Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Fricassee

Here's my advice for today: Surround yourself with good writers who are TOUGH when they critique your work. Really tough. Because when they give you a compliment, you'll know they really mean it.

That's my experience this week, and it's given me the final nudge out of my funk. I'd venture to say, at the risk of sounding ridiculously theatrical, that my heart is singing again. And I'm ready to dive into my new WIP.

Amazing how a few WOWs from trusted readers can imbue the confidence that, for a while, was all but lost. And the WOW from someone who hasn't read me yet felt good, too. Just because she's artless and sincere and slightly adorable.

I don't like fluffy words meant to soothe. We all crave affirmation, but we won't grow without responding well to critique. So when I've been through the wringer with folks who've cared enough to pick my work apart, and then they "OOO!" and "AHH!" over something new, it's...well, amazing.

You know who you are. Thank you.

Next step? Setting aside perfectionism and the intense pressure of living up to the WOWs in order to simply WRITE this thing. I swear, this journey is more about self-discovery and emotional growth than anything.

It's all good.

Also? Another Amazing Person has pinpointed what's wrong with my dystopian. For the first time since the endless parade of wow-you-write-well-but-I-don't-want-to-represent-you's, I feel like I can FIX this thing. So thank you, Amazing Person.

That's going to wait a while, though. The WIP beckons, and I'm incredibly excited about it. (It's YA urban fantasy, in case you were insatiably curious.)

There you have it. I hope you have Tough Critters and Amazing People in your life, too. I wouldn't be where I am today without mine.


  1. Tough crits are hard to take but make us so much better! Too much fluff and I don't believe the compliments!

  2. I think a lot of the people I have had read my MS have been overly generous.

    Where are you tough/critique partner?



  3. A friend of mine from my Writer's Group came to the house for dinner a few months ago. My wife thought the woman was so nice, she told me later that she couldn't imagine her saying anything negative about my writing.

    It was then I broke it to my wife how much this woman had destroyed my most recent WIP (and her comments were correct).

  4. TRUTH! This post is TRUTH!

    I have a few people who are tough, really tough, and when they say they like something... oh yeah. What did you say about singing?

  5. I feel the same way! My critters like to use tough love to help me fix my manuscripts. ;) But I wouldn't have gotten to where I am without them!

  6. That's wonderful, Authoress. Have fun writing your shiny new idea. I'm afraid I've fallen into a bit of a funk now, but I'm sure it'll pass. (They always do.)

  7. Oh yeah. My crit partners kick my butt and I'm happy about it.

    Can't have the "Oh, it's so great, don't change a thing" people...cuz they can't grow your writing.

    Write on!!

  8. Well good for you! Go go go!

    Yeah, the tough critters are crucial!

  9. This is so true--I don't know where I'd be without my crit partners. One of them has a sarcastic nature like me, so at least her comments make me laugh while she's shredding my ms! :)

  10. Well, I know you can't possibly be talking about me since I am just a fluffy little kitten when it comes to critiquing. *falls on floor laughing*

  11. Really great post! I see your inspiration (and perspiration!). Keep seems like you have a clear direction
    -- and the motivation to get there.

    Have a great weekend "off."


  12. I was just thinking about you this morning during my ponder time. I thought how I do like you. And I wish I could hug you for your thoughts and feelings which are so similar to mine.
    I can tell a fake when I see one. And I don't want an "is my bottom fat" situation with what I write. I call a spade a spade.
    I was in a writing group. One of the people in it was a good writer and getting published but was so vain about her stuff, nobody could crit it. It was good writing, good plots, but lacked emotional content. On the other hand she was very harsh with her own lashings on other people. She could give it but didn't allow it back. Of course the inevitable happened. Those that only had nice things to say critted. And those that found places that could've been done better avoided any conflict whatsoever. So feedback was like fan-based insipid compliments.
    We all think we're perfect. But we know we aren't. Always new things to learn and develop and if you don't think you can improve on perfection then you stay very pedestrian. Of course practice makes perfect and you only stop learning when you take your last breath.
    But I do like you because you do wear your heart on your sleeve. I'm beginning not to like Twitter very much. I think it seems to me it creates more problems than it solves. It's a place where people are like drunks at a party and just about as happy and punchdrunk as they want to be. Something said in innocence miscontrued and taking on proportions outsizing their intent and causing heartache or pain. Seems that's what happened to you. I only added this last bit on because I didn't see your Twitter post here dated 21 July until just now.
    A tough crit is good. If you don't agree then always have a good reason to convince the critter that it should be that way. This is also a good way to work out what you expect from yourself and to form it into an eloquence you understand and want from you and your work.
    But at the same time, it's also good to be open to what you might not see yourself. And it's better to find the bumps and cracks before you get to the stage where the rejections come in on it and you are left battle-scarred, dejection and rejection and losing hope.
    Self discovery and emotional growth are a huge part of the learning process and when you recognise this as legitimately existing then that sets you above.