Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Critiquing Your Own Tics

(Or, Growth Spurts)

You know that feeling, when another light bulb bursts on behind your creative genius, when something that one of your crit partners says to you that finally…clicks. It’s a new breath, a new way of looking at your writing and making it better. Maybe they told you that you’re protecting your protag too much, or your antagonist needs just a hint of likeability. Or maybe your fab crit group makes you realize that your theme weakens at the end, just when you it needed to strengthen. Or maybe you were (ugh) telling when you should have been (ugh) showing. And then you want to share this newfound knowledge with others, so the next twenty-seven several critiques you do, you focus on this area. Because really? Everyone should grow with you.

I think that the results of the Ninja Science Pie got me to think more about this topic, when three of our writer/critique friends fessed up: “I tend to crit things that I’m currently working on.” At first I thought, well, of course you do, but being the black-and-white scientist I am, that doesn’t answer my original question, “What area do you focus on (such as voice, plot, grammar, etc.) when you critique?”

But it did answer my question, because these writer/critiquers are developing, and the area of focus changes over time. If a new bulb begins to blink behind them, they not only embrace it, they share it. And the greatest feeling as a developing writer/critique is when you can pass your own growth onto someone else.

So here’s a question for you: What is your current growth spurt in writing/critiquing?

8 comments:

rosehips said...

Mary, I know I do this. When I started seriously hunting down to be verbs and passive phrases in my own writing, no one else's were safe from me either. To the point that I'm having a hard time reading published novels because I can't turn that part of my brain off these days.

ninabadzin.com said...

Hi! #1, thanks for visiting my blog today!

#2, to answer the question here: I'm working on artfully getting in some backstory without bogging down the story. I guess I'm figuring how to use little or no backstory, making me keenly aware of backstory in drafts other people show me.

Marybk said...

I hear you, Sophia: I've done the very same thing.

Nina: You've got a great blog. Thanks for stopping by mine! Backstory...that's a hard one to purge. I'm still working on that one.

Anita said...

I'm with you on the backstory. A constant battle in writing, along w/showing and not telling. Great post, Mary!

Tracey Neithercott said...

I have the opposite problem with backstory! Right now I'm adding more in so my readers aren't thinking "What?!!?" the entire time. :)

Marybk said...

Thanks, Anita.

Tracey: So funny. That's a great thing to catch as a critiquer, too. The right amount of backstory is so hard to nail.

Suzie Quint said...

I've become a "big picture" critiquer (pacing, character and story arc and such). Most of my writing partners have other folks who crit their grammar and punctuation, so I'm glad I've evolved to this level because it gives me something to add that they're not always getting from the others.

Marybk said...

Hi, Suzie! Thanks for dropping in. I love that you're able to help your crit partners in a different way from the rest.

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