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.