Beginning at the Beginning. Again.

Full disclosure: I completely forgot to prepare this blog post, and I’m late. Apologies!

Every other Sunday, my writers’ group meets. In theory, we each take 10 minutes to read our most recent work aloud, the other members each get 3-5 minutes to offer a critique (depending on how many members are present), and if there’s time at the end of the session, we might have discussion. We try to stay away from author response (less affectionately known as the “writer arguing with the critique” effect), but we do allow questions for clarification.

I love writers’ group Sunday. It makes me happy, even when I don’t have new writing to share. But, sometimes, the best part? That’s the after meeting time. Our group meets at Barnes & Noble, because it’s free and they have coffee. It also keeps any member from having to clean his/her house, which is a factor. The advantage, however, is that because the meeting is not at anyone’s house, we can stay as long as we like. For me, that means I can’t see the dirty dishes/dog needing to be brushed/laundry needing to be folded/child needing to be reminded to do her homework/etc. It’s almost like a mini-vacation!

When it works, I get to stay at the bookstore for an extra hour or so and just write. This week–I revised. Yes, I began at the beginning again (see, you knew I’d tie in the title, right?).

I re-read my short story. I read the comments and feedback received by both my local group and my Mysteristas critique group. I reviewed my outline. I documented plot holes. And, I began filling in the gaps.

It was lovely. For me, I can get so lost in a project that I forget exactly where I started. Sometimes, I even forget that there’s good writing! When I’m stuck, I start to wonder why I ever thought I could do this. Then, I re-read, and I remember.

Beginning at the beginning serves all sorts of purposes for me. It can get me in the groove of my story if I’ve been away for awhile. It reminds me that I can actually write well, at least sometimes. Re-reading allows me to get excited about my story all over again! And the ideas–oh, so many ideas come to me when I go back to the beginning again.

This past Sunday was one of those delightful days when I began at the beginning, and the excitement and pleasure of writing and revising is still with me today. How do you feel about beginning…again?

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Author: Pamela A. Oberg

Pamela is a portfolio manager at an educational assessment company by day, writer by night. Founder of Writers on Words (a discussion and critique group), Pamela enjoys spinning tales of murder and mayhem, with an occasional foray into the world of the paranormal.

9 thoughts on “Beginning at the Beginning. Again.”

  1. Heh, my critique group meets monthly at Panera. Food and coffee – and no one chasing us out (plus occasionally another patrol will stop and ask, “What are you folks talking about?” Great advertising opportunity.).

    My submission yesterday was the opening to an old project that I’m looking at again. And I, too, am beginning at the beginning again. But I think the book opening is going to be so much better based on what they gave me.

    Such an invigorating feeling!

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  2. I’m about to re-read my last short story aloud. It’s the last thing I do before I submit. I, too, love the feeling of getting lost in a story. Saturday, I was interviewed by on Kendall & Cooper podcast and they asked me to read a portion of Velvet Slippers, the story that was accepted by Malice Domestic 2017. As I was reading it, I thought, hey, this is pretty good! Did I actually write that! Nice feeling.

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  3. Keenan, that is the best. I re-read “Three Rivers Voodoo” when BLOOD ON THE BAYOU came out and thought the same. And when they sent “Home Front Homicide” back to me for editing.

    And…I just re-wrote the entire first chapter of the WIP. I LOVE it! I can’t wait to share this one with my critique group/

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  4. Excitement is the key. When the excitement is gone, then you’re getting sucked down the rabbit hole of no return. Have fun with this!

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