Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Weekend That Changed My Life...

Sounds dramatic no? But I really believe it to be true. At least my writing life. We’ll see in ten years or so if I’m right. But as Molly posted on Monday I was in Toronto this past weekend and it was awesome. A weekend of good food, good friends, beer and wine, book talk and let’s not forget Friday Night Lights.

But the game changer for me was the brainstorming session. I had never been part of a critique group before. For many reasons. I often tell people who ask me about my writing that I’m the least creative person I know. I write simply because I like to control things. So the idea of a group talking about my idea or changing my idea… I thought, no.

And then there was this element of … if you accept help does it make it less your idea? I’m not great at accepting any kind of help and writing help in particular seemed like a foreign concept.

But then I did it. I told everyone my idea and they all listened (thank you for listening) and it was like watching someone with a Rubix Cube. All the pieces of my story were still there, but with a few twists this way and another few twists that way and what might have been a story that only had 3 sides of all the same color now was a completely finished cube.

I was stunned and amazed. And thrilled. Then Molly did her magic with the high concept stuff and bammo – I felt like I had this great high concept pitch married with a fully cohesive plot.

Now sure – I have to do some more work. The annoying business of actually writing the book. But I will forever be sold on the idea that it is not only okay, but downright smart, to pitch your book to other smart writers and let them find the holes you just can’t see.

You don’t have to use every idea – for instance my hero is not going to be German – sorry Molly! But it’s not even like that really matters. Just throwing things out there made me think about things I hadn’t thought of before.

I’m sold. And I absolutely want to do this again.


Molly O'Keefe said...

And that is why I love brainstorming...the rubick's cube thing is a perfect way to frame it.

I've also been thinking about why I love brainstorming with this group and it might seem strange but I love the confidence with which everyone pitches thier ideas about my books. It's like I would be crazy not to see things thier way and I have to have a serious gut reaction to turn those ideas away - so it actually solidifies my view of my book. And then it's just made better...

Anonymous said...

Stephanie, it was so much fun and so productive. All of us walked away feeling great about our ideas and excited to start them and that's when you know a brainstorming group works.

Molly's right, it only works if you feel confident about your own idea and can sort through what works and doesn't work and use it to guide the brainstorming..

Eileen said...

Ah, confidence. I'm always a little short on that, but long on stubbornness.

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