Tuesday, June 28, 2016

It's Summer Challenge Time Again!

Well, I failed at my task to get a new book to read this past week. Which means I instead spent that time writing. So.... win?

After my post last week the day went very sideways, and so I didn't have the time I thought I would before Writing Group. In fact, I ended up running late, so I sprinted up to the room, and saw that it was already pretty filled. That was kind of exciting, to see the group blossom like this.

Anyway, it also meant that I didn't take the time before group to set up a library card finally, and then borrow the book I was intending. Since group goes until the library closes, I couldn't very well get everything sorted out after group. And, as it turns out, Tuesdays are the only days of the week the library is open longer than my new job, so unless I have another weekday off, Tuesdays are my only Library Days. So, care to guess what I'm going to squeeze in on my day off today?

As for Writing Group, I discovered that Keaton has been with the group since it started five years ago. I had a feeling she was a "charter member" as it were. I'm fairly certain at least DFL is too. It would make sense that the two of them feel most comfortable leading the group if that's true. Although, DFL has been leaning more towards leading the group than actually participating in it. It makes me concerned, and so I tried to encourage her to bring something to read next time. We'll see how that goes. But Keaton being with the group for five years means that she's also been working on her weird anthology concept of "these are all random writing prompts all about Buster Keaton, but there's no true connecting story" for about as long. I'm curious as to why she's stalling on calling the story complete, and either moving on or working on a different volume.

Doesn't matter. There were other people there. There was a new gentleman who didn't think to bring anything to read, so he just listened and commented. Works for us. He is in the same boat as me: likes about three different genres - including High Fantasy - but isn't sure which genre he wants to write in, and/or has no story concept to focus on. It will be interesting to see him grow; it might give me more of a direction myself.

Another "new" member - she was around years ago and finally decided to rejoin the group - was this timid older woman. She was adorable. Her writing was good. However, for some reason because she went with tribal names like Snowy Owl and Shining Moon, three of the people in the room thought she was talking about anthropomorphized animals, like wolves, and were thrown off when the characters turned out to be human. I didn't get that confusion. I just pictured the scene as two Inuits in the woods, so my only confusion was that this was supposed to be a post-apocalyptic story, and I was picturing it as before Alaska was invaded by Americans/Canadians/whomever. To each their own, I guess. If those three were confused, others could be too, and so I guess it was a good thing that she took note of the critique.

We had one last "new" member. Again, someone who had already been a member, but hasn't attended in about a year. She was a really spunky older woman. Her wiring must be different than everyone else, because she was coming up with questions no one else seemed to even imagine asking. They were both very good points, and very left-field points. Frankly, I would have ignored the left-field ones because they were so odd, but the good points were definitely ones to take to heart.

The one gentleman who had been reading us his spy novel - did I name him yet? For right now I'll go with his main character's name: Carson - continued on his story. We had a nice round table about it: critiques, praise, questions about the over-arching plot, etc.

A woman who started coming a few weeks back also read. She's writing personal essays, which are works of non-fiction written sort of similarly to an autobiography, but laser-focused on just one event. She already read about her walking the college track to help her get over her painful divorce. Last week she read about the loss of an old colleague, and how that put her own career goals into focus. Since her theme unintentionally, but beautifully done, is "journeys" or "moving forward" I think I'm calling her Traveler.

We had another round table with Traveler, and the Left-Field woman came up with her many questions. One was that she wanted to know more about the colleague's goals, and how they were parallel to Traveler's. I personally figured it was unneeded information; that it was implied enough that it didn't need to be stated, but maybe other readers do need it spelled out a bit more.

Red - who hasn't been dying her hair, so it's not so red; gonna need to rethink her name - has been in a writing funk, and so we discussed ways to get her back into the rhythm of things. I suggested Ali Luke's concept of starting with just 15 minutes a day. That seemed to really inspire her. "Oh, I can do that. I can take 15 minutes." Thank you, Ali, for inspiring yet another writer! We also suggested that maybe she needed to just work on random writing prompts for the time being; to give her mind a rest from her grim murder/decent-into-insanity drama. She seemed to respond to that idea too. So, we'll see if that means she'll bring something new in next week.

