Happy Sunday Friends,
Remember when I talked about The Lands of Distraction?
Back then when I was lost in those lands for a while there were fruits on the trees that I couldn’t reach and the age-old sin of “thou shalt not covet” entered my spirit, mind, body and soul. I wanted to taste those fruits.
The first of the fruits were writing magazines which were always just above my reach financially and logistically. The free six month subscription I had to the Freelance Writers News had whetted my appetite but it always arrived here in Spain at the end of the month so the competitions covered were closing. I could ill afford to spend money on something that would be out of date on arrival.
The second fruit was writers groups, of which there don’t seem to be many here and certainly none as close to Malaga centre as I live.
The virtues of both these inaccessible fruits are regularly extolled on the Facebook creative writing support group to which I owe so much. Try as I might these fruits remained high in the branches out of reach, but not out of mind.
The Facebook group I referred to has been my life line this past year. My friends within the group are varied and their experiences of writing are the same. They are always there, always ready to help, offer support and are tremendous motivation and inspiration.
Before the year ends I was determined to return to those lands and pick those fruits. I have successfully plucked the first and my subscription to the Writing Magazine is in place and the February copy will be posted on January 5th, plenty of time. I also attended a writers group meeting, which is too far away from me to be possible on a regular basis but I was determined to find out what goes on before the year ends.
I was asked to open the meeting with a brief presentation of who I am and then give a five minute reading of my work. I launched into the opening paragraphs of my current “best ever piece” Maya Magic – a long short story set in the jungles of Northern Guatemala, you have heard of this tale before. Generally the piece was well received, my cheeks flushed with pride at the comment “very Stephen Kingish”. I listened earnestly to the comments and critique received. I was horrified to have the question of viewpoint raised, it seemed there was confusion as to whether I intended the piece to be first or third person.
As you know from The God Factor I felt I had this aspect of my writing under control and that the piece was clearly narrated.
Herein lies the moral to my tale. I spent the following week reading and re reading and reading again my story, mortified at the confusion that my words had created but unable to find evidence of that confusion in my work. Finally when I recalled the meeting and the trend of the conversation in detail I concluded that one person had questioned my style and I had defensively launched into “Oh my god I got it wrong again” mode. What had followed was actually a discussion as to whether my story might benefit from a first person narrative. It took me a week of heart wrenching self-doubt to see this.
I received a paid for and extremely useful, critique of my first ever flash fiction attempt, Life’s Echo by Lorraine Mace of Words with Jam fame it came with a recommendation to read a blog post about re-writing after a critique which basically says read a critique, digest it, put it and your story away in the airing cupboard (my analogy not hers) for at least a week if not longer and then consider re writing. It also points out the critique is just one persons opinion. Such sage words yet entirely ignored by me with regard to the writers group comments!
First or third person refers to the overall voice of your work and should be consistent throughout (there are exceptions but all from well published authors not fledglings such as I), this is different to the viewpoint from which a story is told. My tale is from the victim/hero’s viewpoint but is narrated by an unseen godlike observer.
Maya Magic remains in the third person and is still my “best ever piece”!
Please understand there is no criticism of the comment I received, rather a heartfelt lesson learned by me. The meeting was extremely enjoyable, if not what I had expected. I had thought it would be attended by the real life versions of my friends from the Facebook group and I may have been a trifle disappointed to find that was not the case.
There were several other readings of work, all very varied and at different stages of progress. No one in the group seemed familiar with or discussed self publishing or Kindle works at all. The focus was entirely on traditional publishing. This I found interesting.
I thoroughly enjoyed the evening and will possibly try to set up a group more local to myself after Christmas. I crave that feedback and company of others following the Publishers Pathway.
I have to leave now. The call of a great eagle is beckoning me. This majestic bird lives at the top of the lilac mountain overseeing the world of Enshia and it is distressed. It needs to be released and allowed to fly over the red fields and the purple river to revisit the bumble bee Bubbito in the insectile colony. The great eagle must prepare Bubbito for his journey into the land of the humans, Reality, and the eagle is impatient to be off and awaits my words to release him.
I need to return to part two of my story entitled, Your Story, written for a private audience of my grandchildren and close friends only. I shall write this as a Christmas gift to a very special little lady called Sophie who is just one season or three months old. It will be my gift of words.