ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

#IWSG post--is our writing ever good enough? There's help out there!

Aren't we all somewhat insecure about our writing? Well, duh, that's the whole point of IWSG!  I've never yet met a writer who wasn't stricken with self-doubt somewhere along the line. So a perfect antidote is to attend a masterclass with someone whose past students got published after attending her classes and many ended up on the New York Times Best-selling List. I could live with that!

Facebookers amongst us will know that I've been attending a Margie Lawson Immersion Class for 5 days, where 8 lucky writers who were the first to sign up spent 12 hours a day learning at the seat of the master editor and make-your-novel-amazing Margie from Colorado.

The mornings were spent learning how to make our manuscripts sing louder, through more visceral writing and amplification, and the afternoons were spent writing, analyzing our manuscripts and the biggie--one-on-one sessions with Margie.

Absorbing her edit system (which of course I can't share due to copyright) was the most awesome thing about the retreat, held in a gorgeous home in a leafy suburb of Brisbane. I also picked up 2 fab critique partners, both romance writers.

Margie has asked me to host an Immersion Class at our beach house in March '17. I'm considering it.

No, Margie didn't hire me as her publicist, but I'm so excited about what I've learned that I thought I'd share it for the #IWSG.

So I'll just share one example of mine with you. You have to have a ms under your arm when you turn up. I brought along my 45,000 word ms for 'Carpe Diem---Love and Art in Paris' (WORKING TITLE).  I never got further than a few pages with Margie as she was bursting her creativity all over those opening pages (and my major turning point). I went away from the one-on-one and rewrote my opening line...and my first two chapters several times.

Here's the opening line on my original ms:

OPENING LINE:

The stranger props himself on a bar stool in front of me like he owns the place.

(cringe-worthy much?)

REWORKING:

I watch the tall Frenchman push his way into Marcel’s Bar in Pigalle, Paris’s naughty end of town.

(After a session with Margie. Less cringe-worthy?)

Now, it still has room for improvement, of course, writing always does, but now that I've been Margie-fied, I have learned a few more ways to tempt the reader.

NOW after visiting other IWSGers, I see I was supposed to answer the question: how do I find the time to write in my busy day...well, lately I've been getting up early and writing for a couple of hours before anyone else wakes up...it's just me, my laptop and the sea view. Then I grab two hour sessions throughout the day. I'd say at the moment I'm averaging about six hours a day writing. That's what Hemingway did, and Dean Koontz does...

Thanks a whole bunch of koalas, Margie!

First Wed of Every MonthMargie Lawson's profile photo
Twitter: @margielawson
Facebook: Margie Lawson
Inline image 1

This has been a post for the Insecure Writers Support Group. Go HERE to sign up or read more posts.

Visit the co-hosts!
C. Lee McKenzie,Rachel Pattison, Elizabeth Seckman, Stephanie Faris, Lori L MacLaughlin, and Elsie Amata! 

And a heads-up for the October Write...Edit...Publish. There is a choice of themes: CONSTELLATIONS or HALLOWEEN, or if you're very, very clever, a combination of both! So get your little sci-fi, fantasy or horror brains around the next challenge. More details soon! Should be a double hoot!


WRITE..EDIT...PUBLISH - JOIN US!

  • How about you? Have you attended a writers' retreat?
  • Do you know Margie Lawson?
  • Do you have any editing tips to share with us?


84 comments:

  1. Sounds like that retreat is exactly what you and your writing needed! I'm afraid I've never been to one.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Denise - sounds like you lots of fun ... and yes, I prefer your second version!! I've never attended a writer's retreat - that MS to turn up with - would be a wee challenge ... mind you my blog posts would do I guess!! No - they'd need to co-joined somehow ..

    Cheers and enjoy absorbing and applying all you've learnt - looks like a great group though .. Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did Hilary. You should have no trouble turning out 45,000 words! Link a few blog posts together and you're done LOL! Nevertheless, it's a wonderful experience!

      Delete
  3. Denise,
    I can tell it was a great learning experience for you. I have not attended an immersion session yet, but I want to. There are so many things you can learn from a small group session that is a week long. And it is amazing how your eyes are opened when it is a fantastic editor like Margie. I am so happy you had a rewarding time.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat Garcia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You would love it, Pat. I hope you get to do it!

      Shalom aleichem!

      Delete
  4. The writing retreat sounds like fun and a great way to energize your creativity.

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

    ReplyDelete
  5. I had the pleasure of going to one writer's retreat with Jane Yolen. It was wonderful. I'd love to go to another one. Margie's sounds like a winner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margie is a winner. I've tried some of her online courses for years. Was great to meet her and work with her.

