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.