Sunday, August 30, 2009

Writing and Critique Group

Writing is my life right now. Meeting with the critique group every two weeks helps me to establish a deadline. We made an agreement to submit the work at the current meeting to be critiqued at the next meeting. For example, while we talk about our critiques on Chapter 2 at the group (because we have all taken them home and critiqued them), we also have Chapter 3 for the group to take home and do their critiques. This all gives us plenty of time to critique and do our own writing. For the most part, this has been working well. However, we are all open and flexible to this rule for when a member cannot provide their piece at the meeting.

Sometimes I write like crazy, other times I make excuses about low motivation. The truth is that I like this system of writing a lot and then taking a day or two off. It seems to work for me, especially since I am revising right now. I have draft one completed of my novel, but it feels very disconnected and weak when it comes to characterization. This revision, along with the help of my critique cohorts, is bringing some depth to my characters and the story itself.

In my last entry, I touched upon my thirty-year class reunion. It is only a week away on September 5. I am excited, but also a little nervous. While I have gotten in touch with some classmates via Facebook, the truth is that I do not remember a whole lot from high school. I remember many of my classmates, especially those I went to grade school and high school with, but others I would not recognize if I passed them on the street. Thirty years is a long time! However, I find the class reunion to be a great opportunity to make some new friends and catch up on what others have been doing, and to share myself as well!

Well, time to write on my novel. Happy writing all!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Last week was the first time in my life that I have been home sick for an entire five days. In fact, I rarely get sick other than a cold or flu. Monday morning, I woke, fed the cats and dressed to go on my usual run. I pushed myself out the door, just as I had been doing for the last couple of weeks. Well, about halfway through my run, I started getting nauseated and ran out of energy. I ended up walking the rest of the way home. By 8:30, I was still feeling nauseated and not very well and called in ill to work. To make a long story short, I had a fever and nausea for most of the week, had no appetite whatsoever and slept a lot. On Tuesday, the doctor told me to try to fight off whatever it was with my own resources, but to pick up antibiotics if I was not remarkably better toward the end of the week. About six hours after taking my first dose of antibiotics on Thursday, I finally began to feel better. Now, I am not 100%, but I am on the mend.

During the week, writing was the last thing on my mind. I seriously thought I was going to die. Well, on Friday night, I could not get to sleep- I tossed and turned, read, had a small bowl of cereal. Nothing would lead me into that sweet slumber. Finally, I brought my laptop into my room and wrote on my novel. Once I let my characters come out and live their lives, I was finally able to get to sleep.

Now that I have made changed in the plot of my story, it is moving along quite well. My critique group likes it thus far. I no longer feel like I am trying to force the story, but that the story is now coming together on its own. My job is to make sure I sit down and write, and to write to the best of my ability. All I can say is that it is coming along.

The other thing on my plate is my upcoming class reunion. Thirty years. I told the reunion head that I would love to help find missing students. To be honest, I could not recall how many kids I graduated with and expected there might be 15 or 20 missing students. Well, there was around one hundred! (I now know our graduating class must have been over 200!) I did not know how I was going to do this, but I truly believe where there is a will, there is a way. The glass is always half full in any given circumstance. Finally, I discovered USSearch, an extensive public records database, was offering a seven-day free trial. I found addresses for 88 missing kids! Some addresses I'm sure of, others are as sure as I can get right now.

I feel well and blessed today. Happy writing all!

To Go Oxford....or Not

Do you use the Oxford comma or do you omit it? Some grammar sages say to either keep it or omit it, unless omitting the Oxford comma will...