Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Ane Mulligan ~ Guest Blogger
To date, Ane Mulligan has published four scripts with LifeWay's NDS® and Lets Worship®; six with Christian Creative Arts Association, both online and in two CD compilations; and ten with DramaShare. She has four articles published in two drama e-zines and two devotions accepted for a daily devotional book. Her novel When the Wind Blows is a 2007 Genesis finalist and When the Bough Breaks is a 2006 ACFW Genesis finalist. She's also got a blog: www.anemulligan.blogspot.com
A website: http://www.anemulligan.com/
And is part of the terrific Novel Journey blog: www.noveljourney.blogspot.com,
Whether it's novels or plays, writing is her passion, but using her talent to serve the Lord is her grand passion.
The Writing Journey
Quills of a Feather Should Flock Together
By Ane Mulligan
I'm having dinner in a restaurant with some friends, when a snippet of a conversation at the table behind me catches my attention. Tuning out my friends' chatter, I lean back in my seat to get closer.
A female voice hints at panic. "I left my camera in the taxi."
It sparks a "what if" moment. What if the film contained photos of national secrets? I glaze over as a scene begins to play out inside my head, and I plot the demise of the known free world. Who would my heroine be? And her sidekick—gotta have a quirky sidekick. I grab a napkin and start making notes.
"Ane? Earth to Ane …"
I blink. My friends shake their heads, and when I try to explain, they look at me like I've gone around the bend. They don't hyperventilate over mere words, and not one of them has characters talking inside their heads.
Before you call for an exorcist, these "voices" are the stories God gives a writer. But the gift of a creative mind comes wrapped in idiosyncrasies and beautifully tied with oddities. Everything you see and hear becomes a story. Try explaining that to your spouse or best friend. No one but another writer understands those voices.
By necessity, a writer's life is singular. You have to sequester yourself with your characters to get the manuscript written. But when you've finished and come up for air, what then? With whom can you share the joy of its creation? Who's interested in hearing about the great metaphor you used, or how you set the parable of the talents in a twenty-first century college town?
Whether it's scripts or books, writing is a lonely life—except of course, for the voices—and your family and friends, unless they're writers, won't understand you. I wouldn't waste much time trying, just accept it. So where do you find other writers who will share all your foibles?
If you're writing to publish, a critique group is as essential as air. And so are the fellowship groups. There are a number of great Christian writer's groups online, and you might even find a local, in-person group.
A critique group (better known as "crit" group) will help you grow in your craft. While your Aunt Mary thinks your writing is brilliant, unless she's an editor, I wouldn't give much credence to her opinion. Even your friends think you're wonderful. Get the opinion of other writers. We're too close to our own work to see its flaws. A crit group will hone your writing, making it shine. Develop a thick skin and incorporate the suggested changes.
A fellowship group is a great place to learn the business of writing and publishing. If you go to Yahoo and click on Groups, then put Christian writers groups in the search box, you'll come up with a lot of possibilities. Most have email loops where you can ask questions and receive answers. I've listed some of the best online groups. These are all Christian groups. I belong to each of them.
American Christian Fiction Writers: www.acfw.com (ACFW has an email loop with published and unpublished authors, agents and editors as members. They also offer free online writing courses, and they hold an annual conference with the largest number of editors and agents in attendance.)
Christian Writers Fellowship International: http://www.cwfi-online.org/ (this group is for both fiction and non-fiction writers)
The Writers View: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TheWritersView/ (this group has 2 levels; one for professional/advanced writers and one (TWV2) for beginners. Both have a panel of experts – editors, agents and published writers – to help with topics and questions.)
Kingdom Writers: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KingdomWriters/ (This is a critique group. If you've never been in one, I suggest you start here.)
The important thing is to connect. As writers, we need community. So join a crit group, and go to writers conferences.