I took the first two chapters of The Reluctant Wizard to writer's group last night and told them to be as critical as possible.
And they were.
Linda says I got self-defensive, but I prefer to think I was trying to wrap my head around their critiques and understand where they were coming from.
I've always said, that a writer at group refuses the advice at his own peril. Because mostly, overall, they can be right. (Sometimes they're wrong, but you can usually kind of tell...) I mean, when it is done for other people, they are usually right on -- therefore I have to assume they are right on when they do it to me.
So I took what they said very seriously.
The one problem I see sometimes though, is they want the entire book's problems solved in the one or two chapters that are read.
There is a premium on Show not Tell examples.
There is a premium on instant action.
None of which is wrong, but not all of it is altogether right. I like to believe you can have a little leeway in building the story, over the course of a book.
Anyway, what will happen is I'll mull over what they said for a few days, and often come around to realizing that I can, indeed, do much of what they say.
The problem is -- finding where they are right; and where they are substituting their judgement for mine. Where they are right, I need to find out which problems I can do something about and what I can't do anything about.
I may have seemed defensive -- but I sort of wanted -- if you well - for them to sort of defend their critique and see if it held water. I hope they won't be discouraged from offering their opinions again.
One thing has come out of this -- I think it may be important to actually have a goodly part of a book finished, or even finished altogether, before you expose yourself to open critique.
I'm a big boy, I can handle it.
2 days ago