Tuesday, March 09, 2010

On Getting Tough...

Writers groups are so much fun! We all support one another and root one another on. When no one else in the world can understand our frustrations, a fellow groupie can. Nothing quite like it, is there? It's all chocolate and roses, until...

We ask for a critique. And get what we asked for. Only what we got wasn't exactly what we hoped to get. We were looking for something in a gold box, tied with a red bow, a sweet note inside saying, "If I died today I could die happy having read this story. My life is fulfilled."

Instead what we got is a note on the outside of a cardboard box saying, "Think outside the box." "This story has no structure, no POV, no emotion. It isn't believable, it isn't properly written. If I died today it would be heartbreaking that this story was the last thing I read. I'm going for a newspaper right now."

A devestaed writer hangs his head and cries. "They don't understand me...I was being subtle...I was using undertones...I was going for effect! It's my style for God's sake! How can they not see what beauty I have given them. I HATE them! They are just stupid!"

The writer has two choices here. They can either wait a few days, calm down and read the critique again, forcing themselves to go line by line and begin murdering those darlings...and some orphans too; or they can wad up the note along with the story, put it all in the box and set it on fire. Walk away, never to write again.
(Well I guess they might try and send the story out as they wrote it, being certain that the critiquer was wrong. But that would be publishing suicide)
If the writer is going to become and author, he best learn to write a story properly. The best way to learn the technique is by a critique of our peers. Once we throw our fits, get mad, eat dirt and get all the drama out of the way, we get a tougher skin; we begin to evolve in who we really are, storytellers.

The quicker you learn to take critisism of your work, the more rapidly the tough skin will grow and before you know it, you see it for what it is; a hand up.



Cheryl said...

What a smart Gwanny you are. I feel lucky that I don't take critiques personal...or rejection for that matter. Life would be very miserable if I did.

I've got two critique groups running now. Recently I had someone offer less than positive feedback on a chapter from a story that I've received loads of praise on up until now. Okay, that stung for a moment, but I have to wonder if this person is right.

I'll know when I get ready to revise it. Either way, I'm always glad for the praise or criticism I receive from my fellow writers.

Keep the great posts coming, Sherry.


Bob said...

You are correct. Writers need to be critiqued in order to improve their writing. If a person finds it hard to accept corrective comments then they will have a tough time learning the craft of writing.

Bob (onepozy)

leang heng said...

The great posts!!