Sunday, June 19, 2011

My first writer's group experience

Well, I guess I can't say it's my first time. I did meet with writers doing NaNoWriMo for a few years every November. Yet most of them weren't serious writers and, as the month progressed, it turned more into a knitting circle. I don't knit.

I have a bunch of writer friends online and two great critique partners, but it's not the same as meeting face-to-face. I've been to conventions and attended workshops. Yet a regular writer's group is invaluable if you can find a good one.

Only three other people showed up to the meeting. Summers are slow. I was greeted warmly. They are super nice people. That helped put me more at ease. I wasn't as nervous as I thought I'd be. We critiqued two other short stories before we got to mine. These folks are experienced at story critiques. Wow. My critiquing skills pale in comparison. There's a lot I can learn from them in that aspect. Being able to critique someone else's story well helps you to better do so to your own.

They didn't hold back. They gave me the truth about my story. I wanted an honest and unbiased opinion, and I got it. If I were the same person I was ten years ago, I wouldn't have been able to take the criticism. It could have been seen as brutal. As I've gotten older, my skin has thickened. I hope I took the criticisms with grace. I listened to everything they had to say and asked for advice. My story will be much improved because of this.

Here are the basics:
- I was trying to be more show than tell in the story and it made the story fall flat. (I was experimenting with this story because I've been accused of too much telling in the past.) I have to do a little telling: get into my protagonist's head so her motivations are clearer, add in some background, and display more emotions to make her more likable.
- The change in the protagonist needs to be bigger at the end or else it doesn't seem like she's changed at all. She has to earn her happy ending.
- The blocking wasn't clear in the climatic scene.
- A few parts are overwritten and a few others are cliche.

2 comments:

  1. It sounds like you had a good experience at the writers group, which is great. The first time or two different people critique your work is the hardest, I think. Having read the story, I see where they are coming from with the basics you wrote here. They sound like they know what they're doing, so that's great. :)

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  2. Critique partners are great! I have three critique partners and two test readers and they've all helped me tremendously.

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