I went to my first critique group yesterday and met several new people who all became my allies in the struggle to become a better writer. I was so impressed with their work and I’m sure that I’ll learn a lot from their comments. This morning I used their suggestions to edit and do a little rewrite of the first chapter of the memoir and it looks much better.
After a few more changes, I’ll be sending it off to my daughter, MaiLynn, so she can read it and comment. We’re working together on this memoir. It brings us closer even though I’m in California and she’s in New Zealand. We’re still working on the on-line communication and sharing aspects but I think we can handle it with Skype and Google Docs.
It’ll be great to work together a bit when I meet her in Vietnam for three weeks. Mostly we’ll be exploring the country, but we plan to put some of this book together too. I’m getting ready for the trip by taking Vietnamese lessons from my brother-in-law. Some of those sounds are tough to pronounce. I hope I get better soon or I’ll be embarrassing myself and confusing others. It might make for some funny stories.
Back to work. I have to figure out how to write a flashback for one of the events in that first chapter.
I finally got around to editing the first chapter of the first draft of my memoir. Why? Because I’m going to my first critique group today and I wanted to bring something to read and get comments on. I usually would hang back for the first few meetings but I feel a sense of urgency now. I realized that the Vietnam trip is only something like forty-five days away. Mai and I will need be ready to start doing some merging of our work if we are going to accomplish much on this trip.
Editing and rewrites are hard for me. I write my first drafts quick and dirty style and the editing is tough because I don’t have a lot of good writing to work with. I think I’ll be doing more rewriting than editing in the memoir. For now, I’m using the book The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile, by Noah Lukeman. I found it at the library bookstore the other day and it has some pretty good ideas for rewrites. This time I took out or replaced adjectives and adverbs and made the verbs stronger. It helped but we’ll see what the critique group thinks. I hope to get some good feedback.
It will be great to meet with these writers. Human contact with like-minded people is what I need to keep going. I signed up for the memoir group on Scribophile, but so far haven’t participated. It seems so remote, but maybe I’ll work on that after I get my energy revved up and my spaciness under control.
Susan will be here soon to pick me up. I’m happy and nervous.