Yesterday was the first official meeting of the new Cleveland Heights-University Heights Parents’ Book Club Writing Workshop [to be given its own official name in the very near future] and it was a rousing success. Jane, who made this whole thing possible, opened up her home for us to meet and very warmly offered coffee, tea, pastry and fresh fruit to accompany our discussion. This workshop is her brainchild and without Jane, we would not have been sitting around her dining room table sharing ideas and experiences and offering support.
The Workshop actually began on September 29th when I sent an email to the class roster and initiated what I like to call “distance learning.” After all, why not take advantage of technology whenever possible. We all lead busy lives and need all the help we can muster to keep our dreams alive. Since then a couple of us exchanged emails and ideas and started down the path to this successful Saturday meeting.
I went to the meeting thinking I was one going to be the “teacher” but soon learned that it was going to be a collaborative effort between me and this group of amazing women. I still have much to offer but I also have much to learn. I might add at this point that of the 11 who signed up, only Amiyna, Terry and Holly were able to attend this first meeting. But Holly brought her writing partner, Natalie, and Terry indicated that her life partner, Maura, plans to participate in the future. So we’ve got a great core group and if any of those who were unable to attend are still interested, now would be a good time to get in touch with me or Jane. We would love you to be part of our Workshop but we do need to hear from you.
Now back to yesterday: Molly and Natalie are already working on a novel and have made copious notes on plot development and structure. A couple of weeks ago, they sent me 5 pages to critique and have now added more descriptive passages and have started to flesh out the direction of the narrative. Terry also had sent me a couple of pages of her budding novel and is now working on character and plot development. She shared with us her ideas for a story with supernatural overtones that is very intriguing. Amiyna touched our hearts deeply with the words she has crafted in the style of a journal and we gave her many pointers on how to use her experiences and her gift of words to develop her story. She is perhaps the most shy about being part of a group but I shared my past insecurities with her and told her that she should focus not on what she brings to the meetings but what she takes away from them.
To the future: Molly and Natalie are going to continue working on their story and perhaps get us set up with Google Docs or some other file-sharing program. Terry offered her home for the next meeting on November 23rd and has plans for more character development for her protagonist, Lane. Amiyna is going to continue journaling her experiences and create vignettes that can be structured into a traditional story arc. Bonus: Molly and Natalie agreed to be beta readers for Lake Effect, something I desperately need to meet my target publication date of December 15.
All in all, it was a great meeting with a fantastic group of women. Thanks, Jane, for making this possible!