I hope everyone had a great holiday season. And, if you are like us here in Indianapolis during the last few days, you have been looking for stray dogs to hook to your car so you can get around in this deep snow. Mother Nature has a way of slapping you around when you feel complacent about things.
Well, let’s finally get back to The Zealot. To recap, I had been away for a year and just come back. I would never run away again from this point on. The writer’s group would be my home from that point forward with no interruptions. I had developed my thick skin and while words would sting and some still do from time to time, they would be treated as only words from people who care about my work and the end result. That is what I focused on.
When I came back to the group, I remember I stayed out of submitting for a period of time, from embarrassment and lack of confidence from being away. I just wasn’t too sure of myself at that point and whether I should be there other than for myself to finish my own dream. As far as the quality of the work, I was sure at that point it was terrible. I decided to get back into things slowly. The members of the group had changed some, with all of us on the blog there at that point.
When I did start submitting again, probably after about 6 months or so, I was faced with my same old problems. One was my lead female, the reporter. I was very inconsistent in how I wrote her strength of character. She didn’t react predictably to situations as she should. Hard to explain here, but easy to see in the drafts. Simply put, I was not doing her justice.
Another problem, without giving too much away here is that she gets involved with one of the Detectives in the case. He is divorced and she has had a history of bad relationships. They hit if off quickly. The writer’s group thought they hit it off TOO quickly. I remember we went round and round about this. As a matter of fact, we have discussed this even recently. In this day when real couples “hook up” on a weekend and never see each other again, I questioned the group as to why they were worried about my characters getting together and falling for each other so fast? I got a blah, blah, blah, literary answer that had to do with tension in a story BS. Sorry, don’t buy it.
And here is the lesson for today. Just because there are people in the group with strong opinions, you don't have to follow their advice. It is your story. Most of the time they know what they are saying and they have a great point out of a problem, but for situations like mine above, where it is my characters, and I know in my heart how they feel and I can see them in my head how they look in each scene, well, you can’t talk me out of that, sorry. Besides, remember, I am out on the street each day and I see real life and I see these young people hooking up and then dropping each other with no feeling for each other the next day. I know how that contrasts with what I am after in my scenes. And yes, I know it is fast, but I think it can happen too. What the group did do for me was give me some suggestions to slow things down at the beginning, but to get them to where I wanted them at the end. They got what they wanted and I got what I wanted.
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