This is it, no more screwing around, time to get down to work.
The holidays more of less over I settled in to read the manuscript excepts for the upcoming Rez. That’s what the old pros call the residency, the Rez. Like some native creative sequestered to a colony of useless land away from the rest of civilized humanity. Hmmm.
Anyway, I was only partly holding off on the reading because of the holidays. Another part of me was dreading the possibility that alongside the writing of my fellow students mine would suck gigantic turdmuffins. In the off chance that my fellow students are lurking out there and wondering if I’m going to name names or lob one-sided criticisms of their work, fear not. But since I created this blog to chronicle my adventures through the process of school and becoming a published writer I’m going to have to talk about some things. I just will have to keep things… measured.
Being a guy and writing kidlit seems to make me a minority. At least at school, because there’s a fairly even mix of male and female writers published out there. But of the ten of us in my workshop group only three of us are guys. This is only important in that one of the first things I noticed in giving the manuscripts a first careful read is that men and women write differently. It isn’t a question of our main character’s gender, it’s about what I’m calling our objective. Our stories deal with action our characters are moving, they’re sorting things out on the fly.
Like guys do.
The other stories, they deal with mood and feeling and thoughts and description. I don’t say these are bad things. I don’t mean to suggest the boys don’t include these things. I’m just saying this is the first thing that struck me.
Another thing that struck me were the stories that were really strong. Strong like they were pulled out of an already published book. Strong in voice, assured in step, and at least one story was super intense. I know my little tale is nowhere near as strong, and certainly nowhere near as intense. I have to keep reminding myself it’s a first draft, my way of preventing my brain from hyperventilating into insecurity. I have to push beyond the I-don’t-belong voice that keeps trying to derail me.
Then I get on the school bulletin board and poke around. I’m checking out my fellow writers, the ones in my workshop. I’m checking out ages, combing their posts for clues about the way they think and express themselves. I haven’t gone hunting to see if they’re running their mouths off in bogs like I am. Maybe I should.
While I’m there I’m catching little bits of inspiration, little sparks that shoot out of the collective bonfire and swirl around my head. Do I want to take a stab at that pissed-off teenage vampire story? Is it time to start hammering out an outline for the sci-fi adventure series? Should I go back to my other unfinished YA novel? What about that new idea I had today about retelling The Trojan Women (or is it Lysistrata?) set in violent rival high schools?
It’s happening, the writing muse is coming out of hibernation. This is a good thing, since I like to think of myself as a writer.
I’m feeling the need for a schedule, something to help keep me in focus. What I think I could really use is a time clock, something where I can punch-in and -out and keep track of the time I’m spending. Just until I get my routines established. A taskmaster. Yeah.
Down to brass tacks.