Writing Retreats

Dilemma. Need solutions. Isn’t that the key question to most everything? 🙂 Headhache

My writing muse is firmly stuck in dozing mode. Normally, this is frustrating enough. Yet a few other writing friends of mine are also stuck. In either initial first draft, edits, or the dreaded (but interesting problem) of second-book-curse-oritis.

Aha! Solution: writing retreat. The last one was a great cure to kicking the muse in gear. One can only assume another writing retreat will do the same. Yay! Problem solved.

Oh. Wait. Another dilemma. Finances are critically low. Writing retreats involve overnight stays, which means hotel rates, food, even travel costs depending on how far it is. And my family doesn’t have that luxury right now. Probably not for another 2 or 3 months.

Ok. So we’ll need to condense our ‘retreat’ into a full day. No overnight stays. But where can we go where we’ll be out of the way, free from distraction, and free to brainstorm with each other in peace?  Somewhere that doesn’t cost much, if anything.

I’d hate to take up an entire section of a coffee house for a whole day. I’m sure we’d be kicked out after 2 or 3 hours. Outdoors is too unpredictable – weather, visitors, etc. Hm.

Thoughts anyone?

Researching Villains

Disney Villain Swap

Part of my revisions for my manuscript involve doing more research on villains. Yes, apparently the villain in my novel isn’t developed enough, according to my critique partners, and they’re right.

So I’ve dug around on the internet to find info on the inner minds and psyche’s of our nation’s more recent sicko’s, including reading their personal blogs and websites. (I will leave the specific names of my research subjects out so I don’t get myself into too much trouble on here, but they’ve been plastered all over the national news).

Let me tell ya, if you ever need to do some research to find out how these villains’ minds work, just read their blogs or bio pages. Extremely warped!

Most of them try to excuse their ‘not that bad’ behavior on child hood nightmares, such as bad parents, abusive siblings, traumatic toddler stories, and even violent spouses, and on, and on, and on. There’s always an excuse, never accepting responsibility for their actions and blaming the entire scenario on someone else. And on every single page, they always show how great they are and how much people love them (and so should you, why don’t you love them? You must be crazy, because everyone else does). And the entire situation isn’t as bad as you think.

Really enlightening and scary at the same time!

These aren’t your serial killers, rapists, or sociopaths that you see depicted on old Law & Order episodes. These were supposedly normal, everyday people who ‘snapped.’ Some of them were parents, some of them were spouses, most of them were well-educated. Yet they were able to perform the most heinous acts, and still (to this very day) think there was nothing wrong with how they reacted. If their scenarios were played out again, they wouldn’t have changed their actions. The entire thing is freakin’ scary!

Be careful with your research, because you may not want to leave the house afterwards!

 

Thick Skin For Hire

Every writer, particularly published authors, know that the publishing industry requires a thick skin for anyone who dares enter their dominion.

I thought I had a fairly thick skin before I even started querying my first manuscript.

*insert cackle laughter here*

Now, I know I don’t have nearly as thick of skin as I should, but I definitely have grown a few dragon scales to protect my vulnerable side over the last two years.

I think joining a kick-as* critique group has definitely helped. Also following editors and agents blogs/twitter/facebook and reading their responses to people’s queries also has helped.

I received my first round of major revision suggestions from my critique partners this past weekend and have let their thoughts percolate in my brain. I’m so glad I’ve grown thicker skin. Because now, I actually want that kind of advice. I need to know where they got lost in the story, what didn’t work for them, and realize its not that I suck and should give up writing. They are not flaws in my personality and I’ve dared exposed the weak points in my inner psyche. It’s areas of the story and characters in which I need to fix.

Or perhaps we’re thinking of it backwards. It’s not that people need to grow thicker skin, or regenerate thicker bone. It’s that we need to shed the vulnerable self-conscious layer of invisible shields we humans use as a self-defense mechanisms.

Get rid of your insecurities. Get rid of ridiculous thoughts that whatever suggestions others say is a ding in your personality, or interpretation of ‘they don’t like me.’

Shed everything down the most base level, where we can actually improve on the inconsistencies in our writing. That’s when we’ll notice the biggest difference on our writing style/skills.

So throw your skin out the window and let the air rejuvenate your writing. Completely open yourself up to improvement.

All right, manuscript. Get ready for rejuvenation. Dive in!