My current WIP is about sea monsters. (No krakens--yet.) I'll elaborate on that some other day.
Over the weekend I released my MS--and all the monsters my pages contain--out into the world for my writing group to read. I also read some of their stuff. No literal monsters in their pages, but I think we all learned a valuable lesson this weekend:
LET YOUR MONSTER OUT OF THE CAGE!
The "monster" being your writing. That vicious beast that demands all your attention, needs to be fed daily, can't be exposed to sunlight--oh wait, that last one was gremlins. Never mind.
Your monster SHOULD see sunlight, or moonlight if you're a night owl. And go ahead, feed it after midnight, as long as it's not a mogwai.
One of my fabulous writing partner/friends, Megan Rebekah and I discussed how we always get new ideas or inspiration after we send out our pages for someone to read. We had a funny email conversation about it, so I thought I'd share it with you folks. (This is inside scoop. Behind-the-scenes wisdom. Some day people will pay good money for these gems of knowledge. Well, probably not, but Meg thought it was pretty funny, and afterward so did I.)
Me to Meg:
I'm telling ya, sending your MS out, even if its just a couple scenes, really gets things moving. I don't know how or why it happens, but it does. Maybe it's because someone besides us will DEFINITELY have an opinion about it. It's not just some little fuzzy creature hiding in the shadows of our computers. It's out in the open, people are watching it stroll down the streets, and we know they're going to comment, so our brains start working overtime to make it more lovable.
Every time I send something to you girls, or give it to my roomie, or best friend, or mom to read, ideas start shifting. I say even if you think your stuff is crap send it out, because that's when magic starts happening.
Meg's reply to Me:
OMG that's so awesome. Now I'm picturing Anomaly skipping down the sidewalk--a giant stack of paper with legs and arms--while everyone stops to watch and read it.
So, if Zeus were here, he'd say, RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
But I'm no Zeus, so I'll tell you to RELEASE YOUR MONSTER!
Whether it has breath that smells like a thousand corpses, or it gives people a warm and fuzzy feeling (isn't the lil blue guy adorable?)
Let your monster out into the world and watch what wonderful chaos ensues.
What do you think? Do you share your monsters (writing) with others often enough? Do your monsters take on new life after you release them into the universe? Do they morph and evolve based on people's comments?
Monday, March 22, 2010
RELEASE THE KRAKEN!
Posted by kah
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This is so true. I am always inspired with new ideas after sending my work out.ReplyDelete
What a great way to say it! I posted just a few paragraphs of my short sotry in progress on my blog and I got so many wonderful constructive comments that now I've rewritten the two paragraphs into 6 and every word is so much better!ReplyDelete
That still cracks me up!ReplyDelete
Meanwhile I'm furiously typing up notes so I can get my last installment of TSMM...
I usually don't let my monster out (that sounds inappropriate coming from a guy...sorry) when I'm completely finished with the first draft. For me its a distraction before the first draft is in the can. After that...let loose the hounds!!ReplyDelete
Great post--and I couldn't agree more. I hid in the shadows WAY too long with my MS (started writing in January, didn't share with anyone besides my husband--king of the "it's good" answer--until October. OCTOBER! I just had no idea how to find CPs and who I trusted, but once I finally had CPs, man what a difference. And I know if I'd brought in CPs sooner I'd have gotten to the point of querying a lot faster. So I will not be making that mistake again with the second book. As soon as I have enough complete it's going to my cps (and they all run in fear!!!)ReplyDelete
Lurve your lil blue guy, so fuzzy wuzzy. My monster #1 is being torn apart right now and is in no position to be unleashed. Monster #2 is so new, I am designing and constructing and only tentatively testing a few little parts of it.ReplyDelete
I like to let people read it my stuff although I think the ones that normally read my stuff (one best friend,mother) are sick of it now. The novelty has worn out and now no one wants to read it. But I know what you mean, I always get excited for someone to read my stuff. It can be a bad or good opinion and I'm totally in love with it. It helps me to think outside the box (my head) a little better.ReplyDelete
My monsters right now, Im working on them being a little more "monstorous" so the tweaking continues....great post!
*grins* I loved that movie when I was a kid. Watched it all the time:) And I can't wait for the new one to come out!ReplyDelete
I post my chapters at my crit group's Yahoo site as soon as I finish one and they do the same. I've found that they give such wonderful feedback that the ideas do start to flow even more.
