Rocky Mountain Writer #101

Shawn Harper & Matryoshka Blues

Shawn Harper calls it "the good kind of hurt."

That’s the hurt from hearing a comment at your critique group that means there’s work to be done, that your work in progress is not quite ready for prime time.

On Oct. 7, Shawn is one of four panelists leading RMFW's free monthly workshop called Getting the Most Out of Your Critique Group.

On the podcast, Shawn passes along a few pointers and suggestions if you’re thinking of diving into the critique group scene. And Shawn would tell you it’s a good idea. As he puts it, the process “helps you ways you don’t anticipate.”

Thanks to Shawn’s own critique group, a would-be short story morphed into Shawn’s first novella, Matryoshka Blues, the first in the Average Joe Mysteries. That book is now being expanded into a full-length novel and there’s a second title in the works.

In fact, the title of that book leads to a question about whether a writer needs permission to use a song lyric as a title and stay tuned after the recording for a few thoughts on this topic from an RMFW expert.

In addition to the chat with Shawn, we’ve got a new installment of Writer’s Rehab with Natasha Watts. This time, Natasha is here with some cautionary thoughts about the temptation to summarize conversations.

Follow Shawn on Twitter

Intro music by Moby Gratis

Outro music by Dan-o-Songs

For suggestions about content or to comment on the show, email Mark Stevens. Also feel free to leave a comment about the podcast on iTunes or your favorite podcast provider.

Host Mark Stevens: http://www.writermarkstevens.com

I Won!

I did it! I’m the best.

Problem is, I won the Writing Procrastination Award, hands down. I’ve managed to find about four hundred different reasons not to write – at least not what I was supposed to.

Some of my excuses are good ones – I submitted to the RMFW Anthology, I submitted to Gold, and I judged Gold. However, this is over about a three month period, and I can guarantee all three of those added together did not come close to that much time.

My other excuses included:

  • Obsessively watching every Harry Potter movie that I found on cable, some more than once
  • Rereading books I love, but…REreading
  • Having a yard sale (OK, so that took, like, DAYS to get ready for)
  • Ironing (yes, I still do that – but only when I’m avoiding writing)
  • Looking at recipes on the Internet, and in my cook books, and anywhere else I could find them (and not making them)
  • Reorganizing my cupboards in the kitchen (bonus – I found all the years-long expired ingredients that might have been fatal if used)
  • Buying, but not planting, a bunch of flowers and vegetables (Why not planted? Because I forgot I need to fix my irrigation system set up before they all died)

So now you have an idea about how scattered I’ve been this summer. It’s mid-July, and I promised myself I would have my WIP submitted to agents by end of August. I think I’m going to need to come up with some kind of horrible penalty if I don’t, like having my husband tear out the bathtub and replace it with a shower if I don’t (that would be a fate nearly worse than death to me!). Or I should get back in a critique group so I HAVE to get something written (cheaper, and probably more productive).

Are any of you having trouble focusing on writing this summer? What are your solutions?

I hope to see you all at Gold, if not sooner, and I won’t hold it against you if you ask me if I got my manuscript submitted. In the meantime, I solemnly swear to Write On!