I went out yesterday for a long scheduled lunch on Saturday with Jennifer Carson and Melissa Snark. The conversation covered a wide range of topics about what was going on in our lives, but funneled into our writing and where we stood on various projects. From there we started discussing Convolution. We will all be attending the con and participating in the Writer’s Workshop. Jennifer is participating as a professional while Melissa and I are being critiqued.
This will be the third official workshop I have participated in. I’ve gotten good feedback from prior workshops, even if it didn’t feel like that at the time. I was open about my feelings with Jennifer, who also happened to participate in that workshop, that I felt like I came out shredded, but it was things that I needed to hear. Jennifer looked me in the eyes and said something that stuck with me. “When you, as a writer, give your story to others to review, the reviewers have incentive to find something wrong. That’s true whether the reviewer is a pro or an amateur.” That simple statement blindsided me. I hadn’t considered that fact before. I knew that critiquing involved telling you what was wrong with your submission, as well as what was right. I hadn’t thought that there might be more of an emphasis on what was wrong than what was right.
So with that in mind, I will be going into the workshop knowing that I will be hearing what I did wrong. There will be mention of what I did right, but mostly what I did wrong. And all of it is geared towards making me a better writer.
4 Replies to “An Educational Lunch”
This is a nice reminder to focus on the positive too while critiquing. I know I fall prey to the same mindset and focus too much on areas that need work instead of what’s done right.
An very good blog. I’m glad to see you put this in words so well.
Someone once told me you should critique using what he called the Oreo method – start with something positive, cram all the comments about what needs work in the middle, and end with something positive. My problem with that analogy is that I found that middle the best part of the Oreo. 😉
Thanks. It was something I’ve needed to hear for a while, and something I hadn’t considered before.
Besides, it was fun sitting around and gabbing for hours about anything and everything we could think of.
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