I usually only let mine out to my CPs and some close friends, but oddly enough, my story does change sometimes based on responses to it. Weird, I never really thought about it. LOL.ReplyDelete
Hmmm, I've just fed little bits of my monster to family and friends. I've yet to releas the whole monster. Good to know.ReplyDelete
I almost never release my monsters - I don't want them to eat anyone or give them nightmares. But, even if they traumatize my readers for life, at least they'll remember them, right? :DReplyDelete
That little guy is definitely adorable. And you're definitely right- sending our monsters out to be read is a swift kick in the pants to do something with it. Write the next scene, revise, whatever.ReplyDelete
So that's what you two say to each other! *grin*ReplyDelete
I share my writing with trusted writer friends. Individual chapters are nerve-wracking, but sending out a whole manuscript in ONE piece is Truly Scary.
I agree though, that it ups the momentum of our writing to share it.
First things first....do you know they are remaking Clash of the Titans?? Cannot wait to see that puppy!ReplyDelete
Second...yes, I release my monsters out into the world and they always come back looking a little different. An extra eye here, a spiky tail there. That sort of thing. :)
My monsters do change, with me and over time. And isn't the Kraken a sea based monster, wouldn't it then be under PosidensReplyDelete
It's what helped me write my first book. My friend was reading my chapters and she kept saying more and that got me going.ReplyDelete
Great post! I try to let my monster out often. When I don't he ends up in a fetal position in the corner of the room pretending he doesn't exist and that just won't do. ;)ReplyDelete
You're so right. In fact, my latest published novel, Looking for Anita, was only one more in a list of unfinished novels stored in my computer last spring (2009) until a writer's group friend asked to read a couple chapters. He gave an excellent critique which re-inspired me, and voila! I have a published novel ;-)ReplyDelete
Oh my! This is so true!! I've had to, on occasion, shoot an email out to my CPs and say stop reading! I'm resending tonight! Why? All because as soon as I hit SEND, a better way of writing a particular scene pops up and I want them to read the good version! I'm glad I'm not the only one this happens to!ReplyDelete
I love how you keep qualifying "monster" or "kraken" as "writing". Thanks for that. I might have misinterpreted your great post otherwise. =)ReplyDelete
Oh, I love this! Great post, Karen. I think I kept my monster caged up for far too long. I getting much better about letting him out more now, though. :-)ReplyDelete
My project often times feels like a monster to me and yes, when I share it with others, I suddenly feel like there are some serious changes that need to take place. I start imagining what they won't like about it and try to fix the holes before they have a chance to point them out. I think we all do it to a degree. And Yes, the little blue guy is cute! :)ReplyDelete
I don't share my ideas enough but it's changing and I get more inspiration when others get excited about reading what happens next. I love it! It helps my confidence and puts my writing into overdrive!ReplyDelete
Now I have to go watch Clash of the Titans...good thing I own it or I'd be in big trouble.
My monster hasn't really seen the light of day yet. Maybe in May. Maybe.ReplyDelete
There's a list of things I need to do to her (yep, she's a girl), before I can shove her into the world. I just want my monster to be able to fend for herself first.
Sounds like it's going to be a fun read! I don't face my monsters near enough. I suppose I should unleash them and watch them walk around a bit.ReplyDelete
Just so everyone knows - Karen's book is awesome! Stupendously awesome. She let her monster out, and let me tell you, it can strut it's stuff.ReplyDelete
It won't be long before you'll be reading her announcement of landing an agent. And then a big publishing deal. :)
Meg, you just made me all teary-eyed. Thanks for the huge compliment. I couldn't do it without you girls.ReplyDelete
What a great email conversation! That's so cool that you guys can inspire one another that way! Sounds like you've landed upon the perfect critique group!ReplyDelete
even if it's in a drawer and no one ever sees it the energy of your having written exists and goes out into the universe in some form. maybe our hidden gems are alive and being shown as movies on other planets! that is for those of you/us who still leave your/our writing inside notebooks inside drawers...but yes, let us share it...because it is for others, for the beautification of the world...and also when we give good energy we recieve it back manifold...ReplyDelete
Great analogy and very true. It's easy to consider your MS perfect when no one's seen it but you, even after several revisions, but sometimes it's not until you're actually ready to share it that you realize you want to REALLY perfect it. It can make a big difference.ReplyDelete
I also loved Clash of the Titans as a kid. I remember running around in a sheet wrapped up like a toga, playing Perseus for hours. I hope the new one is just as good.
Anyway I can't remember how I found your blog but I am now your 301st follower so feel free to visit mine and do the same.
I used to write and I was too shy to share it with other people. Eventually I stopped. Now I cannot hear the lovely stories whispering in the dark.ReplyDelete