I went on a writer's retreat in New England a few weekends ago, I tacked on a week at a seaside cottage in the area to make it worth my drive. In retrospect this was probably not a good idea. I felt so pumped at the end of my "weekend with writers" that all I really wanted to do was hide away in a room and finish my book. Sunbathing on an Atlantic beach was the farthest thing from my mind. I wanted to write damn it and here these kids were begging for my attention. You`d think I had been away for three days or something.
So now I am home and fully removed from the critique groups and the information sessions. Over my vacation though I was able to think about what my fellow writers said about my work in progress. I would say 80 per cent was helpful and even encouraging, the other 20 per cent just served to confuse the crap out of me. No guff. And now I am stressing. Stressing about whether my preference to keep something is, in effect, literary suicide. Stressing about my voice, style and use of language and wondering if I truly am `wordy` or if I am remaining true to my historical genre, and my formulaic style.
I was the only person writing a historical and it was a challenge to convey that, yes, I have done my research and yes, I am not just `making this stuff up` because it makes for a good backdrop.
I feel great about my character though, Peter Ainsley, and my ability to spin a tale. The style in which I tell it, well now, isn`t that the subjective part? Isn`t that all up for creative interpretation?...oh great, now look at me, I am one of those whiny, defensive attendees who is just digging my heels in and claiming it to be art, an expression of me and my pysche. Good Lord, I am in trouble.
Changes I will make, but only after I finish. Nothing negative was said about my story and did get many encouraging words in this regard, so I believe in the whole I am on the right track plot-wise. I simply can not go back now, not when there is only 30,000 more words to write. I am so close I can taste it. Substituting words here and there, rewriting the odd sentence or two will only serve to derail my forward progress. I have however, formulated an opinion about these types of shindigs, these critique groups and gatherings of authors but that is a post/rant for another day.