The meeting of the Room Seven Group last night was an experience I want to share. Room Seven is certainly the best writers workshop of those I attend. The membership is selective. By invitation only. All the writers are quite talented and they are also good critics. Best of all, I count them among my friends.
I submitted Chapter 3 of the current work-in-progress, Inshallah. I admitted that I was starting to have doubts about the project; that I wasn’t confident in my ability to portray the law enforcement culture or to learn the mechanics of intelligence analysis as applied to counter-terrorism. Though I’m 17,000 words into the novel, my ‘thriller’ isn’t at all thrilling. I’m not setting the stakes in a way that will engage a reader.
My friends did more than bolster my confidence. They suggested alternatives to my approach. They made specific recommendations for plot structure. They offered ways around my ignorance and clarified my thinking.
The story needs a real antagonist. Zardad just doesn’t cut it. I’ll keep him as a plot line, as a tragic figure to illustrate the cost of fanaticism, but I will add a subplot and an antagonist that brings the stakes, public and personal, into focus and challenges Hector to the max.
I left the meeting recharged and recommitted. That’s what a good workshop can do. I’m so glad they invited me to join this one.