Friday, July 9
Updating your skills
Cool, I thought. Three brothers, three books. I’m in the money.
Um…until my sister said, why is the mother having a birthday in France?
D’oh…because their magnates! That’s what magnates do!
Seriously, if she can’t follow the plot, I’m not sending her more of my work.
Well, turns out there was no plot. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
I took my first online class shortly after, on how to write a romance novel by Lori Wilde. I was absolutely shocked. Twelve separate lessons on WRITING?? How hard can it be?
I soon found out. Plot, twists, turns, emotion, characters, goal, conflict, dialogue.
So not only did I have to actually WRITE the darn story, I had to remember ALL of this stuff WHILE writing it. Impossible.
Sure, I made it through the class, I got some pointers, I got a few – hey! That’s really good!
And I gotta tell you, when anyone tells a writer hey! That’s really good! They turn to mush. A secret grin. A nod of acknowledgement. An internal woohoo.
And so we plow on. Writing more, because we want someone to say it again. And again.
Eventually I started to think about plot. And try to come up with enough plot to make an entire story. Heroes can’t just jump on a plane and have a party in France because they WANT to – you have to know WHY they want to, what’s in it for them?
And so began my online class odyssey. And I soaked some parts up like a sponge. Dialogue, point of view, theme. Okay, I still don’t have theme, but I’m trying! Synopsis writing, pitching, how to write YA. I even took two of Margie Lawson’s classes. And you haven’t lived until you’ve taken one of her classes. Take the month off, seriously. It’s hard work.
And you know what? I meet other writers in these classes. Not just nobody’s like me, but in Margie’s class we got to talk to CJ Lyons, Tony Mcgee Causey and Allison Brennan. Why? Because you can always learn more. You can always hone your craft more. You can always be better.
When I was sixteen, I looked back at what a dweeb I was when I was fifteen. Hip huggers, bell bottoms, Bonnie Belle Doctor Pepper lip gloss caked on. Ugh. Thank goodness I grew out of that! When I was seventeen, I looked back at what a dweeb I was when I was sixteen. What was I thinking dating that moron? But I did love those platform shoes….
I look back now, on my first attempt at writing. It was only a year ago, and yet….I cringe. My writing was flat, my characters were having a ball but they had no plot to play in. I look back and I think of how much I’ve learned, how much I’ve grown.
And I know that a year from now, I’ll be writing for a blog and telling everyone how a year ago, I was writing all these books and I was such a dweeb! I can’t believe I put everyone in a hotel in France eating snails, because that’s the only French food I know! And it will go on and on and on like that throughout my entire life. A learning process.
What are you doing to improve your writing? Are you a craft book reader, an online class taker? How are you growing yourself as a writer?