This Week in Critique Group – 7/22/10

I admit it.  It’s hard to accept criticism.  Oh, you think that’s obvious?  Not to me. 

I’ve always been good at accepting constructive criticism – at work – at home.  Okay, maybe not so much with from my husband, but I try to take something away from the input from everyone else.  I pride myself on not having much ego.

Except, apparently, with my writing. 

I’m not saying that I argue a lot with my crit group members over their suggestions.  Ninety percent of the time I can see that their way is better, and I adopt it with gratitude.  For example, on my last book, they changed where the book began about 7 times before they were happy with it.  You know what?  They were right. 

Then there was last night.  I’ve been buzzing through this book, proud of the fact that I’m writing clean, emotional chapters, and my crit group seems to like it.  I’m happy.  No, I’m ecstatic.  But last night, I ran into a wall. 

We worked on a new concept Fae learned, called “Conflict Lock.”  It is wonderful tool, but I’d challenge anyone to be objective enough to do it for their own WIP.  Fae and Jenny were helping me find my Protag and Antag’s one goal for the book, and their conflicts.  Not easy.  We didn’t agree on what they were at first, and it felt like they were attempting to take the book in directions I didn’t want to go.  Did they not get it after all this time?  Hadn’t they read the chapters I’d worked so hard on? 

It was like Chinese water torture . . . the first thousand drops or so are fine, but after that, it gets irritating.  Finally we finished.  I’m bruised, but happy that I have that done, and happy with the results. 

Then they started talking about another aspect of the book that they felt I should delve into.  I didn’t want to.  Nope, dang it, not going there!  Why?  Cuz I don’t WANNA!  I did everything but throw myself on the floor, kicking and holding my breath.

Did I say I was good at criticism?  Small ego?  Yeah, right.

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4 Responses to This Week in Critique Group – 7/22/10

  1. Jenny Hansen says:

    As someone who was at this critique dinner, I can say that Laura acquitted herself with admirable dignity! No one likes to whittle their book down to a single goal for the Protag and Antag. It took each of us at least three tries (and lots of er…constructive comments by each of our fellow Writers In the Storm). THIS is why we recommend a critique group. Unless you are a genius, I just don’t see how you get by without one.🙂

    • Thanks for being patient with me, Jenny. And I second your comment on crit groups – I know that it can be like a bad marriage if you’re in the wrong one . . . but the up side is it’s like a good marriage when you find the right one!
      If you’re reading this, and you’re not in a critique group – keep looking! It’s pushed my writing at warp speed.
      Laura

  2. Funny, my critique group and I were talking about the importance of a critique group last night. For me, needing pages ready for them each week has really pushed me to write more. What I appreciate most about them is their patience. My grammar skills aren’t up to their level, but the girls are so good about letting me know where I’ve gone wrong and why.

    I’ve worried about what I offer them, but I think my strongest suit is when they present a problem in their ms, I’m able to come up with a couple of solutions pretty quick. They aren’t always the best ideas, but the seed I plant usually sparks a result.

    • Kathy,
      I’m sure you’re selling yourself short – we see our own failings so well, but not our strengths. Funny how guys are just the opposite!

      The single most “needle-moving” thing I’ve done for my writing is to get into a caring, supportive, but tough group of authors. I love the different perspectives everyone gets from reading the same material!

      Laura

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