Monday, August 17, 2009

When Last We Met...

Yesterday the Magic City Writers met and reviewed the first draft of the second chapter of Kathryn's werewolf story, Moonlit. It was, as usual, a good meeting, punctuated by lively discussions about the content and details of Kathryn's story, followed by a series of writing exercises and a tasty dinner.

To summarize, it was agreed that Kathryn had a good initial version of her second chapter.

My personal opinion about what you want out of the first draft of a chapter is that it should:
  1. Sketch out the major actions in the scene.
  2. Establish, continue, or expand the tone and style of the story.
  3. Progress the plot.
  4. Identify principle characters in the scene and their motivations.
  5. Lay the foundation for what will happen in later chapters.
  6. Avoid significant structural problems.

Kathryn's first draft accomplishes all of this. The key phrase here is "first draft". The journey between first draft and final draft is a long one, as I well know. Clutter must be removed, dialogue and descriptions must be added or sharpened, phrases reworded, and so on. It is a lot of work, often it is remarkably difficult, but having a decent first draft does make the process a little easier.

Nicole submitted her latest draft of her first chapter. I have helped her work on that, so I have a better idea than the others in the group about what to expect. To avoid inserting my bias into the mix, I will refrain from further comments about her chapter at this time.

The writing exercises we did were quite fun. We took turns coming up with starting phrases or sentence that we would all write on for about six minutes, then read aloud. The goal is to write quickly, without dithering over details; to let your imagination run free and put your thoughts on paper as fast as possible. I think we all enjoyed the exercises and noticed interesting trends in each other's style. I will not comment upon the others, but for myself it did become clear that, compared to everyone else, I write slower and focus upon rich descriptions with dark themes. (Did I mention I am a fan of classical Gothic horror?)

Nicole served french bread, creamy cheese, a yummy vegetable beef stew, and ice-cream with nuts and chocolate sauce. Thank you Nicole for a great meal.

That pretty much covers the meeting. We are currently scheduled to meet in three weeks on September 7th. Its possible we may have a new person show up for that meeting. Lindy is inviting a friend of hers who has been published.

Party on everyone.

1 comment:

  1. I will comment on the writing exercises. The most fun we had with it is when we each made up our own starting phrases. Each of them had a sciency-fictiony feel, but all four were different. Yes, Brant had the most luscious descriptions in his work, but we all had something unique to commend us. As for me, I think my best feature is my ability to type just about as fast as I can think. I got more down in the five minutes alloted than the others. Not better, just more. My style of off-the-cuff writing was silly at times, but with a definite sarcastic undertone. At least, that was my opinion of my writing. I could be wrong... I guess. :)