Sunday, January 9, 2011

Rewriting and The Search for Writing Partners

I went to my first writing group.  It was quite an experience which left me stirred up to a frenzy for several reasons.

It is clear to me that I am a new writer.  New here means "unpublished" or "just starting to write with any sort of discipline or consistency." Writing, like all things, requires consistent practice.  There needs to be a regular sharpening of skills to produce any kind of mastery, and writing requires several different sets of skills.

First, there is the development of the story itself.  This includes the theme, tone, the turn of phrase that carries us from the beginning of the story arc to the climax and through to the very end.  This is something that can be done reasonably well without too many rewrites (unless you are an absolutely abysmal writer). 

Then there is the packaging.  The rewriting is required to fine tune, to hone, to shine, and to reveal the glory of the story.  This is where final flourishes are added, redundancies are retracted, and word usage is perfected.  This is where you guarantee you have fully explained yourself and your piece's voice is true through and through.

Unfortunately I am more experienced in the production of the story rather than the craftsmanship.  That is, I need more experience in editing and rewriting than I do in producing a piece.  Writing, channeling inspiration - my muse - is quite easy for me.  I can write about almost anything when given the time and peace in which to do it.  Rewriting is something over which I stumble.  If I don't fix the thing right there and then, I am like not to get it corrected.  I rush through the piece to the end, feverishly transcribing the spirit to the page without much thought to the bitter details.  The details hold my devils.  I can't see them.  I lose the fact that I miss things, my myopia extends to my written words - so far.

That is where feedback is required.  Someone else needs to read the thing.  Someone's thoughts need to react to the stimulus of the words.  It is the best way.  I can reread and reread and never see the same thing that reveals itself to someone else. In this, my writing group is helpful because it requires me to practice analyzing other people's work, see how other people review other's work, and have my own critiqued once more. 

So I find myself at a loss.  I desperately need someone to read my work and give me regular feedback, but my writing group only meets every two weeks.  In addition, my group has limitations to how many pages can be submitted for critique by the group.  This results in me being unable to submit a whole or complete piece for review by the group.  In short, I would have to wait eons for my book to be critiqued, or at least a month to have an entire short story read and ripped to pieces.  This begs the question, what is a frantic and very prolific new writer meant to do? I must find a writing partner.  The great search begins.

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