Last weekend, RWI had its annual retreat. This year we went to Pine Lodge Resort on Grand Lake in NE Oklahoma. It was perfect! Nice warm weather, lots of great food and of course, a terrific speaker. Holly Jacobs came all the way from Eerie, PA to talk to us. Wow. Talk about inspiring. She simply sat and talked to us like we were old friends. I have to admit, by the time she left, I felt as if we’d been friends forever. Learned tons, too.
On a bit of a different note:
Since finishing GRAVE SECRETS, I was sort of at a crossroads as to what to tackle next. Had finally decided to go back and polish ALASKA HEAT. I was so anxious to get started on GS that after I wrote ‘The End’ on AH, I simply dropped it. It was time to brush that baby off.
Only my ‘clean-up’ is turning into more of a total rewrite. Well, almost total. When I looked back over the story, I found a ton of plot holes. Okay. I can fix those. But I felt there was still something wrong with the beginning. It didn’t zing…didn’t pop…didn’t talk to me like the opening of GS. When one of my CP’s mentioned that she didn’t really get interested until chapter two, I slapped myself on my forehead and said, “Ah-ha! That’s it.” I have to give her credit for not looking at me as if I’d lost my mind. 🙂
Chapter one is now history. Well, not totally. I cut and pasted it at the bottom of the ms so I could take snippets and scenes and drop them back in as I go along. There are still some good descriptions of the area that I’ll use later. Saturday night at the retreat, after the workshops and dinner, we had our normal monthly critique. Everyone agreed the current opening is much better. Yah! Just what I wanted to hear.
So have you ever wondered what to do with your old manuscripts? Have you dusted them off and gotten them cleaned up well enough to send to an editor? Or have you simply groaned, said, “No way!” and left that baby under the bed where it belongs? (I do have one that will forever stay hidden. Good storyline but inexperienced writing. Too much work to bother trying to fix.)
I’d already decided to revamp AH. But after the retreat, I’ve been so inspired by Holly that I’m tackling my revisions with new enthusiasm and energy. Thanks, Holly! And thank you to the RWI members who gave me additional input to help improve my story. You’re all fantastic!!