Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Writing on Wednesday: Five things I love about critique groups

  1. I love being part of that process that makes the writing better.
  2. I love reading other people's work. 
  3. I love getting that insight into how other writer's minds work. Do you write every day? How about trying twenty minutes a day? None of us are writing that first book any more. We've all learnt a great deal and it's interesting to see that we've all journeyed to the other side where 'planning is good'. 
  4. I love the feedback, especially when I have got to a point in the revision where a chapter is really not working and I'm just too close to see how to fix it. 
  5. I love the tea. 
There are other things I love. I love the fact that one night in the month I don't have to rush home for the crèche run and the bubba's dinner. Getting the metro to somewhere different. But that's not to do with writing, so it's not included in the top five.

Something I realised this month after being accused of writing a chapter worthy of a Brazilian b-series soap-opera is that I always go that sentence too far. Where I can finish a chapter, I beat it to death. Unfortunately I realised this on chapter 15 of  the revision.

I also started reading this great article on balancing action, dialogue and narrative. I haven't finished reading it, but there was certainly an 'aha' moment as I realised why chapter 4 is still not working.

And finally I'm going to go and change the name of the hotel in chapter 1. Now that my critters have reached the twist in the tail I was given a great idea for dropping a hint earlier on. And then I need to change the name of a character. I don't know why, but it seems many of my characters have names beginning with M. What can my obsession with that letter be?


Rachna Chhabria said...

Loved the post. Completely agree that critiquing another writer's work does make us better writers by making us more aware of our own mistakes.

Patricia Lynne said...

I'm not part of a critique group but I have critiqued a few friends' works and it is quite fun. I love reading the story and when I stumble upon a part that confuses me or I think needs a little more detail, I like pointing that out. Not because I'm being stuck up but because I know my suggestions could make the story better and help my friend succeed. That's also why I let others read mine, they will have suggestions to help me succeed.

Michele Helene (Verilion) said...

Hi Rachna, yep, I learnt so much from the group when it first started and I had this great big unwieldy hulk of a first draft (eh, actually it's still in that state and not about to change for a good few months yet!)
And Hi Patricia, one thing I'm learning this time round is to also highlight what is really good in the writing, as well as what can be improved in the writing. Hope to see you around again.


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