Friday, October 18, 2019

The Writing Group Rules

 The blogger's topic for October is this:
 What unique situations have occurred in the writingprocess of any of your novels? Perhaps, but not limited to,things like where what you planned changed, or the direction you thought
the story was on deviated or transmuted?

I have a couple of tales of when my writing group objected to something I wrote and I changed my story because they said, "You can't do that! 

The first instance of this was in World of MIrrors (set in then East Germany) where a couple wanted to snoop around someone's house.  The owner wasn't home, but his watch dog (a dog who formerly patrolled the Death Zone around East Germany) was.  The dog pinned the couple down  in the driveway.  Didn't bite; didn't bark, but growled and threatened. The couple's so-called friend, arrived,  saw their dilemma, and  hauled off and shot the dog.
In the first iteration of the story, the dog died, and the friend told them to dump the dog in the harbor.
My writing group said: "You can't do that!  You can't kill a dog!"
"But he's a mean dog".
Didn't matter.  So, I changed the story.  The dog was still shot and  wrapped up in a tarp weighted down the rocks.  In the new version of the story, the dog whined when the tarp was opened, and the couple realized he was only wounded.  They had qualms. This presented a problem, because trying to explain to anyone about the dog would give them away.  It was the middle of the night and they were parked  on a sort of bridge by the harbor.  A car stopped and asked if they needed help.  They asked for the name of a vet.  The driver passed on that information and they took the dog to the vet and rang the bell, leaving a wad of West Marks and the dog.  Ran like hell.  This led to some interesting further complications in the story.

2nd Verse.  Another novel, this one Chased By Death, just published this month.  Another dire   situation.  In the desert, the heroine, trying to protect two kids, faces a man with a knife. He is a very bad man who has killed many people and he has held her hostage for an entire day. He doesn't know she has a gun. In the first version, he threatens her  and she shoots into the air because a helicopter is (maybe) about to land. The bad guy turns and  runs  toward the woman.  
My writing group said, "No, she has to shoot him.  He' could take them all hostage." So she shoots him. Stone cold dead. Helicoptet lands.  Yada Yada.  More satisfying because heroine has saved herself and the kids. Always better if the main character saves herself.  In this day and age.
Suspense and a woman in jeopardy.
My writing group would not let me kill a fierce dog, but had no qualms about my killing the evil man with the knife.  Crazy happenings on the writing front.  Both times, they were right.

The authors below no doubt have interesting tales.  Read on.
 A.J. Maguire
Connie Vines
Skye Taylor
Margaret Fieland
Helena Fairfax
Dr. Bob Rich
Diane Bator
Rhobin L Courtright


  1. Can't help but agree with the writer group. Don't kill the dog. In my opinion he was doing his job not out of meanness but because that's how he was trained. Great change idea. Ditto for your heroine saving herself. The days of a simpering heroine are well in the past.

  2. Critique partners can be great. I agree with their analysis and your changes. And yes, your new book cover is great...beautiful

  3. But Judy, the dog was still shot, just for doing his job faithfully. How unfair is that!
    Advice from people not involved in the writing is essential, isn't it? I am more than grateful to my group of beta readers who point out where I go wrong, reassure me through my doubts and suggest alternative ways of dealing with an issue.


Your comments are always welcome!