Only two more sessions to go in the Maass intensive seminar–that translates into another day and a half. I came to this thinking I’d take what I’d learned, add it to my editor’s revision notes, and have a completed manuscript by the end of the week–it’s not happening. 🙂 Mainly because I decided to change the book from present to past tense, so that’s been more time consuming than you would believe.
Plus, I think I work better at home, surrounded by all my “stuff.” Also, some of these techniques need a little time to simmer.
Have I learned new things? I think I’ve learned new ways of looking at old things. After writing so many novels (my WIP is my sixty-fifth), I think I have the basics down, but Maass has given me new ways of looking at things, and ways to go deeper. Which, after all, is what every novelist aims to do–to create deeper, more memorable characters.
If you’re reading this and you’re not able to take a full week out of your life and go to a seminar, the same material is in his book, WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL WORKBOOK. It has space for all the same exercises we did in class. The advantage of the class is that someone is standing over you waiting for you to do this exercise, plus if you have a question, you can get instant feedback.
LOL. This week I also attended my first ever critique group, and it was so much fun that I went twice more. I’ve never really felt the need for critique groups, though I’ve used a wonderful test reader for years, and have also used test readers from our Heavenly Daze reader list. I appreciate their help so much, but there’s something different when other experienced writers look at your work with a helpful eye (notice I didn’t use the word ‘critical.’) Helpful is a far better way to look at these things.
Well, time to get ready for class. Off to work!