Sunday, January 25, 2009

Shout-Out for Critique Groups!

Last week I was reading Sarah Davies’ blog about whether or not there were enough toilets for the Inauguration, her point being that the big glorious things don’t mean a whole lot if there’s not some serious attention paid to the details. She went on to relate this to writing, and I thought, This is exactly what I have a critique group for.

When I get lost in my own big ideas or the frenzy of an exciting plot, it’s always the Slushies that bring me back to the details. But how could she actually see around that corner? Where did all these porcupines come from? What exactly is she feeling here? Who’s Boris?

Good points, all of them. Just when I think I’ve got a great action sequence, I need someone to remind me that just because my main character doesn’t know what’s going on doesn’t mean the reader will deign to suffer the same thing. Readers need a few more hints to direct them through the action. It can’t all be mysterious or it’s just plain boring. After all, readers have choices. They can stop reading at any time. My main character isn’t so lucky. She’s going to be kidnapped by pirates no matter how much she kicks and screams.

So hurray for critique groups! I may sometimes groan when I hear their suggestions because it means yet another re-write and possible overhaul, but I am always always thankful for those six extra sets of eyes and ears.

When I’m a better writer, maybe I’ll think of all those things myself, although I suspect not. Until then, I’m sticking with the Slushies.


Sarah said...

We were talking about that post at the meeting, either just before or after Michelle Skyped you.

Steph said...

Lisa, What a nice little essay. It was fun to read and makes me feel glad ontop of all the gladness I already have about being in our critique group. Thank you. - Steph