One on One Outside the Box

One on One Outside the Box

Interesting title, you might think, but what is the meaning? Actually, I was combining two thoughts in one title to convey a couple of writing tools I utilized this past weekend. Before I go there, it is helpful for you to know that I have created in my writing world (as I suspect most of us have), some very set patterns. Once a month RWA meetings. Weekend blog writing. Wednesday evenings, critique group. Before bedtime reading of MS pages with a bit of red lining. And spaced in between all that and the other regular life stuff, I snatch blocks of time where I can do a bit of novel writing.

thinking-outside-the-box-33399_640A full and dynamic world I’ve established for myself, but once in a while it’s nice and extremely valuable to step Outside the Box of normalcy. Shake things up a bit, as it were. For me, this came in the guise of a weekend trip to Austin to visit a writing friend. Several years ago she moved from Houston to Austin, so while we keep up with each other, it’s rather peripheral. Facebook lurking mostly. But she asked if I was available for some brainstorming, and I eagerly accepted. So2000px-ONE_Campaign.svg Friday I headed for Austin.

This is the second time I’ve enjoyed such a weekend, and I’m here to tell you they are magical. Why exactly (besides the obvious)? I don’t think you can escape the notion that we writers tend “a smidge” towards narcissism. I mean really, imagine thinking what we have to say warrants not only writing it down, but then thinking that someone will actually pay to read it. That being said, this narcissist revels in the opportunity to talk about my WIP (Work In Progress) not in terms of fifteen or twenty minutes snatches or a few pages at a time, but for hours and hours and hours. There ain’t NOTHING like One on One time.

2000px-ONE_Campaign.svgSo, I got to spend an hour or so telling her all about my story, filling in plot points when questions arose. We talked about holes, twists, possible ideas. It was freaking awesome. Then we stopped, grabbed a snack, took a potty break, whatever, came back and did the same thing for her WIP. And since we had nothing to do but talk, we also caught up with personal stuff not to mention getting up to speed with other writing activities. I mean what writer is only working on one thing?

Even if you only work on one MS (Manuscript) at a time, there’s research, perhaps you’ve purchased and are trying out Scrivener, maybe even you serve on the board of your local RWA chapter and have some To-Do’s for the upcoming Conference. (Yes, there is a real conference – Starfish Writers Conference, featuring NYT bestselling author Sarah MacLean. Click on the link and check it out!)

And after that? We talked about our stories even more. In my busy world, the slow pace of this weekend and the chance to so fully discuss my stories with someone who listened, cared and helped was like . . . not to put too fine a point on it, like a cleanse. Afterwards I felt lighter, energized, and churning with fresh new thoughts. So, thanks a mill K. P. Gresham (click on the covers to check out her books). I hope you got as much from our time together as I did. Never, ever stop calling me, and I promise to never, ever stop coming to Austin. You rock.

Three Days at Wrigley Feild The Preacher's First Murder

Lorinda Peake

Lorinda Peake wrote her first ditty when she was ten on an English seashore while visiting her British grandmother. From then on, her family either acted in or were treated to plays, skits, or commercial spoofs. In school, she wrote poetry, fables and short stories.

Years later, she tossed down a particularly bad novel and thought, “I could do at least that well.” She’s been pursuing the elusive published novel ever since. Recently, she joined a group of fellow writers who decided to cajole, bully, encourage, and sometimes baby each other along towards the publishing goal by setting real and measurable writing objectives with “motivational” consequences for non-attainment.

Lorinda loves a good romance – all the more if it is wrapped in a great fantasy setting. She lives on the Texas Gulf Coast with her husband of 34 years.

10 thoughts on “One on One Outside the Box

  1. I miss Kathy, too. I enjoyed Wrigley Field, and I remember rolling on the floor when she read bits of the Preacher in BK’s class. Must track it down on my Kindle and read the whole book–if only there was more Reading Time!

    1. I remember that scene – the one that had us rolling. It’s still out there, and I got a chance to revisit it when we got together.

  2. I loved all our brainstorming weekends with BK and the Groupies. I miss those times. The blogs are great – keep up the good work! This way I can live vicariously through y’all. 🙂 I read Preacher’s First, then turned it over to my sister. Like you, Other Kay, as I read it I remembered all the times in class when Kathy was trying to be serious and we were all rolling in the floor. My sister loved it as well. She was going through chemo at the time and needed a lift. That book did the trick.

    1. Miss BK, and it’s hard having Kathy so far away, but thank goodness for email and texting – cause you can harass anybody anytime electronically! Hee hee!

  3. A cleanse?
    Really, though, you are right on point. This was the weekend from writing heaven. I never would have been able to combine what needed to happen in #3 of a trilogy (needed based on resolution of the overall plot, etc.), but I had NOTHING fresh to put into a new plot. Your input, questions, ideas were AWESOME.
    BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed working with your trilogy as well. To the point that I went to bed thinking about it, and, in one of my most creative haunts — the morning shower — gave it some more think=time. I was really anxious to get back to talking about your stories.
    I miss my BK groupies terribly. The memories of those nights and week-ends we spent together critiquing, learning from BK and each other, brainstorming, etc. are by far the best I have of a writing community. You guys have my love.

  4. I remember you sleeping in the cubby under the stairs at BK’s – Seems like forever ago. And what I’ve found about brainstorming is that most people know what needs to happen, they just need to talk it out loud with someone who is really familiar with their story. Helping to figure out what will happen next to that sexy, super cool Preacher Man was great fun.

    We worked on my stories. We talked about my role in HBA RWA, Now remind me to tell you about my ancient Roman mythology meets Texas History storyline – cause right only Kathy knows about that one!

  5. You’re spot-on, Lorinda, about getting outside our usual venues for some one-on-one brainstorming and story-sharing time.

    In my case, my Dear Him writes, too, so all I have to do is stick my head in the office and say, “Is Plot Man available?” More often than not, my own caped crusader is rarin’ to go and we can happily spend an hour or more talking through a synopsis or digging into the nuances of a new character. (It helps that he’s actually reading the Promise House novellas and finds them more accessible than my action-adventure stories.)

    I also have a writing buddy in Colorado and we’ve been trying to finagle a weekend at her mountain cabin for about a year… I have got to make this a priority for next summer!

  6. Maintaining long distance relationships takes effort but well worth it. Hope you make it to CO soon.

    And how great is it to have a fellow plotter within hailing distance? Kinda jealous about that.

  7. I am way behind reading your blog but I am happy to read details of your Austin trip and to know how much it helped and motivated you. It is difficult for we non-writers to know what will act as motivation. You know you have our support but I know that is not always enough.
    Keep writing.

    1. The funny thing is that motivation can come from the most unlikely places. You never know, so just keep doing what you are doing. The muses strike when they strike!

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