I’ve mentioned before that I’ve become part of a writing group that meets once per week at a bookstore/coffee shop. Sometimes we talk about writing concepts, or gossip about editors, or anything that comes to mind. However, we’re also there to bear down, plug in the headphones, and let our fingers fly over our keyboards as we try to squeeze a decent word count into 3 hours.
Some nights are productive and some not really. Most of the time the others (all published authors) are either editing their own stories or reviewing others. I’ve read a few of their works and part of me likes to think that my writing style and quality are on par with them, but to date I’ve yet to have a short story published. Granted, I’ve only started trying and I know it can be a long road before you finally get the nod from a publisher.
One thing I have learned from this group though, is for larger projects, it pays to be a little more pragmatic in how you approach it. Outlines, drafts, and even character/setting sketches are a good idea in order to maintain consistency, reduce tangents, and keep your story on track. Especially with more ambitious projects where you’re trying to weave several sub-plots together.
So last night, instead of just starting to write ‘A New Beginning’ the same way I started ‘Outcast,’ instead I took a step back and started framing things. Two new character sketches and a couple of chapter outlines later, and I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I know that as I progress with the novel that the world will still have some organic changes applied to it, but so long as I record them and remember to refer back to them, I’ve a feeling this next book will be infinitely better than its predecessor.
I’ll be sure to keep you all up to date here as I go along.
Until next time…