Our small group/one-on-one Structure workshop with Dean is mostly over, except for lunch tomorrow. We had no assignment tonight, so Leslie and I crashed, snagging the DVD A Night at the Museum from the main building. It’s one of her favorite movies, and I greatly enjoyed it. We laughed and laughed… Ah, it felt good.
Leslie and I have been getting along smashingly, negotiating a small cabin (her bedroom’s basically the living room; mine has a groovy beaded curtain for a door) with aplomb and great humor. I’m sooooo glad that when Phae bailed last minute, I thought to ask Leslie if she’d be willing to share the cabin (I couldn’t have afforded this otherwise, and she was thrilled for the price break as well).
Truth be told, we weren’t incredibly stressed this week. Dean swiftly figured out that none of the six of us had problems with story structure¬—we had other things blocking us. Teaching us some tricks of structure—things to internalize, send back to the subconscious to work as we’re writing, oblivious to them—was intended to get us past those blocks.
Fact is, every writer hits the same block at about the same place. Some writers have figured out how to get through it, so they don’t notice it as much. Neil Gaiman hits it. Charles de Lint hits it. Dean hits it. Man oh man, do I hit it! But now I’m feeling like I know what to do when I hit it, rather than flailing around in the dark like a drunken monkey.
The worst thing for a writer is for someone else to get into the middle of their project. You should be alone in your office: shut the door on critics, naysayers, editors (during the initial creation, this is), market news, etc. So, for the purposes of this week, Dean forced us all to start novels we didn’t plan on. Novels we didn’t, in some cases, even want to work on. For me, it was to take an exercise we’d done last weekend, which involved writing up a shopping list, and start expanding it into a novel.
I knew I should’ve made my shopping list for a sex toy boutique instead of a grocery store…
So now I have this here begun novel. It’s at about 6000 words. It’s funny, potentially sexy, and hoo boy, the problems I’m throwing at my characters.
It’s also, unfortunately, about cooking (among other things), so I see a bunch of eps of Top Chef in my future… Did I mention it’s called Seasoned With Danger?
The proposal is written, even, so after I clean up a few small details, I can actually get it circulating. (I’ll finish blanketing the world with the Waking the Witch proposals first.)
This weekend is the Contracts and Copyright workshop, and I sorely need it. I know there isn’t enough time to get nearly as deep as we’d all like, but we’ll come out of it with a far better grounding. I brought a couple of really bad contracts I’d been offered and refused (after the publisher declined to negotiate), and Dean nearly fell out of his chair when he read them….
Anyway. I’ll post this tomorrow (which is already today). Right now I’m very sleepy, and we’re having breakfast with Chris York tomorrow at the Inn at Spanish Head—yum!