Since June, a lot has happened.
1. I joined the Toronto Writers’ Centre.
This was a big one for me. In an effort to take my writing seriously by putting money on it, I joined with the goal of gong to the same place every day, a place where professional writers create novels and television scripts, and buckle down on my novel revisions.
It’s worked to a degree. While I don’t go every day, when I do go, I get stuff done with minimal distractions.
I had also hoped that I would be able to make friends and be part of a community there. This has been less successful. While it’s a good environment for hard work, it’s not what I would call a friendly place. In fact, I’m considering other venues that include social activities.
2. I started attending Meetups.
I attended a new meetup which, while not a group I’d attend again, introduced me to several people that were looking to create a critique group. We’ve exchanged contact info and three of us have already met for a reading and short crit.
I’ve agreed to be a beta reader for someone in the group who has already finished their novel which, I think, will be a good experience for me and may help me in my own writing.
Through this initial meetup group, one participant mentioned another group/event she is involved in called So You Want To Write and I went to their pub night. There was a panel discussion and several participants gave readings that were then critiqued by the panel members in front of the entire group. Brave souls!
So You Want To Write is a large, active group that offers workshops and one on one sessions with agents and editors (at a price, of course) but the monthly pub nights are free and well attended. The email newsletter mentions crit groups organized through them and I may look into this to increase the eyeballs looking at my work.
3. Finally, yesterday, I went to Word on the Street.
This is a massive festival/conference/book sale with both indoor and outdoor venues. Writer’s panels, readings, info and sales booths make this the event of the year for both writers and readers. Best of all, it’s free!
This is all well and good but how’s the writing going? The novel is inching along slowly. I’ve been trying to work out the inconsistencies in the plot line, changing the story, sometimes in significant ways. I’m terrified.
But, I’ve also written a short story about an incident in the lives of my novel’s main characters, an event that works as a catalyst for the novel itself. I’m quite pleased with it. In fact, this is what I read for my crit group and have, since then, submitted it to three publications and am looking into others that would be a good fit. Wish me luck!