Okay, so I am working on an historical romance story that takes place in the old west. I have ideas for at least two more books, possibly three, to create a series.
I’m part of several writing groups that offer critiques or are strictly critique groups. Also, a couple of weeks ago I attended a writers’ conference where I had two appointments for one-on-one conferences with published authors to get input on part of my story. Of course, I have things I need to work on and am very grateful for the two writers who were kind enough to give me advice.
Being a visual learner, one of the writers, my friend, Mike Dellosso, gave me some great advice that he worded in a way that created a picture in my mind, which I know I will not forget and will be able to apply to my writing. You see, I am struggling with setting the scenes because I’ve been told not to write too much description. Therefore I had swung to the opposite extreme and wasn’t writing enough description. Mike told me to put myself in my character’s shoes and use my five senses and describe what my character is seeing, hearing, smelling, etc. as he walks down the street in that old, dusty western town. He also gave me some examples which made this advice come alive for me.
A few days after that, I shared a piece of this same story with the critique group I recently joined. I was extremely nervous and afraid of what might happen in this group. I was pleasantly surprised that there were many positive things said (One lady really likes my main character) and they also offered some great advice.
Therefore, on Thursday night when I met with my weekly writers’ group, I was feeling overwhelmed about how to go about sorting through all of the advice and applying the needed changes to my story. I just didn’t know where to begin. My friend, Laura, who just finished edits on her first novel had great words to help me. She suggested that I get rid of any advice that I didn’t believe was helpful, which I had already done. Then she said to go through the ones who offered the least amount of changes and work toward the one who offered the greatest amount of changes. She said that by the time I get to the one with the greatest amount of changes, I probably will be surprised to find that I’ve already taken care of many of those changes from things the others suggested. Ahh, thank you, Laura, you gave me a workable plan that I can handle.
I am so thankful to have met and made connections with writers who have gone before me who are willing to help me on my journey. As writers, we spend a lot of time alone working on our craft, but we need each other. We need the help and encouragement of others and then we need to pass that on to those who come behind us.
How about you? Who’s been helping you on your writing journey?