Tonight for the second time in as many writing workshops, I introduced myself to someone I had already met.
I walked into the room, smiled and said, “Hi, I’m Heather.”
The woman looked at me a bit strangely, I realize in retrospect, but told me her name.
I responded, “Nice to meet you.”
Later, when I was describing my work in progress, the woman made a comment like “I remember those characters” or “Oh yeah, Daniel” and I realized I had taken a workshop with her before.
And immediately felt like an idiot.
I don’t know why I keep doing that. I’m not usually bad with faces or names.
Maybe I’m more focused on the writing than the writers so I don’t remember what they look like?
Or maybe I’m so focused on my own writing that I barely register that there are other people in the room.
I hope I’m not that self-absorbed.
I know I’m not so self-absorbed that I don’t listen when they are reading because I really enjoy that aspect of the workshops.
People put a lot of themselves into their writing and it’s clearly pronounced when they read it aloud.
One gentleman who has been in every workshop I’ve taken (I’ve only introduced myself to him once though) is writing about his own life and hearing the stories in his voice, with his inflection and his turn of phrase, adds a priceless dimension to already entertaining writing.
What excited me most about tonight’s workshop, however, was some great advice I received from the facilitator.
This is the same woman who said to me what seems like ages ago, “Just keep writing scenes and don’t worry about how they come together. That will just happen naturally.”
So I continued writing scenes.
Then when I said I was struggling because I couldn’t see where the scenes were going, she suggested laying all the scenes out and seeing if they naturally fall into some sort of “narrative arc.”
Well, that just sounded daunting.
First printing out all the scenes and then having space to spread them all out. Not to mention juggling pages and pages into a narrative arc, whatever that is.
So I wrote a few more scenes, or I should say forced out a few more scenes, and my productivity dried up.
Tonight I asked the facilitator about it. Actually, I asked if I could pay for a one-on-one coaching session.
She said, “Did you write out the purpose of each scene on a card and try putting them in order?”
You mean I don’t have to waste half a ream of paper printing everything out? I can make cliff notes? Brilliant!
This idea feels achievable, beneficial and, as an added bonus, may necessitate a trip to the office supply store.
Plus it will really help me highlight the point of each scene and identify which scenes don’t have a point.
Now I’m energized to work on my novel again.
I knew I loved writing workshops.