Monday, June 13, 2011
Writing Group - Rug Pulled Out From Under You
When someone says that they've had the rug pulled out from under them, they generally mean that someone has done something, some mean or tricky thing, that has put them off their footing. They feel betrayed by this literal upset.
I don't feel betrayed at all, though, I look down and the rug that was there is gone.
I met with my Bucks County Writers Group compatriots on Saturday. When I tell you that there's not much else (except maybe a new season of True Blood, or the last Harry Potter movie) that I look forward to as much as our monthly meetings, I'm not exaggerating. I love talking shop with them, hearing their opinions and awesome (so insightful) pointers for my book. I love talking about their submissions and getting into the nitty gritty of meaning and craft.
But this Saturday I got told things I didn't know, things that came so out of left field that the rug-pulling practically gave me whip lash. You know when the thing you think you're doing is not the thing that can actually be experienced by the reader? Yup, that's what happened to me.
One big surprise is that I'm not done writing. I seem to be one of those rare writers who actually has to add some fat in instead of trimming it out. I've left too much to the imagination. I've shown too much and need to tell more.
But the biggest bombshell came from Greg, who said he could stop where he's reading right now (about 250 pages) and it would make sense for him for it to be the end of the first book. That this book could be split into two books. Bleeeewww my mind. He also said that a section that I have taking place in four chapters, over a period of eight weeks, could be expanded. Like to take up a whole year. They he got his crazy on and said, "Well, it's an alternate world, why do their seasons have to be like ours?"
I know I looked like a truck hit me, and I think they were a little panicked at my slack-jawed expression. It's not that they're wrong, it's just that there's so much to think about, sort through. I admit, I'm enough of a control freak that this bothers me. I thought I was 'done.' What's more, I thought I was close to 'really done.' I like neat and I like finished. This felt like the end of my web was unwinding.
Trying really hard not to be negative and look at all this as a big positive (and it was, they're insights for the most part, are dead on). Trying not to panic and just absorb, percolate. Trying.
What's the biggest 'upset' you've gotten from writing feedback? How did you handle it?