These days more than ever, we need our “writing tribe”. This week Writescape welcomes guest blogger Lori Twining. She blogs with other writing friends at AscribeWriters.com and adds laughter and inspiration whenever she joins us on Writescape retreats. As we wait patiently for the days when we can once again get together with writing friends, we listen in on a gathering of Lori’s writing tribe when they met at Mudtown Station last summer.
Guest Blog – Lori Twining
I’m out tonight with my writing friends. You know them. People who hardly ever escape from their houses. Mostly introverts. But get my Ascribe Writers group to Mudtown Station in Owen Sound on the back patio (reserved for the noisy folks), drinking special beer, eating amazing cauliflower steak covered in almonds and raisins and special sauce, and these people want to tell stories. Their stories.
Storytellers know all the best stories are built around conflict and questions to be answered. Right from the start.
So we play a game:
Assume you only have two minutes to tell your story. Two minutes is generous, because everyone at the table has a story they are dying to tell too, and they want to cut in and interrupt your exciting tale. It’s a competitive world out there, so how do you compete?
You start out with a killer line full of intrigue or conflict. A line that grabs their attention so they want to hear more. They become quiet. They listen.
If you are eavesdropping on these loud and happy writers this Thursday night, you hear first lines of stories that are intriguing. They make you want to pull up a chair and join them:
“Well, the first time I tried Cocaine, it wasn’t good, I mean it was goooood, but…”
“We put in-floor heating in our butcher room.”
“It’s not easy for a woman to ride a crotch rocket at the age of 52.”
“I made this new friend in Colombia, and I didn’t know he was a drug lord at the time, but he invited us in…”
“An active night of passionate sex is great for sleeping like the dead.”
“My wife has a conversation with a guy named Rocky every single morning.”
“My wife removed my island without asking me first!”
“I might commit murder before I retire.”
“I hate wearing pants.”
We writers feed off of each other. Our first lines with snippets of intrigue become stories full of conflict—suspenseful or creepy or funny enough to have us laughing until we cry. And keeping to the two minutes forces us to get to heart of the story right away and stay there.
They say introverts are not that fun at parties. We say it’s all in the company you keep. For me, it’s these weird and wonderful people who write and create art in some way gathered here on Thursday night at Mudtown Station. Writing buddies getting together to share our knowledge, experiences and stories with each other.
Writing groups are great, if you keep in mind why you are hanging out with them. If they help you stay positive during your bouts of doubts, if they support you and don’t throw negative toxic comments out about you or your writing, then they are keepers.
These people I hang out with have crazy obsessions, strange thoughts and fantastic storytelling abilities, but they match my own and that makes me smile. Laughter is contagious and sooooo comforting. I think I’m where I want to be… surrounded by conflict and intrigue—and amazing writer friends.
Lori Twining writes both fiction and nonfiction, with her stories winning awards in literary competition and appearing in several anthologies. She’s an active member of many writing groups: International Thriller Writers, Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters In Crime International, Toronto Sisters In Crime, Romance Writers of America, Toronto Romance Writers and Ascribe Writers. She’s a lover of books, sports and bird watching, and a hater of slithering reptiles and beady-eyed rodents.
Find more info at www.lvtwriter.com; Twitter: @Lori_Twining