5 Things I Love About Workshopping My Fiction (Where I Regain the High Ground)

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So I don’t know what happened in yesterday’s post. I had a great working day. Coming off the great critique I got, I had worked on my editing and was doing good. Then when I come to the blog, suddenly I get all confessional, Catholic and depressive about reality. Suddenly I’m flagellating myself in front of the internet again. So instead of that today, because again I am having a great working day, I’m going to emphasize the fun I’m having in my editing process. 

“I’m workshopping and I love that…”

 

1. the work is improving. 

 

This is undeniable. My first draft is quickly distancing itself from the rough draft. This I have learned is a good thing. It is the proverbial bird leaving the nest and it is wonderful and terrifying. It is developing wings still, and there is still a lot of work to do before it takes off. 

2. I am getting better at editing.

 

So I have put years now into initial writing phase, but I am only like six months into learning how to edit. The analogy that has come to my mind is that writing is to taking pictures, as editing is to making a movie. At first my mind was resistant to the editing process, but as I have talked about already that had more to do with me than editing. 

3. Writer Friends!

 

Writing can be lonely isolating business. When I am in writing I am by myself, it is easy to get locked in my own perspective. So having someone read my story is still very new, different and exciting to me. It is a dream of mine to have a good set of those first readers who really believed in my project that can help me. I know to get that I have to be that person for someone else too though. You have to give to receive. 

I’m discovering just how much I enjoy working on other people’s fiction. I’m in the United States and I had always thought it would be cool to help the indigenous people of this land, in rhetoric and writing and all that sort of thing, and this week on scribophile.com I had the opportunity to read a chapter from a woman’s book and she is a Native American. That was really cool. Her story was awesome and full of knowledge and experiences from her life. She told me how when she writes she hears her Mother’s voice, helping her with her story. I love experiencing that and knowing that. 

You learn so much from trying to help other authors. It is weird how it is so much easier to see problems in other’s people manuscripts that you miss/ignore in your own. Working with other people’s works keeps you more honest, ironically. 

Not many people are wired to be writers so working with other minds like yours is special event, at least for me anyway. 

4. There’s a track to the goal!

 

So I have like 1/6th of my book edited, about four chapters. The rest of the way seems pretty daunting at this moment. My editing skills are getting stronger though and as the book comes into its final form, I imagine there will be a quickening, as I really figure it out. It is about making decisions, by rearranging the story over and over again, until it just sort of emerges. That sounds mystical and not necessarily like a clear track, maybe more a misty track, I guess, with a vague sense of a goal. 

No, tighten it up now, dammit. It really is one foot in front of the other. Long ways are travelled by small steps and all that? All who wander are not lost, maybe? You get the point. 

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5. I’m Spawning Self! 

I think art is about infecting the world with your essence. That the true pursuit in art to recreate a self which can be shared with others. You can sense when someone is open to that when they workshop your writing. You can sense when they have really gotten their hands in your mess and are genuinely want to help you along. This collaborative element can only exist when you share your project. That’s why early on I noted the reader is god . They are giving you their precious time and energy to help you figure it out. You have to be a student and humble yourself to your teacher and the world. 

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