Recently, I was looking for some feedback for my new project, so I ended up joining this workshop led by my editor with a group of five writers with whom I've taken online classes in the past.  (It's all kinds of sticky, yes, but I talked it over with my agent beforehand and he said I could proceed . . . with caution.)

They have a system set up and had already been going at it for about six weeks before I was invited to join.  Which meant that if I wanted the feedback I gave them moving forward to be relevant, I needed to catch up on everything they'd already posted.  Three of them already had submitted over 60 pages and the other two had about 20 each.  So, yes. I read over 220 manuscript pages to get caught up on their work.

Three weeks ago, I turned in my outline which was about 16 double-spaced pages.  This week, I turned in a revised 14-page outline.  Both were definitely over the 10-page limit that they try to stick to.  But they are also scene-by-scene outlines, so I can't just post 10 pages and then wait until the next week to turn in the rest.  I assumed that everyone would understand this because I'd let them know in advance that I'm trying to hammer out my outline first so that I can move forward with my second draft with a very clear vision.  And I didn't post anything for the week in between to make up for it.  Also, I have no intention of going over 10 pages a week when I actually start with manuscript pages.

Anyway!  One of the participants started a new (slightly bitchy) thread today about how she wishes people would stick to the 10-page limit because she has no time for writing her own stuff anymore.  I haven't been paying close attention to who goes over 10 pages and who doesn't.  But I do know, of course, that I have.  In three week's time, I turned in exactly 30 pages, but I did it in two chunks instead of three.

I'm having kind of a "fuck this" feeling about the whole thing.  Not my writing, story, or my outline.  Just the group dynamic.  I'm not used to coming in late to a thing like this and being the new person.  I am sensing that maybe a couple of them really didn't want a new person in the group, but the others did, so here I am.  It's almost like I'm supposed to super accommodating and apologize for my existence and I'm not really feeling that.  They aren't doing me any more of a favor than I'm doing them.  Maybe this was a bad idea.

The feedback I've received from most of them has been helpful, so this experience hasn't been a total waste, but NOT ONE PERSON is willing to get into a dialogue with me or answer any of my questions on the message board.  And why?  What is a message board for?  I'm happy to brainstorm with them.  Isn't that the point of this whole thing? 

I'd wanted to have my outline and at least 15-20 pages ready for my agent by May 1st.  Not going to happen.  I'm losing momentum with all this waiting around. 

I need a new plan.