Thursday, July 21, 2011

Critiquing...

Last night I went to a meeting of my writing group. In reality we are a crit group. There are four of us and we all write wildly different stuff. Three of us are...erm...elderly, and one is a spring chicken. We've met four times. What we do is send out what we want critiqued ahead of time. Then we gather, check in on our writing lives, and start critiquing. It is frightening, thrilling, frustrating, delightful and every other emotion one can have. I've been the difficult one, I think. Difficult because I have three novels that could be looked at. At first I gave them chapters from Earth Bound, my second, and unfinished, Kitty MacDonald novel. But then I realized I didn't want to work on it until I had my first KD book really done. So I've given them the first four chapters of that. The feedback was helpful - my structure, my order, isn't right yet. I've muffed around with it so many times that I feel half mad - BUT I know it isn't there yet. I also got some feedback on a secondary character that runs through both books - I've made him far too nice. He seems to have no flaws.
After my check-in, my crit partners wanted to know why I wasn't giving them parts of True, the novel I'm heavy into revision with. I told them that I couldn't take any crits on it right now. Maybe when I'd incorporated these edits and done a little sparking up of the areas that I want sparked up - but right now it would be overload.
We talked for ages about everyone's pieces, sitting on the deck of one of our gang, with a long gorgeous view down the hill to the harbour. We ate nibblies, drank wine, and argued our points. Life doesn't get much better than that.
We won't meet now until mid-September. Life is too full when the sun shines around here. Too bad.
How about you? How do you work with your writing group or crit pals? How do you exchange materials and how do you know how much to dive into?

Note: since I switched from Internet Ex. to Chrome Google - my commenting and general speed of everything is fantastic. I will stick with blogger if this continues to be so. Yay!

11 comments:

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I was involved with a critique group years ago, but the timing wasn't right and the group wasn't right for my writing. They wanted the really deep, literary stuff, and that's just not what I write.

Helen Ginger said...

Over the years, I've been involved with several critique groups. I'm not now. My excuse is that I don't have the time, although I do believe critique groups are fabulous things for writers to get involved in.

Richard said...

It's very important for people to not take the criticism personally. Persons who take it personally ruin the group dynamics.

Hart Johnson said...

I think your group sounds great! I do pretty much all my crit stuff with online partners and that seems to work well because i feel like the critique stuff I need most help with is big picture... whole book at a time. This is really different from my first couple books but it's the way I've settled in. Still the sitting around talking writing with writers sounds devine.

Karen Walker said...

I am in a writing support group, which is different than a critique group. I've only attended once so far, and it was lovely.
Karen

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I haven't joined one, but it is something I should investigate. Hmmm....I guess the drive to yours is a *tad* too far!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

I don't mind critquie on my poetry but when it comes to me as a person then I draw the line.

Yvonne.

Talli Roland said...

I have a few CPs that I work with. I used to go to a writing group but I found it was a bit too time consuming.

Liza said...

Wow! This is such a coincidence. Tuesday night, I sat down at our harbor with my new writing group. We have met about four times, have wildly different projects and sat and discussed and critiqued and sipped lemonade. It is my first time in a crit. group...and I LOVE it.

Margot Kinberg said...

Jan - I'm so glad you have a supportive and helpful crit group. Getting other pairs of eyes to look at what we write is so helpful, isn't it? I get all sorts of help from my beta readers and from other writers; I know my work is a thousand percent better because of it. There's more than one of us on this planet for a reason.

Jemi Fraser said...

I only have online crit buddies - they're amazing! It would be wonderful to have that in person too - although the thought also makes me very nervous! :)