Wednesday, October 10, 2012

$&%&$ Writer's Group!

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.

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