It’s the new year for me. I actually run two years per calendar year, one from May to November, and one from November to May. This is because of two big writing events: NaNoWriMo (November) and the Storymakers Writing Conference.
Storymakers is a terrific blend of specific and general, beginner and intermediate (and even expert, this year). The Thursday sessions–I’m sitting in one right now–are individual, small-group instruction on manuscripts. They’ve been supremely helpful to me over the years. This year I brought a novel I haven’t done any work on in five years (according to the date stamp on my hard drive). I thought I’d throw it out, frankly (metaphorically speaking–I would NEVER throw out a novel), but my father, who loves books in the same way Anton Ego loves food, told me it was one of the best books he’s read in ten years.
[ASIDE: He also told me that he mentioned that to me five years ago. He did not. That’s something I would remember. Wouldn’t anyone?]
But I dusted it off and brought it, hoping that this workshop would figure out where the places were that kept it from being publishable. Faint hope, but at least I’d be moving forward in some way.
My hopes were exceeded, as they really have always been. Emily R King, a terrific writer, was my mentor in the last session where we worked on character and plot. I always thought the problem with this novel was plot–it’s a multi-protagonist religious romantic thriller, and it was complex to write–but the critique group was unanimous that the plot was fine. They were all in on it. The problem was character, but not all of the characters, just one of the protagonists. She wasn’t believable.
In half an hour, they totally remade her into someone far more interesting, and I think I can put the rest of it together and actually make the book work. As usual, Storymakers comes through. I’m so happy to have been able to be here, and so pleased that once again the old year comes to a grand conclusion.
On to the new one.
In which I have to find time to make the revisions. To this novel and three others. I have no earthly idea how to find that time. Having a whole new year ahead of me doesn’t help one bit.