won’t be able to attend the Largo/Seminole Writing Workshop tomorrow morning. Having been laid off last month (was it last month?) I have very limited funds for workshops and I’m eliminating all workshops that aren’t free (apart from the Treasure Island WordSmitten Workshop because it’s just too damned good and I just can’t not go to that one. My apologies to the IAAA.)