One of the things I always noticed when I was getting edumacated was there are two kinds of teachers. Those who have a plan of what to cover and stick to it like glue and those who have a plan but follow the organic flow of the class. I always liked the latter because you never know where the discussion might go when you just let people talk about ideas. I had a plan for last weekend’s workshop. And while things somewhat went according to plan the detours were really fun.
I started off talking about my feedback from my critique partner. It was pretty harsh. My book is just not that good. And even though I felt that the whole time I was writing it in Nano, finishing it off post Nano, and doing some edits to get it ready for first pass, it still kinda hurt. My critiquer knew within ten pages of finding the body who killed the victim. Ouch. What was the point of laying my pain open for everyone? Well, by asking more questions of my critiquer I found out one line in my novel gave it away for him. One line. One line I meant to be a little odd, to make the reader think just a pause, but apparently I overshot the mark. Then I turned them loose to talk to their partner and find those little extra nuggets of information that might help rework their novel.
Then we talked about what they had heard. I wanted to identify places where they felt overwhelmed by the criticism or had no idea how to address what had been presented to them. And what do you know, almost everyone felt really good about what they heard. Everyone had something to share though.
Which lead to a fabulous discussion of erotica versus romance as a genre and what might be contained in those type books to make it fall into one category or another. The librarian on duty actually came and closed the doors of the conference room on us. Oops. LOL.
Another writer was concerned about time line clarification. Her reader was confused when in the story he was. One suggestion to fix that was to read through how an author you admire handles that sort of notification subtly and then apply it to your novel.
I think if February Nano To Publish had a theme it would be that. If you don’t know how to do something but know an author who does it well in your opinion, read their works. Model the changes you need after them. I’m not talking about changing your style to match theirs, just using their toolbox when you discover your tools aren’t working for a particular problem.
If you’re following along at home, get to work on making the changes your first pass critiquer suggested to you. Ideally you want your novel ready to go to Beta readers in April. You have two whole months. Get to writing.