The Importance of Writing Colleagues

I recently remarked on Facebook that I was thinking of going back to writing fiction. I had just received a nice Amazon reader review for a novel I wrote 25 years ago and it reminded me that I’ve always wanted to write more fiction at some point in my career. I even had a title I liked. That’s a good start—a title, but no story to go with it.

Then yesterday I met with a writing colleague over coffee and the conversation eventually led to my mulling over a return to fiction. I told her I had a title but that was all. One thing led to another and about twenty minutes later as a result of our conversation, I had my characters, a brief understanding of the plot, and the setting—rural Ohio, early 20th century. I’ve had this sort of thing happen before. You probably have too. To me, that’s one function of a good writer’s group. In addition to the critique function of the group, the cross fertilization of creative minds is a powerful thing. If you can’t get past a bump in your book, you may need someone to talk it out with.

That’s not the end of my story, however, After I left my colleague, I had a wonderful serendipitous event that even further propelled my interest in returning to fiction. On the way home I dropped in at one of my favorite local thrift stores to look at their used books. There I found a copy of a 1901 book on the pioneer people of Fairfield County, Ohio. That will aid in my research immeasurably. This sequence of events is something you’ve probably experienced too. Sometimes that’s the way God directs our writing. In my case, it went something like this:

Title idea –> Unexpected Amazon reader review –> Fruitful conversation with colleague –> Useful research book falls into my hands.

I don’t know the next arrow…or if there will be one. And, frankly, I don’t even know if this book idea will go anywhere. The point is that I have a LOT of ideas and it’s fun to watch and see how God opens and closes doors on our projects. I’ll just have to wait and see how this idea fares in the long run.

If your WIP is troubling you and you don’t know where to go next, I suggest a nice conversation over coffee with a writing colleague. It can work wonders.

4 replies
  1. BJ Hoff says:

    Love hearing that you might be interested in setting a novel in Fairfield County, Nick. That’s where we live! It’s one of the most–if not THE most–scenic areas in Ohio. You really should do some on-site research, don’t you think?!


  2. B J Bassett says:

    So true. I love brain storming with my daughter and my online critique group. It also helps writer’s block. Was the book These Years of Promise? I cried when I read it. As writers, we are to make the reader laugh or cry. You did it. And I’ve only cried after reading a few books. Great book.

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