My First Visit to a Writer’s Group
It was awesome!
I wasn’t awesome. I was on my heels the whole time. It was the good kind of “on my heels”, like a Disney World ride. Writings were read aloud. I only wanted to test the waters so I didn’t bring anything to be read. Comments after each piece was read were insightful. My comments were riveting, words like, um, wull, I, ya know, basically. Dull is not the word. Sharp as a balloon would be somewhere in the galaxy. There is a reason for it. Being that it was my first visit I wanted to explain my Forrest Gump-ness, but I didn’t. Figured I’d be back and they’d understand later.
But now that I have your attention; critiquing grammar is not my deal…at the moment. I know, I know. That sounds bad to some writers, who love them there perty sentences. If you tell me I have a dangling participle I would check my zipper. A few years ago I figured out I’m a storyteller, not a grammar-Nazi. Trust me. I hold an editor’s skills up there with quantum physicists. When I first started my epic I slaved over every sentence. It took me three years. That book is still, in what I consider, rough draft form. I nearly killed my creative flame slaving over every word before I had the structure of the story in blueprint. I was pantsing (God made google so you can look up that word), searching for the expressions of theme and concept. I was trying to brainstorm with perfection. It’s impossible! I fixed it and started re-writing it. Then as noted here in , I had a revelation.
At the meeting, my mind was on, and had been on, for a long time…Story Structure. When they started talking about writer’s voice, and grammar, being drawn into the character, I was as dusty as a Palm Pilot. I groped for words. I wasn’t thinking about that, I was thinking about the hook, set-up, inciting incident, first plot point, the midpoint context shift, pinch points. The big picture.
I’m still in the big picture mode. I’ve written two rough drafts, multiple outlines, and three notebooks for my latest book, a prequel the epic mentioned above. So, if I go back to the particulars, work on five pages to be read at the meeting, it will be from material that may never be seen by the light of a Kindle.
I may share some other stuff instead, like poems or creative flash fiction. I don’t know. No matter what, I’ll go again. It was a wonderful experience. I enjoyed being around weird people like me.
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Allen G. Bagby
Allen G. Bagby
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