Turning Leaves

   This past weekend, I embarked on a ‘writing retreat’ through Writescape at the Sir William Mackenzie Inn in Kirkfield, Ontario. I was a little apprehensive at first. I didn’t know what to expect except that the workshops were guaranteed to be the boost I needed (How could they not, Ruth Walker and Gwynn Scheltema were the facilitators). Not only was the building and grounds a goldmine of scattered ideas, but the ‘guest’ speaker, Susanna Kearsley, was gracious and a great source of information for soon to be authors; all that and she is a ridiculously fantastic writer.

   Add to that the collection of voices of the other writers attending which generated a creative energy that my muse lapped up greedily. I got some character work done on my new novel and some scenes I wouldn’t have gotten sitting at my desk at home. There is something to be said for a change of scenery.

   The quality of writing under Sir William MacKenzie’s roof, was humbling for me. While it was exhilarating to hear, it shone a blinding light on areas I hadn’t even thought of. Now before you get all defensive on my behalf, I have thick skin and saw this as a learning experience. Afterall, it’s a sad day when you don’t learn something new, right?

   So I’m home again, the clouds of confusion have lifted and I’m back at work. I’ve modified Echoes a bit (according to the feedback from my critiquing group and armed with the new knowledge from the retreat) and I am building the characters for Appetites.

   For those who don’t know, Appetites is about two evils loose in the night – the same but different – and which one do you fear the most. The problem with this scenario, is that the main character is a convicted rapist that has been ‘reformed’. My worry here is that who is going to be able to suspend their revulsion for this monster, to read the book? Plus there is the fear that people will think I’m somehow glorifying or supporting his actions prior to his conviction.

   Ultimately, my fear is that by making him wrongly convicted, it takes away one of the appetites loose in the night and he becomes a clichéd Byronic hero. Sigh…

   Nobody said writing was easy.

About Dale Long

Writing ambushed me from the shadows. At first I pushed it aside as nonsense, but luckily my wife and two girls saw the potential. Since then I have had an article published by Metroland, placed as runner-up and in the top ten in humour writing contests and various other contests. The icing on the cake was placing as runner-up in the WCDR's Wicked Words contest (130 entries) and having my entry published in the contests anthology of the same name. My entry was an exerpt from my upcoming novel, Echoes.
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4 Responses to Turning Leaves

  1. hmmm…don’t you love how you gain new perspective with new people and places? It’s what makes it frustrating, but also exilerating.

    I think you should push ahead and not make him wrongly convicted, and see where it takes you. Go big, go bad. As a reader I always want something new, something on the edge. Take me someplace I haven’t been a hundred times. I think it will be harder for you to write, but I think the potential for edge of the seat reading is hanging there.

    Just my two cents, and let’s be honest – you don’t want to do it the easy way. 🙂

    • Dale Long says:

      Hahaha!! No, I don’t want to do it the easy way. I figure if it was easy, i did it wrong. Kinda like assembling something from the store. Leftover pieces doesn’t mean I fogot something, it means I built it more efficiently than the manufacturer.

  2. Theresa says:

    I have to agree with you about the weekend. The grounds in and around the inn were a goldmine and I wish I’d brought a camera. The creative energy you feel when surrounded by other writers inspires and pushes you to stretch yourself. The presenters rocked and the weekend ended too quickly for me.

    As for Appetites – I hope you find that difficult road to allow your protagonist to capture the imagination of readers. After all our discussions I’m still not sure whether I’ll be able to buy into his reformation. But you never know.

    • Dale Long says:

      Yes, the weekend ended too fast. Ha! I brought my camera and forgot to take pictures and the ones I did take, turned out blurry.

      And as for Appetites, I’ve never been one to back away from a challange.

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