2017 Writing Year in Review


I started out the year saying that it was going to be a year of craft.

Then I broke my foot in February and was pretty much offline until May.  I didn’t realize how exhausting a broken bone could be.  So most of the Year of Craft came after May.  I started out the thing year saying there would be four workshops.

There were six.  It’s like the more I learned, the more it snowballed, and the more I needed to learn.  The workshops can be found over here if anyone is interested.

Speed

This was an interesting workshop.  It’s not what the title implies, though.  Everyone always thinks speed writing is somehow racing through the story at a break-neck speed.  This helps figure out what your range is through actual writing.  Plus writing fears get discussed.  The fears themselves can be insidious because they don’t always look like fears.

How to Edit Your Own Work

Writers tend to use edit and revise interchangeably, though they are two different techniques.  I thought this would fit into the Edit category, but it didn’t quite do that.  It was the one workshop of the year that didn’t give me as much benefit as I thought (I wished I used my money for a different one).  If it had popped up three years ago, it might have been a different thing because I was in a different place.

Writing Science Fiction

This was a pretty cool workshop.  It talked about how to do the world building for science fiction in some very simple ways.  I honestly wish I’d had something like this long ago.  Everyone always seems to talk about world building by saying you need a three ring binder and an extensive list of question.  Huge, huge turn off for me, so much so that I didn’t touch speculative fiction for years.

Depth 3 Research Workshop

This was an important workshop for me, because I hated research.  My only exposure outside of school were writers who loved research and would happily do it instead of writing.  Other writers approached it from a position of fear, like someone was going to catch them out because they got the size of a grate in Rome wrong.  Until this workshop, I’d given up any chance of writing fiction in a historical setting because I thought I could never aspire to what I was hearing from other writers.  Now I’m thinking of some mystery stories set in Hollywood in the 1940s.  How cool is that?

Novel Structure Workshop

Also a very important workshop for me.  One of my indie goals is to write longer fiction.  But for years, I struggled to get my novels to, well, novel-length. I hit the problem the way I usually do (and need to break this habit), with a battering ram.  And could not figure out what I was doing wrong!

Common writing advice just said use an outline or a three act structure, like it was a magic fix.  Well, I’m a pantser, and trying those two things left me with a story so badly broken that I thought I would have to stick with only writing short stories.  No one discussed in this way, in a way that made it easy to understand.  I’m probably going to spend the next year digesting what I learned because it was an enormous, high-level topic.

Carving Out Time for Your Writing

This was a temporarily free lecture that popped up in December.  I’d already had seen it, but it had been three years at least.  Time for a relook.  I realized after watching it that work had shifted around so much that what I was doing for my writing needed a reset.  It sort of crept up on me and I didn’t realize it.

The lecture is still also free until January 18, I believe, so grab it now.

I’m going into the new year with Teams in Fiction and then Secondary Plots  I also have Plotting in Depth, Writing a Series, and Character Voice and Setting.  Whew!

 

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