Four years ago I was asked to create a workshop for people interested in writing. The idea was to cover some of the main topics, such as settings, conflicts and characters and give examples. The concept would cover an hour once a week for three weeks. It sounded like fun, so I agreed. Three weeks would be no problem.
At the end of the third session, a group of a dozen people basically blocked the door and demanded more. They were engaged in the material and wanted to continue meeting. The hour was expanded to ninety minutes and we began gathering twice a month.
It’s my nature to share information with others, particularly those interested in writing. While I’m quick to remind anyone who listens that I don’t know everything and can only talk about my own experiences, that’s often enough to keep the conversation going. So when facilitating the workshops, I gave examples of editing, submitting manuscripts, creating memorable characters, using humor to break the tension and ending a chapter on a note that makes the readers anxious to know what happens next.
About two years ago, I left the group to take a job in a different area. While I’m not in contact with them every month, some of the crew keeps in touch with emails and phone calls. Not only have they continued, but they group has grown, frequently adding new people.
Last week in a message with another update. Jerry, one of the people who took over the reins with my departure, describing how things we shared four years ago are still helping people write. Some are working on memoirs, others write poetry, fiction or even a travelogue.
Hooking the reader early is something I always try to do. Here’s an example from “Fleeing Beauty” the third book in the Jamie Richmond series.
I don’t want to die.
I’m not ready for it. There are too many things I haven’t experienced yet. Places to go, people to meet, adventures waiting to be discovered. I want to gaze at the stars over the Mediterranean Sea while making love with Malone. I want to fly in a sailplane. I want to stand on a beach in Key West and dip my toes in the ocean and the gulf. I want to travel to exotic lands, dine on their cuisine and dance my little ass off to the local music. I want all of that and much more.
But I don’t think any of that is going to happen.
We’re all going to die.
Once this gang gets what they’re after, there is no reason to leave us behind. They’re not going to lock us in a closet and make a run for it. We’ve all seen their faces. We know their names. We can identify them. There is no way they will let us live. Their leader has a violent streak and it’s only a matter of time before he lashes out again.
My mind is flashing through ways out of this. But nothing makes sense, nothing that will allow me to stop them, to guide us out of here safely.
I don’t want to die.
But there is nothing I can do to prevent it.
It's too early for Christmas carols for me. So here's an oldie from The Stray Cats that popped up this week.