Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Serendipitous Set-Back

The local writer's group met last night. Unfortunately, we didn't get to discuss Glass Houses. You can imagine my disappointment.

As you'd expect from ole Crotchety, I was also more than a little pissed. With the exception of the delightful Adrienne Wilder, nobody was able to finish reading my book in time for the meeting. Bummer.

I was also disappointed that the two writers most like me in terms of style and genre weren't able to attend. One is familiar with memoirs and the narrative style I use. The other is starting her own memoir. I value everyone's feedback but was especially looking forward to hearing their comments.

Once we got into discussing the other submissions, my anger and disappointment faded. Hearing what everyone had to say about the pieces we're critiquing is interesting. I'm learning a lot about writing good fiction.

We did spend a few minutes talking about Glass Houses. Some members asked about other memoirs to read to become more familiar with the genre. I didn't offer any suggestions. In my opinion, originality and good writing are what make a memoir interesting. A good read is a good read.

The feedback from those who had read part of the book was positive. They think the structure is fine. That's a huge relief. As I've said before, I wasn't in favor of a massive reorganization of the book.

The group typically works with manuscripts 5,000 words at a time--3,000 if there are a lot of submissions for one meeting. At just over 110,000 words, my manuscript is longer than most. Depending on the number of submissions per meeting, we're talking 22 to 35 meetings for a full critique.

In the final moments of the meeting we came up with a new and improved plan for workshopping Glass Houses. After everyone finishes reading the manuscript--probably a month or so from now--we'll select the sections most in need of work for discussion at future meetings. This will likely cut the number of meetings needed by half if not more.

Things always work out for the best. I need to remind myself of this truth whenever I start blowing a fuse. No matter how often I think otherwise, the world does not revolve around...

The Crotchety Old Man

1 comment:

MAFW said...

I've been thinking about joing a writer's group. I'm about 2 hours from Athens...I used to live in Pendergrass and work in Jefferson.

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