by Patricia Kiyono
When I write, I guess I tend to focus on what’s happening. But things can only happen if there are characters to make them happen. And the characters don’t do things without a reason. That was the basis of our lesson from Christie Craig at our teaching sessions at the Mid-Michigan Romance Writers’ Retreat from Harsh Reality last weekend. She spoke with conviction and LOTS of humor, drawing from her own life experiences as well as giving examples from her many books.
It’s difficult to not be inspired when you’re in a beautiful relaxing setting along with 35 other authors. But the inspiration for powerful writing comes when you have someone who helps you see what is needed to make a story go from “Oh, that’s nice” to “Man, that was awesome!” Each month, we get together and share our writing news, and then after lunch and a meeting we listen to a presenter who will hopefully leave us with a little gem of an idea that will make our writing better.
But what about the time between our meetings? We set goals, and many of us reach at least some of them. The idea of local write-ins was brought up at our last meeting and will hopefully catch on. I know several writers in the Kalamazoo area get together weekly at a coffee shop. Others meet monthly at a restaurant. Some are set up as critique groups, where each person shares something they’ve written. Others are quiet times, when people gather with their laptops and simply write. It’s a lot easier to concentrate on what you’re writing when you don’t have the distractions of home and family.