Thursday, April 26, 2007

Haven't had a writing group post in a while

That's what you get when I go on teh computer the morning after my writing group meets. Some vague thing irked me last night. And this morning it felt like I wanted to say, "Gods forbid I include any details for the sake of description and giving the readers a fuller image of the scene," which I think was the problem. Of the pages I brought last night, the trend seemed to be that there were details that didn't add anything to the narrative/plot and in other places, there needed to be more details to make the story clearer.

My reaction (in my head) was a peculiar combination of, "I see what you mean, that makes sense and I should change it," with, "What's wrong with including the fact that this immature guy has to stand still and not move his hand, and now his knuckles itch?" I kept the latter purely mental, while verbally responding with the former. That's why they make written comments as wll, so I can go through it afterward, when I've set the emotions aside, and see if those details really are unnecessary, or if there's something missing to make them pertinent.

Even after the worst meeting (which this was not, not even close), I am grateful for the writer's group. Because these areas they pointed out were parts I glanced over, that I didn't see the problem, or maybe I saw the problem but didn't know how to fix it, and they came in with a suggestion to fix it. Beta readers in almost any form are helpful, regardless of the strength of one's "You're killing my baby!" feelings, because there will always be aspects of an author's writing that needs work, which they can't see on their own.

My personal worry is that I have too many aspects like that which I can't see, and should I ever stop bringing the major works to my group, I'd miss out on some big editing that needs to take place, which then makes me feel like I'm relying on others, and I don't much care for that.

Or maybe I'm degernerating into paranoid rants, but I want to my work to be written by me. Thus, I try very hard not to give in to too many of their changes, particularly when it's along the lines of 'change this sentence to this.' Most of them aren't fantasy or sci fi-oriented, and some of their opinions on point of view, pace and voice are influenced by that. Basically, I just don't want to lose my own voice in my writing by trying to fix everything that point to as a problem, even if they are, technically, correct.

I think that point ends differently from how it began, but overall: writing groups are good, if you find one that suits you, be careful if you're in one that doesn't fully suit you, don't give in to all their changes, nor ignore all their suggestions, and try to listen with the emotion set aside.


writtenwyrdd said...

Hi Sabrina, I know what you mean about agreeing and disagreeing at the same time. Only you can decide if the detail is pertinent.

But one thing that I bear in mind is a quote I've kept taped to the laptop so long I cannot recall the source: "Every scene must contribute to at least two of the following: Plot movement, characterization, conflict, raising suspense or revealing important information."

Same thing with details, really.

Or as Ursula K. Leguin mentions on her website, "Exact and vivid words make an exact and vivid world."

BTW, I have tagged you for a meme on today's post.

Sabrina said...

I feel so painfully behind on everything. I just got a new computer and have yet to transfer my favorites list. (That felt random. I don't know quite know where I was going with that.) i like those quotes, though. I think my problem lies in trying to follow Le Guin's words, creating vivid world through the detail, but I need to make sure it still benefits elsewhere. It's just one of those things I need to be aware of about my writing when I edit.

Hmmm...eight things about me...~ponders~

Elspeth said...

People should read this.