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NEW WIP, SAME IMPOSTER


Woosaaah y'all.


If you write, which I assume you do since you're here, you know the exhilaration of working on a new piece. You know the characters (most of them), you understand the plot (kind of), you are excited about the "twist" you have planned (a lot). Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, you've been gearing up and making plans, waiting for the moment when it's finally time to spin magic out of thin air and get your words recorded. The pregnant expectation, the pause just before the first ink is scratched onto paper or the first click of the keyboard is beautiful. And deceptive.


I recently sat down to begin chiseling a new book out of the hunk of technology I use for writing. (Scrivener, from Literature and Latte, if anyone is wondering.) The concept is different from anything I've ever written and well outside my comfort zone. As the piece is still in the foundational phase, I'm won't get bogged down here by sharing any storyline details. They'll all probably change in revision anyway.


It's enough to say that I'm about 6800 words in and the authorial equivalent of kudzu is starting to worm it's way into my brain. The dreaded Impostra Syndromus weed. (Yes, I just made that up.)


"Excuse me, ma'am? Who do you think you are? What makes you think you can pull this off? No one will want to read a book about this! Go back to reading and leave the writing to the professionals."

If you read that and heard a smarmy, imperious, patronizing voice in your head, then you get the picture. If you didn't, well, I'm jealous of you and your confidence.


I've realized I desperately miss working with the writer's in my MFA cohort. Although we each wrote different kinds of stories, we genuinely appreciated the time and craft expertise required to pull together an original work. We happily read excerpts of each other's stories and offered constructive feedback. Our only goal was to help us, as a collective, write better. Some of us focused on syntax and diction. Others were distracted by punctuation and grammar questions. All of us paid attention to missing details or narrative potholes. We honestly pointed out what worked well and asked questions about the murky spots. We questioned the inclusion of tired tropes and applauded innovation. My classmates' assistance during the initial drafts of my book, Saving Eva, were absolutely invaluable to me.


The current WIP (Work-In-Progress) has exposed my need for those kinds of readers. The readers who aren't afraid of grubby, unpolished words. Readers willing to sift through the bleh to discover hidden gems of wordy brilliance. Readers I can trust with my ugly baby. Literary godparents, if you will, to help me raise this kid right. (Side note: No matter what you write or how often - gems of wordy brilliance are almost assuredly in there somewhere. Claim them. They're yours.)


I need a writing group. A tribe of bibliophiles. So, I'm on the hunt for how to find one. I'll start with the advice offered by MasterClass and move on from there.


Still, I'm curious. Where did you find your writing group? Do you have room for one more?


(Image Credit: The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893)


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