      Delete
  6. I wish I could attend her retreat. One on one time like that with someone who is an expert is priceless.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Sounds like that retreat was fantastic! It must be great to get one-on-one time with someone who has so much experience.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Looks like the retreat was well worth it. Love the revision. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! There's still something that worries me, but I'll get there.

      Delete
  9. How inspiring! I went to a weeklong conference/class on craft a few years ago and loved being immersed in my work and being able to talk shop with fellow writers and those in the publishing business.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It'd be great to be able to do something like that every year!

      Delete
  10. We should be paid each time we rewrite the opening lines of our stories. I could buy a big boat if that happened. Congrats on those changes and those improvements.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, Lee, then how much per chapter re-write?

      Delete
  11. Always wanted to try a writing retreat/conference. Glad to hear yours was so positive!

    IWSG September

    ReplyDelete
  12. This retreat seems to have been helpful. I love the new opening sentence. The old one made me just think the character was a douche to be honest. Glad you got the help and keep working on your MS.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I agree, which wasn't fair on him.

      Delete
  13. Such an excellent change. I know why you're touting Margie, love it. Wish I could attend the session at your beach house. You know you're going to do it. :) Writing classes are such fun, especially the friendships that result!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish you could fly over next year, Yolanda! What a hoot we'd have!

      Delete
    2. Count me in too, Ladies! It would be AWESOME!

      Delete
    3. I can see in the future a big meeting in Australia of one Michael di Gesu, Yolanda Renee, Nilanjana Bose, Donna Hole...wouldn't that be nice????

      Delete
  14. Hi, Denise,

    I just LOVE your enthusiasm in the post~ It's awesome that you walked away with so much...

    I need to go to a class like that...

    I finally FINISHED my loft! Pics at my blog when you get a chance. I decided to sell it and move on. Just not an inspiring place for me. I realized that a view is everything to me and I can't live in a space without one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Have visited Michael. Fantastic pics. A view is everything to me, too.

      Delete
    2. I am so happy you have your DREAM view.. You must send me pics SOON!

      Delete
  15. Your retreat sounds terrific. You seem to be doing fine for time as well, judging by the results. Glad your novel is going well. One day, it will become a bestseller, mark my words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your vote of confidence Olga! Wouldn't that be nice!

      Delete
  16. Wow, that retreat sounds super awesome. That change to your first sentence is amazing. I might be able to join you for the March retreat. I'm hoping I will have moved to Brissy by then.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Woo hoo, that'd be wonderful! It'd be great to do it every year! Glad you like the second sentence best.

      Delete
  17. Six hours a day? That's impressive going, Denise. And glad you had such an amazing time on that retreat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I've got a lot of kiddie time to make up for Ian! I'm loving the new attitude.

      Delete
  18. As Botanist writes: 6 hours a day is intense! But like Alex, I have never gone to a retreat. No time, and I am a solitary kind of man. Great that you got so much out of your time there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, Roland, I'm a solitary kind of a woman, but occasionally, for a good cause, I'll pop my head out of my shell. This was way worth it!

      Delete
  19. Margie sounds wonderful! You should definitely host an immersion class. Think how much you and others can learn. 6 hrs per day writing is awesome. When I'm surging forward, I do about 8 hrs, but I honestly don't "surge" all that often. :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I don't host it, Lexa, I'll be attending again! Once a year would be good!

      Delete
  20. Doing six hours a day sounds good. And I want to do immersion with Margie Lawson. Thanks for sharing about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Six hours a day is AWESOME, getting ready for the days when I get none done!

      Delete
  21. That sounds positively divine. I've never been to a retreat, would totally love to! If and when. Not likely in near future with kiddo in exam mode.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was. I hope you get to attend something like it!

      Delete
  22. Wow, that class sounds phenomenal.

    I write in the early mornings, too, but if I had an ocean view in front of me, I'm afraid I wouldn't get much writing done. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was phenomenal Susan! Ah, the ocean inspires me!

      Delete
  23. Denise, I'm soooo excited to read that Carpe Diem is now at 45,000 words!
    *Whoop of excitement & doing a happy dance* (At the moment, I'm home alone...)
    That masterclass sounds AWESOME! I love the revised opening line...amazing.

    I would LOVE to go on a writing retreat. I've discovered a few good ones this end of the globe, which I'm investigating. They ARE a bit pricey though. We'll see...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Michelle, you'll definitely be on the Acknowledgements page! Thank you for suggesting I opened my short story up. Look at it!! Must be nearly time for you to have another read!

      I hope you do get to a writing retreat. Yes, pricey for sure, but totally worth it if you can afford it!

