Ever since I started doing nano, I have discovered that I suddenly have a life. Where I was once a hermit who stayed in my room pretty much 95% of of the time, I now find myself going out more days than staying in. Seeing my friends, going to movies, I even am part of a poker night. (Don't get worried, it's a $2 buy in. Any more than that and I would probably be backing away from the table, shaking my head.). I'm also part of a critique group, which has been awesome in helping me to see my work in a new light.
Normally the way our critique group works is that we each send in a chapter (or two) of our current novel, and two people critique it. (There are six people in our group, but we've broken up into two groups of three, because critiquing five selections would just take far too much time.) We get together every two weeks to deliver the critiques to each other, and (at least I find) they help us to fix that chapter, or edit the next chapter. Hell, it even helps us to fix our work as we're writing it. Since I've started critique group, even my first drafts are getting better. I'm more aware of my word choice, and description (though I still have a long way to go with that last one)
This month, though, we decided to try something a little different. I'm not entirely sure if we'll ever do it again, as this is just an experiment (and I don't know about everyone else, but there's just so much to do this week!)
Anyway, on Monday we're going to have our first ever 'writing night'. Unlike our nano meets, where we just get together and work on our own individual manuscripts, for this writing night an assignment (or two) were sent out. Each assignment had their own set of rules that we had to follow, including no beta readers, and they had to be done for Monday, when we're going to read them aloud to the group. Of course critiques will come in when the rest of the group weighs in on on what we've been working on all week.
My first confession: I'm the one who created the assignments, and set the rules.
On Sunday night I was frantically looking through pictures trying to find pictures, and reading through books to find writing prompts. Despite what you may think, I definitely didn't have an advantage on everyone else. I didn't look for the pictures or prompts ahead of time, as it was all done the night before I had to send it out. But I did get it out.
My second confession: I apparently don't want to follow the rules.
Which is terrible, because I wrote the bloody rules. Literally. I keep wanting to get one of my coworkers to read it for me. Then I have to remind myself that I can't. I even managed to write my first story about 200 words over the limit, meaning I now have to go back and somehow edit 200 words out of the bloody thing. Something that I am dreading doing, because I always hate cutting words out of my stories. I wrote it that way for a reason, and now I have to figure out which parts aren't actually necessary. While I'm doing it, I have to actually think about what my critique group would say.
Needless to say, I'm nervous. At one point in my life, I actually thought that I would never be able to write a novel. I proved myself wrong on that one. I've now written nine novels, with another one in the brainstorming stage, and two more collaborations I'm trying to work through. Now, though, I find it hard to put my entire thought process into a three thousand words. I can't even write a stand alone novel, for crying out loud. I think in series! Not short stories.
As this was my idea, however, I can't let myself not put my all into it. I got through the first draft of this story, and I actually think that this story was pretty good. I may change my mind when I go back and edit, but for now, I actually like this story. And I firmly believe that my critique group is the reason this story is so good.
Now I just need to get one more story done before Monday. Hopefully this one wont go over the word limit!