Upping the game

I admit I am a slow writer. A plodder vs. a plotter.

But this week I set a goal and by golly! I’m going to make it. I managed to pound out five chapters in five days. Usually, that would take a month.

My motivation is two-fold. I registered for the Margie Lawson workshop in Charlotte on April 5. (Tomorrow as I write this; yesterday as you read these words.) I’d heard from numerous sources that she is an excellent teacher and I am always up for learning more about the craft of writing. We’ve had wonderful speakers at the Carolina Romance Writers’ meetings, but Margie is always at the top of the list when the conversation turns to workshops. I’m really excited about going.

One of the requirements is that we bring five chapters of our Work in Progress (WIP). I had nothing in the works, nada, zip. So when I found this out a week ago, I knew I’d better get busy.

It wasn’t easy. The words didn’t come flowing from my fingertips. I spent much of the time staring at the keyboard and thinking. I’d type a few paragraphs and then then delete them and think some more. Sometimes my thoughts were more on the line of I need to water the plants or the ironing basket is getting  full than what’s my next plot twist?

But I kept my derriere in the chair and ignored all the little distracting voices.

I jump-start my writing time by going over the previous day’s work and making any corrections and changes needed. Yesterday I had to re-work the entire chapter as I saw immediately that the scene wasn’t going to work as written. By the time I’d done that I was sparked up and wrote another five pages.

Tomorrow I will find out what I’ve done wrong–and hopefully, what I’m doing right.

The other reason for this burst of creativity is that Astraea Press accepted my alternate history, “A Question of Boundaries.”  I had grown fond of Caroline and Nathan as they encountered various obstacles in finding her father, whom she feared was kidnapped to prevent his latest invention from upsetting the status quo, and…well, I don’t want to give too much away. Let’s just say Nathan ends up working with King Thomas the Fourth of the Jeffersonian dynasty to bring the United States into the 20th century. Yep, the U. S.  is a limited monarchy with a parliament instead of congress. And, the country has been isolated from the rest of the world since 1815.

When writing  “Boundaries” I envisioned a sequel in which my characters would encounter more dangers and difficulties. The workshop pushed me to start writing down what I’d been mulling over in my head.  I’ve titled it “A Question of Trust.” If accepted, it needs to come out fairly soon after “Boundaries” is released. My every-other-year timetable just isn’t going to work.

So I’m learning to work faster. And tomorrow I hope to learn to work smarter.

Who is the best motivational speaker you’ve heard, the speaker who made you go back to your WIP with hope and enthusiasm? I’m looking forward to your answers in the comments.







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