Recently, I worked on a couple of critiques for a group outside of my normal one. Marked up both quite a bit. Tried to pour everything I’ve learned into helping these writers.
And got blown off.
Granted, it was only one of the two, but when I’m saying the same things as the other seven people at the table, these might be recommendations worth listening to. I think the only reason it bothered me greatly this time is because earlier, this person was claiming to be there to learn and get better at her craft.
The responses from the writer came off as excuses or that she made stylistic choices. Now I don’t want to talk about the piece itself because my issues with it were written all over the submission in pink ink (shush – I like critiquing others work in odd-colored pens). But to basically blow off the entire group’s suggestions made me want to pull my hair.
And yes, hearing that things are wrong, especially seriously wrong, is so hard. It takes a lot to be able to accept criticism with grace. But when we gather, whether it is this group or my normal critique group, everyone is aware that we are there to help the writer. All sunshine and rainbows won’t help anyone grow. I try to put positive things into my critiques so that the writer knows what is going right and just plain old awesome points, but, and heaven only knows I’ve held back tears on feedback I’ve gotten, I’m there to point out the issues.
No one is perfect to start. Multiple drafts are common for a reason. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve edited Twisted Magics (it also received a complete rewrite fairly early on). I’m planning to rewrite the second book to try and get things to work out better. And I’m always learning. Trying something new, seeing if it works, fixing it if it doesn’t. I don’t ever want to stop learning because then I’ll stop growing as a writer.
2 thoughts on “To never grow”
Ah yes. I’ve been there before. In an incident with my group, it caused a backlash that had me drowning my misery in a bottle of wine as the proverbial bus rolled over me. As group moderator, I’d contacted the person privately via email after their turn to bring up how their responses seemed defensive or dismissive, which offended other members and made them less willing to give feedback because it felt like it fell on deaf ears. Well, it didn’t go over as smoothly as I’d hoped. That person chose to blast out an email to the entire group, defending their behavior, how hurt and offended they were, and why wasn’t I doing my job to jump to their defense when the criticism got harsh and cruel? They appended my email to the end so that everyone could see. Yay!
Sometimes, it just sucks. Bringing it up might cause a rift. Not bringing it up might cause member disgruntlement. Guess it depends on how well you all work together.
That is just horrible. You start to wonder why they put their stuff up for critique if they don’t really want it. And not to mention completely unprofessional. What is going to happen when they receive a bad review?
I’m not the moderator of said group and they run things a little weird. Granted, I’ve only ever been a part of this one and my normal one so I could be mistaken and they run proper compared to my normal group.
I’ve been not content with this group for a number of reasons. The beating a dead horse is one. There’s only so long that someone can rant about how they don’t like swearing in their literature before you’ve figured it out (seriously, he went on for almost half an hour on me and kept shutting others down who wanted to move on). Another is the lack of support. Oh, someone submitted fantasy, well, I guess we don’t need to show up for that meeting. Either that or they’ll show up and first state that they don’t read fantasy and then speak as if an authority on the matter.
Which often goes back to beating a dead horse. This month they got hung up on bacon.
I think what really got me also this past month was the indie bashing. I guess it boils down to I feel like I don’t belong, but I don’t want to completely abandon them since I joined at the beginning.
irk…sorry, this came out way more rant-filled than I planned.