Thursday, January 29, 2009

So thats how a critique group can work...I finally get it

There has been the most interesting post happening here by Jane Smith at How Publishing Really Works on writers who only take criticism if its positive. Following on from a post I wrote recently on my fears about the benefits of critique groups, one comment by Tania Hershman neatly summed up one way an effective critique group can work:-

"The main aim is for the group to learn more about the art and craft of writing from critiquing each other's work. It's raw material, I suppose, a way to see what works and what doesn't and then to apply it to our own work. If the writer receives helpful advice on her particular story, that's almost a fringe benefit."

Once I read this the lightbulb came on in my head. I still think you need to find the right mix of people. Its better to be in a group of folk at a similar stage and whose company you enjoy and respect, but from this perspective I agree that critique groups can make a worthwhile difference to our writing. I feel enlightened - how cool is that. Sorry if I've been wittering on about something thats been obvious to the rest of you all along!

I've also been feeling emboldened. After my recent prolific (for me) short story writing and submissions to an anthology I went on to submit an idea for a longer work today. In the past, if i have not had most or all of a complete work to put forward, I have turned away from writing opportunities. The brief today was generous in allowing incomplete works but I wasn't afraid to take advantage of it. I have to say I found the whole thing very exciting. I guess I will have to get off my proverbial and actually produce the work now, but the knowledge that it may be of interest to a publisher and that I have put it out there is extremely motivating. Helped of course by the fact i really like the story idea.

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