First Group Meeting
Our new (to me) book club met last night. I found it interesting that we had all read the same thing and all had different takes on it. I also now (sort of ) understand why so many authors explain so much, or talk down to us as I usually call it. That type of writing always makes me feel like the author has assumed that we’re all too stupid to understand what’s happening.
At least two of the writers in attendance last night made suggestions/asked questions about passages written by another that I had no problem with. Some of the things they had an issue with were technical – things that not everyone would pick up on. But some of the writing in question made perfect sense (the cues to me were obvious) or they left me with a question that I assumed would be answered in the near future – we were only reading the first two chapters. That’s part of a good story – the build up. Leave it to me, the reader, to collect the cues and then reward me with the ‘aha’ moment’ where I can think, “I knew it!” or even, “What? Oh, man you got me!”.
Either way, it’s about engaging your reader. I may not be a great writer, but I know great writing. I grew up reading – books were my friends – and as I get older, I’m still reading a lot of the same authors. Why? Because we all want to know how the story ends – when it’s the same characters we get to know them and want to know what they’re up to these days. But the main reason I unquestioningly buy the latest book by a favorite author is that I appreciate their writing style (and I’m pretty sure I want to be just like them when I grow up!).
Now that I’ve (foolishly?) committed to submitting something to be read for the next meeting, I’m wondering about the critique and how to know who to listen to and who to thank and ignore. Will I feel too strongly about this yet unwritten piece to accept whatever is said about it? Or will I throw it to the wolves as a sacrifice to the writing gods? Impossible to know, but still something to think about because there were only five of us last night and I quickly saw that we don’t all agree on writing style.
So what will I write for submission? I am not sure. It makes sense for me to look at what I’ve already produced, primarily previous blog posts, to see if there’s anything there worth fleshing out. If there is, I’ll be a little more comfortable sharing it. Or I may just knock fear on its ass and write something new. I’ve barely begun the book and almost everything I write has a place in it. As I typed this I made the decision to also incorporate my poetry into the ONE book. Nice. It feels right. It’s still a little, well, a lot scary to think about writing an ENTIRE book, but one is less so than three.