My favorite class in high school was Adv. Art Honors. You had to have the teacher's permission to be in the class. That involved taking Art 1, and showing her a portfolio of your work. If she likes it, you were in. You could repeat the class yearly, which we all did.
In class we were able to dabble around with different media. I tried needlepoint, silk screen, pen and ink, and finally watercolors. Our senior year we had to pick one media and base our work on it. I chose watercolor. I excelled at it-won some awards and even had my art on display at school and places around town. There was a point I was working on a huge painting (size), and our teacher was out for the week. Prior to leaving she told me she wanted me to try mix media in my watercolor-she wanted me to add acrylic paint to my watercolor. She gave me basic instructions and turned me loose.
Her first words to me upon her return to class were-Stop! You're ruining it. It wasn't said in a mean way-after being under her instruction for 3 years I knew it was her personality. But what was I ruining? I has painted a picture of a guy in a boat, fishing in the middle of a storm so fierce, the sky was grey and the seas were choppy foam. My thought was to add the acrylic paint on top of the watercolor to emphasize the clouds and the waves. While painting I never liked the way it looked so I kept adding black here, and white there, until in frustration I was going to paint it all gray and move on to something else.
She came along side me and dipped my brush in white acrylic paint, put her hand over mine, and helped me paint a white-capped wave. She paitiently did this several times, then she removed her hand and watched me fix the rest of the waves.
My writing is alot like my painting, I need someone to come along side me and tell me to Stop! Or show me how to fix something.
I know there are areas in my first novel I need to fix, but I need an expert to show me the best way.
I tried joining a writer's group. Our assignment was to take the story of Cinderella and rewrite it. We had ten minutes. As the others gathered read what they had written, it dawned on me-wow Des, you really are way out there. They had all, to a person, rewritten it, continuing in the happily ever after vein.
What did I write-I made Cinderella a bully who harassed and beat up her sister to get the invitation to the ball. It is Cinderella who rules the household with an iron fist and makes the women cry.
So I'm still looking for a like-minded (insane), writing group or class that can help me fix what I know needs fixing, and catch things I never saw.