Okay, not really, but it feels like it. Today is my fourth outing to the Novel Writing Workshop run by the Leicester Writing School and Writing East Midlands. Rod Duncan is taking the course this term and I am grouped with a small cluster of talented individuals all with the same goal in mind; to write a novel.
I’m so pleased to be going; it was a little treat to myself. Spend some money and learn some new skills to better my writing and take me closer to my goal of publication. So far, so good. I’m picking up tips left, right and centre, reinforcing what I’ve learned through other channels – mainly you fine bloggers out there! – and exposing myself to the writing of my peers.
I love this group. I haven’t been able to return to the Phoenix Writers with any sort of regularity, but the push is there with this class, mainly because I’ve paid for it. The experience is very different too and I look forward to the point that I can regularly attend both. I like to think that as well as getting plenty of help for myself, my words can offer help to others.
One thing I find that is certainly improving is my critiquing ear. I used to find it incredibly difficult to listen to a piece of writing with a mind to critique it. These days, though I still prefer to see the words before me in black and white, the way I listen to words has changed considerably. I pick up repetition, clunky sentence structure, tense and tone. Things that not long ago would have flown straight over my head. I like to think that as this improves, my ability to spot it in my own writing is also getting better. Since that is what we all strive for – constant improvement – I’m really pleased to say that I can see it happening.
I’ve read portions of SORB to the group and feedback has been very positive. I’m pleased to say that some character changes that I’ve introduced have worked rather well and in some cases too well. Some comparison, to a well known vamp loving damsel in distress, who shall remain nameless, means that I need to do a bit of fine tuning, but its nothing that will stop me meeting the deadline for HarperVoyager. Its all coming together now. With the weekend behind me and a good chunk of the work done insofar as major changes, now I’m applying the grammatical and spelling changes that came up from various readings.
Do you guys take any writing courses? Or attend any workshops? I know lots of you attend conventions, but are there any regular groups you visit to help you with your writing? What sort of things do you take away from working in/with a group?