Last up was Sandy. Like all the other published authors I talk about here, no nickname for her to protect her privacy. How am I supposed to promote her and her book once I'm done reading it if I'm using a nickname for her? Anyway, she read a bit more of her draft of her book's sequel. It was more of an establishing scene to introduce all the characters. For me it was a bit lackluster because it was everyone gathering for a barbecue, plus it was confusing because you have David - the main character - Danny, I think - I can't recall, honestly - and his wife Dee. There were just too many D-Names being thrown at me, and I was having a hard time keeping straight who was doing or saying what, because none of them have distinctly different characterists/voices yet. At least, not displayed in that little segment. We'll have to see how she tweaks it, or if she even can. For all I know all these D-Names were already introduced in the first story.

Snuggled about half-way through everyone else was me. I read off "The Fallen Guardian Angel" to everyone. As per usual, most seemed to really enjoy it, with virtually no critiques. The most round table discussion we had was me informing people what fanfiction was, and giving a quick synopsis of "Xenocide" so everyone knew the events surrounding the story I read. I didn't think to explain the Jane character though, and that might have resulted in the only critique I received. Carson felt that Novinha's arguments were so raw and passionate, that you sided with her easily. Comparatively, he felt that Ender's arguments seemed hallow and non-genuine. This is FAR from the truth. While no one else at the table either countered or echoed Carson's critique, it is still one of the few I've ever received. So I wanted to take it to heart as much as possible.

Could I have written Ender completely out of character? Did I make him too meek while fighting back with Novinha? What made his arguments seem hallow? Was it the comments about him already hurting Novinha because of Jane? While not terribly too off, did Carson believe that Ender had an affair with Jane, and therefore his profession of love to Novinha seemed untrue? I didn't stop to think to ask Carson WHY he felt that way, I just nodded and jotted the critique down to think about. And now I'm not sure where I went wrong. It's possible he's the only one who felt that way. It's possible I wrote Ender completely wrong. It's possible that Ender's counterarguments only seem false because Carson doesn't understand who Jane is.

Point being, if any of my readers felt the same way about my latest one-shot, please respond either below or in the comments of the story itself to give me an idea of where I went wrong. Thank you.

Anyway, so that was last week's Writing Group. As I mentioned, life got chaotic, and I didn't have time to grab the book for this week. So, I ended up bringing my netbook to work in order to at least write during the painfully slow times.

I decided to take another crack at "Glitches." For those who may have missed it last week, I had decided to just go with "Glitches" as my working title for my X-Future Reboot story. I'll work out later if that title is already being used, and/or if it's catchy enough to draw people in for a first read.

Anyway, I converted my comic script into a movie one. Not a very good movie one, though, because it includes very few shots or transition marks. It's written more like a stage play, I guess, but it's too complicated to be able to perform on stage. Eh, either way, it's part prose narrative, part script. I figured it was the easiest way to read it aloud to the Writing Group without them being overly confused; hopefully. So it's not written as a proper script, so what? It's not supposed to be a screenplay anyway. I figured, write it out as this weird novel-script hybrid, and then once everything is figured out and talked through in the Writing Group, I can properly convert it back into a comic script.

I just need to figure out where the heck to post it so I can share it with you guys. I don't know if I want to share the WIP though, that's the thing. So, I may just talk about my progress more here, instead of actually sharing something from it each week.

To really try to get my butt in gear about this whole thing, I looked towards Writers’ Huddle. I disappear. I come back. I disappear again. Well, Ali is again starting up the Summer Writing Challenge, and it began yesterday. Seems like a great time for my Grand Return yet again.

As per usual, I have no clue what I want to do for the challenge since I have no direction or focus like everyone else seems to have. So, I decided - for the time being - to go full throttle with "Glitches." I'm aiming to write three more pages for my weird prose-script hybrid thing each day. That way I'll always have something new to read from it for Writing Group each other week.

Granted, I couldn't read ALL that I had if I keep with the 3-a-day pace since that's 42 pages each meeting. The general rule of thumb is that each page of script is about a minute of screen time. That's not even including the time it takes to read the action going on. No way. Too much to read each meeting. I'd take up at least half the time! Still, it would mean I'd have a LOT of "backlogged" writing to read after the challenge concludes and I go back to being a bum about this whole writing thing, or I switch gears. Whichever.

Plus, I'll probably chump out on my days off in favor of cleaning, watching TV, and/or playing video games. PLUS, Spink has her wedding at the end of July, and so I'll probably get a bit overwhelmed with helping her finish organizing that. PLUS, I still have that reading challenge too. So, maybe I should drop that down to two pages a day so I can easily pick up the slack from my days off....

Anyway, that's my game plan for this week: get my July Book from the library to start reading, work on some semblance of a plot outline for "Glitches," and write 3 pages per day for the "script." It may not be something I can then post to share with you to read, but I can still talk about my progress, right?

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