Tuesday Post of Accountability!: Getting Stuff Nailed Down

It’s Tuesday again! And every Tuesday you will be subjected to regaled by the writing progress I have made over the last week. But! I insist that I not be the only one exposing myself sounding off. Let your comments reflect what kind of suffering butt-kicking you have done too!

Stuff I have accomplished this last week:

1. Not much as far as word counts. There was a large societal-world-building conversation on Saturday night between my brother, the spouse, and myself. They asked really important questions and I was proud to say that I had the answers to a lot of them. But then Shane hammered away at something that’s a fairly large problem. (I’m not sure whether marrying someone smarter than yourself is a good thing yet….) Luckily, he voiced his issue early on and I can easily, easily fix it moving forward.

Also got UGWP critiques back. For the most part I was super-happy about the questions that were asked, and only had one brief moment where I felt myself resisting an idea…but then I thought to myself: Aren’t they just pointing out a section that you were worried about yourself? And I had to talk myself down from being defensive. (I always need a day or two after a critique to digest and Stop Being Defensive.)

Though the critiques of my work, and a couple of my fellow members’ work as well left me with the question: How much do you trust that the writer is doing what they mean to do? This is a bigger question in a novel chapter critique, since as a reader/critiquer you often don’t have the whole thing in front of you. With a short story you have the end, know the arc, and can adjust accordingly, with novel chunks you have no such luxury unless the writer tells you what’s gonna happen. I realized that some of my critiques of others’ work was based in the idea that I wasn’t trusting the author to do what he/she was doing. For example, last session I gave one of my writer buddies a critique that switched the opening structure of the story around…and while I think a great deal of it can still work, now that I’ve read more of it, some of that critique isn’t in line with what he’s doing…so I don’t feel as useful as I could’ve been.

2. Read quite a bit. Finished Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, and made a good dent in The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac. Something good that I know about my process: I have to just shut down and read sometimes, and I try not to beat myself about that. Especially when I’m reading things that give good inspiration to continue my own work.

How’re you guys doing?

Critiques UGWP

jenny maloney View All →

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.

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