Friday, March 2, 2007

My attempt to not go all angsty/ranty

So I put this off a few days because I wanted to approach it as analytically as possible, although I know I couldn't be totally objective.

I went to the writer's group on Wednesday, received two cards and a gift card for my birthday, for which I am thankful (one card was homemade with a picture from Belgium, lovely picture, gonna use it for research/description/inspiration at some point, I just know it). There was actually another person with pages, but we took so long to get started and then to read and critique my seven pages that my sister and I had to leave before we could read the other girl's.

Anyway. I know how I react to critique. There is the inital 'they're criticizing my baby, how dare they.' But I am bringing in the pages knowing full-well what is to come, and knowing I will learn things about my stories I hadn't noticed before, and ultimately the experience will help. I set the emotions aside until I'm by myself, get it out of my system and then look at their written comments and my notes on their verbal comments with a clean eye. See what I can use.

Here's what I did not appreciate this week. Coming from a new member: 'I've noticed this will every writer under 25, that it reads like a videogame or RPG.' I am paraphrasing, but that was the gist. She added, anime too. Another women, a veteran of the group, said, "I was gonna say movies, but yeah." They referred to my pages as falling prey to this.

I exchanged a glance with my sister.

Here's the thing. I don't particuarly care for the fact that they were making a blanket statement about all writers under 25. Second, I don't play videogames or RPGs. At best, I occasionally used to watch my brother play videogames, and used to listen to my friend talk about her RPGs. But there's also the fact that there are many different kinds of videogames. And neither women bothered to explain further what they meant specfically. How is my writing like a videogame?

I understood their critique when they said the narrator sounded too distant, too observant and not close enough in the characters' heads, and it was after that point this woman brought up her blanket observation, so I guess they're related, but being unfamiliar with videogames I don't get the comparison.

I watch anime from time to time (and have a few favorites), but apparently not enough to see the point there either. As for movies...the woman who said that has always said to write description as if you're watching a movie of it in your head, now she criticizes me for apparently doing that?

I find their analogies confusing, even though the basic idea of a distant narrator and a few of their other points made sense to me. I agreed with them. Just making this comparison to other forms of media escaped me.

So I guess what I'm wondering is this: Have any of you ever read something and thought it sounded like a videogame or RPG, and if so, can you give me a concrete explanation of what that means to you? It may not be the same as these members were thinking, but it might help and I'd appreciate it.

I know a writer wouldn't want to write something and treat it as a movie, RPG, etc, because those are different media forms that have different needs, but a writer can use some techniques from other places to enhance their own writing. Where might that go wrong?

Thank you and happy writing.

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