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!