The Road to World Conquest: Like minds
So, this week I attended my first Durham writers meet-up gathering at the Barnes & Noble on New Hope Commons.
I haven’t thought of myself primarily as a writer in a long time. I’ve never really stopped writing, because I certainly created a lot of content for Fallen Earth, wrote poses, descriptions and dialogue for OtherSpace, but all that work has been in service to something else: Game design.
The last time I felt something akin to what occurred Tuesday night was probably more than twenty years ago, back when I sat in that comfortable circle of chairs with the staff of the Valencian magazine at Valencia Community College. This group I met with was the subset that’s specifically interested in science fiction and fantasy. Every couple of weeks, they meet to share what they’re working on and to get feedback from others.
Back at Valencia, where I met two of my best friends, Jeff and Liz, our work was rendered anonymous, photocopied, handed out, and then scored with critiques. Ironically, after a few sessions, the anonymity sort of went out the window because people could spot our writing styles. But there’s no anonymity in this new group, which sits around a table in the bookstore and reads selections aloud before getting feedback.
I didn’t submit anything to read for the first meeting. I just wanted to get a feel for how things worked, study the group a little, and get a sense of the personalities at work. But I didn’t just sit there and listen. When people read, I gave feedback that I certainly hope was helpful. I don’t think I savaged anyone, I just pointed out when things felt too passive or when I wanted a better feeling of urgency and immersion.
As things wrapped up, our group leader took volunteers for reading at the next meeting. I wasn’t going to do it at first, but a few thoughts occurred to me:
* I’ve joined this writers group. So, time to get back to writing. Really writing. This would motivate me to get the ball rolling almost immediately.
* I’m not good at fence-sitting. I want to be in the mix. That means diving right on in. Best way for me to get the most out of the group.
* It’s only fair. Several people read their work Tuesday night and got my feedback, good and bad. They ought to have the chance to return that favor.
So, up went my hand.
I’m now on the hook to write something new to share with the group. It’s exciting. They’re a bunch of good people, sharp and funny, and all interested in improving their work and helping others to do the same. I’m glad that I’ve connected with them.
Now, to write.
What I’m Reading
Blackout by Connie Willis
What I’m Playing
Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War II
You Don't Know Jack
World of Warcraft
Left 4 Dead 2
What I’m Writing
No Son of Hekayt - Book I: Artifacts
Free to download in PDF format!
Coming soon: 31 Days of OtherSpace - 1 work of fiction a day during March 2011.