Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Yes, someone has read my pages and that someone is not me

It's happened.  I gave pages of my novel to a new writers group I've joined and have lived to see another day — AND have given them more pages.  (These are them, waiting to be put into nice little 20 page packages).

So other people have begun to read this novel and the best part is that nobody said they hate it.  Well, actually, you're not really allowed to say that but I didn't quite get the feeling anyone was holding there tongue here.  More importantly I got some great feedback on things that are and aren't working.  What I love is that a lot of the parts that I felt maybe weren't jiving quite so well are things that came up during my critique.  This means a lot to me because I think it's that kind of instinct about your art that sets you apart.  What comes to mind here are the contestants on talent shows that are really terrible but for some reason think they're really good.  I know sometimes there are jokesters but when they're not I always wonder how on earth these people cannot judge their work against others and see they've got a long way to go?  Case in point:

That's pretty much my biggest fear, to be devoting so much time and wanting to build a career at something I'm no good at, and I just can't SEE how bad I suck.  I don't have to be the best.  I know I'm far from it, but if my writing is comparable to the duet in this video, please,  PUH-LEASE, tell me.

My new writers group seems honest and caring and more importantly they're encouraging.  In group we focus mostly on writing exercises and this is great because I get to write other things that aren't my novel, and there wouldn't be any of that if not for this group.

I found the group online, as part of LA Writers Group.  It's eight weeks long and besides writing and critiquing each other's work, we also have a little break where we get to munch on some snacks and talk writing, or not talk writing, with other writers, which doesn't always happen so often because, you know, we're supposed to be writing.  Here's some of us not writing but maybe talking about writing, maybe not.

These days a lot of writing talk takes place online on different forums like Absolute Write and Nathan Bransford's forums and that's great too but sometimes it's really nice to be looking into the smiling faces of other writers instead of the computer screen.  Unless you're looking into the face of one of those serious writers I spoke about earlier.  You remember, writers who make faces like this. Thankfully, there are none of those in this group.

It's scary putting your work out there.  Especially when you're handing it to people you don't know.  What I tell myself is to listen carefully, remember these are just opinions and some will ring true (hopefully) and some won't.  I try not to get offended or down on myself when listening to criticism and go in with the attitude that constructive criticism can only make my work better.  A criticism is not like a mistake.  The critique may seem to be dressed up like Freddy Krueger at first, but it shapeshifts.  There it is all decked out in ghoulish garb, but if it's being respectful (and you know what to do with it) you'll realize the criticism is actually Glinda, that good witch, parting the clouds.

And actually, I guess mistakes can do that too :)

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