I have read so much this week that words blur before my eyes in my sleep. I hear narrative when I’m not paying attention.
At the last Underground meeting, John made a good point: critiquing helps you become a better writer…so do it or get kicked out of the group. Okay, he was a bit more eloquent than that and made the argument that you can’t half-ass stuff and become better. I’m paraphrasing, but still.
So, here is what I have learned from the reading so far:
1. It’s nice to read the ‘new guy’s story but I’m still not a fan of present tense.
2. Sometimes people make long sentences when they should make longer paragraphs.
3. I’m at my sharpest in the evening.
4. Length, whether short or long, creates different demands–I had the pleasure of reading our shortest submission right next to our longest submission and, wow, it made me change my mindset midstream.
5. Exposition is important.
6. I like to play with titles.
7. I learned that if you have a lot of things to do you have to organize and realize that, if you want to be a better writer, you have to be willing to do more than the next guy. I did a lot of the critiques during my lunch hour while my co-workers, well, at lunch. I wanted to do a good job on the critiques because I am about to jump into my own revision and I wanted to be sharp. We’ll see if it works.
Because in the end, you can see other people’s problems but it’s hard to be honest about your own.
I’m trying to keep in mind that the things I critiqued people on the hardest are probably the things I need to work on myself.
Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.