      Delete
  24. How exciting. The image of her bursting creativity all over the opening pages is funny! I'm glad it went well.

    ReplyDelete
  25. What fun! I'd love to attend a workshop like that one day!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hey Denise! I'm glad you were able to rewrite the beginning of your book. What you gained from that masterclass sounds like it's working amazingly for you. I've always wanted to go on a writing retreat.

    The IWSG question is optional, in case members struggle with a post. :)

    Oh, and I didn't have a say in the announcement or deadlines dates for the anthology. For me, I wouldn't be able to write something new and polish it so quickly, but I sure hope that other writers can. I think the anthology will turn out great, though. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd recommend a masterclass to any writer, Chrys. Okay about the anthology. Just think it definitely isn't enough time if you're creating a new story. :-)

      Delete
  27. Hi Denise
    Small world. I know Margie. She is a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. I used to be. I've attended sessions with her at Colorado Gold Writers Conference here in Denver held in Sept. So I know about her editing style though I don't use it. I am so glad she inspired you. If I ever get teeth I'll have to take her class. The husband needs an operation so once more I must wait.
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I kept meaning to ask her if she knew you Nancy. I hope you get those teeth soon!

      Delete
  28. How cool to be asked to host a class! I'm glad you got a ton out of this master class.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sounds like a lot of fun. The October Challenge sounds interesting, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It'd be great if you could join us, Deborah!

      Delete
  30. I don't know Margie Lawson, but after reading your post, I want to. I need some serious help with motivation and inspiration and that's what I'm doing hopping around the IWSG - looking for some. I will head over to her website and check out more. Thanks for the tip. This may have been my most productive stop of the day.

    Also, going to check out your WEP link. story that constellations figure into nicely. Thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How lovely! I'm sure you'll get some inspiration from Margie's editing system. And how lovely if you join WEP for CONSTELLATIONS.

      Delete
  31. Hi Denise, the writing retreat with Margie sounds like it was just what you needed to get to grips with your writing. I would love to do something like that. And I'm so impressed with your work discipline - six hours a day, WOW!!!

    gramswisewords.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. hELLO Marian! Took me a long time to get there, but here I want to stay!

      Delete
  32. Sounds like an amazing retreat, Denise!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog.
    Yvonne V

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was, Yvonne! Thanks for visiting me!

      Delete
  33. Holy cow! Three two-hour sessions and six hours a day?!?!
    I wish I could achieve that! And theoretically, it's possible. But since it took 3 days for me to get the idea that will (hopefully) drive my next chapter in the direction the story needs to go, I'm not sure I can push it. Sadly, my process seems to need gaps. :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Dianne. Took me lots of time to work out this program. I'm determined to finish this novel i'm loving so much and that's a serious amount of work with the amount of changes I always make!!

      Delete
  34. Glad you got so much out of your writing retreat. I like to write early in the morning too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's the best time for many people, when the old brain is buzzing!

      Delete
  35. I haven't been to a writers conference in years. I'd love to do a retreat with someone fabulous like Margie. Finding time for that is about as elusive as finding writing time, lol. Sounds like it is helping you.

    Awesome.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Denise! How awesome that you had positive time at the Immersion. I took so much away from my Immersion and hoped you would too.

    ReplyDelete
  37. It was great sharing the immersion class with you, Denise. I've been busy sin ce the immersion, but am launching into it again today. So much Margie-fying to go. I think it will take me a year to apply all the lessons :) Hope the rest of your manuscript sizzles along.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by, Nola. It won't be for lack of trying if it fizzles instead of sizzles!

      Delete
  38. Sorry the video didn't work for ya. The tip was between every scene should be a "therefore" or a "but", never an "and then". :)

    ReplyDelete
  39. I love "Paris's naughty end of town." That speaks volumes. Golden phrase.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Tamara. It just popped into my head.

      Delete
  40. Wow, dear friend. What great experiences you are having. You really are at your peak right now in your life with writing and blogging - everything. Margie sounds awesome. Ah, first lines. Never could do them. The reworked one definitely NOT cringe-worthy. BTW, I'm finally settling permanently on Blogger for reasons I won't go into here, probably never. The WP one is still up and will just sit. So I finally got a post for the new blogspot, which is why I'm so late getting here. So again I apologize for "if you'll follow me there." :) You're an incredibly patient sister! ((( ))) from me and Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. p.s. So glad Halloween is added to the WEP for October. I have something for that, but couldn't have done the other one. Looking forward to it - and still hoping to soon see a sequel to Tuscan Moon :)

      Delete

I love hearing from you! Hit me with your wisdom!