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Sunday, October 7, 2012

2nd Sunday Savor: How my writing has changed.



Courtesy of IFC Portlandia Official Facebook Page


I began my writing adventures almost four years ago when my husband encouraged me to write the stories in my head instead of telling them to him. Poor guy, he just needed to get his crazy wife off his back.
 
At first, I wrote this crazy dream of a future Portland buried underground to protect the population from the radiation on the surface. (I swear I’m going to write a series about this someday, because it was pretty freaking cool.) Then I started a story about a girl who is given the gift of healing from an angel, but her super religious parents freak out because they think she’s a witch. 

Six months into this whole writing business, I decided I needed to write a vampire story based in my native Romania. Pretty much every story I started was an idea and then I would run off with it until I came to a wall because I’m not a plotter. The vampire story was the first one I actually finished. I had a beginning and ending with a bunch of stuff in the middle.

I never took classes or workshops until a couple of years ago when I attended my first conference put on by Willamette Writers. That’s where I learned stuff like “Inciting Incidence” and the “Black Moment.” 

But it wasn’t until I joined RWA when I realized, I needed help. So I went to workshops and took online classes. Did they help me? Absolutely. I learned about story structure and plotting (even though I’m a fervent panster regardless). Did these resources improve my writing? Yes. A lot.

But it wasn’t until July when I started reading Wired for Story, when my writing truly changed. Now when I go back and read what I’ve written recently I see that there’s a story there rather than a collection of exciting events with interesting characters.

What’s also changed is how I approach my writing. I’m not as hard on myself anymore and I’m not so focused on being published. Yes, getting published is my goal, but I’m learning to enjoy each step of the way. The first step is to make sure I have something I’m proud of. That isn’t to say I’m editing everything to the ninth degree. No, I’m just saying I want to put out quality.

It WILL happen. I’m sure of it as much as I'm sure I need to go to work tomorrow morning in order to keep my job. Today, however, I’m so much closer to realizing my dream than four years ago.

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