I came down with some kind of virus last weekend, and am just now feeling more or less back to normal. I had some time yesterday morning to continue my “last pass” of editing on my manuscript, but had barely started when I got paged by system alerts from work. All of which to say, I haven’t made a lot of progress in the last week.

But I did get out last night, and made the dark and rainy drive downtown to BookPeople. It was the first Writers’ League of Texas “Third Thursday” panel discussion since I joined that group last month. The subject was “Writing Great Villains”, the third-floor room was standing-room only, and I’m glad I went. They usually record these, and make podcast episodes out of them, a fact that nearly made me skip attending in person. But for whatever reason last night, they didn’t have the sound equipment, so if I hadn’t gone, I’d have missed not only the discussion, but also meeting the fine folks I met. I’m already looking forward to going next month.

The discussion of villains was interesting. My novel’s villain isn’t a richly drawn, complex one, at least not yet, even though his name is my working title for the book. Hmm. Yet I’m not really sure whether he should be more complex. I see him as a figure representing a kind of terribleness that may not deserve more depth. And this is more genre fiction than literary, anyway. Doesn’t that mean I can get away with a one-dimensional bad guy? Not completely sure about this, but the topic and discussion last night has me thinking about it.

That was my second foray out into my local writers’ world since the new year began: I also attended a critique-group meetup last week. I had no idea what I was doing, but it was a positive experience. It was small, mostly folks who have known each other for a long time, very welcoming to the couple of us who were new. I didn’t take any of my writing yet; I only read and gave poor (I’m sure) feedback. I plan to keep attending that, though I have doubts that it will be the best match for me in the long term. I also plan to get in touch directly with a couple other aspiring writers I’ve met, to see about trying some critique work with them. Man, I really need to get this pass of edits done. I feel increasingly behind and blocked by that.

This is turning out to be pretty fun and exciting, so far! I even bought a book last night (Ben Winters’ Golden State, a 2020 Tournament of Books contender) and used my new Writers’ League discount. If that’s not official, what is?