Saturday, May 12, 2012

grab bag

I've had a number of writing-related thoughts banging around in my head lately, so I'm going to get some of them out right here.

Hands of friends Stock ImageMy local writers' group--I love these people. We always go out of our way to tell new people we're glad they came and let them know when they offer particularly insightful comments. This past Wednesday, for example, we were reviewing some of the lyrics for a play/musical Jack is writing as a parody of a major, well-known work. (Will not go into more details because I haven't asked him for permission.)

Five of us read the lyrics. A new person stopped in to the meeting and offered a suggestion for a better rhyme that hadn't occured to any of the regulars. Fresh eyes help! This was somewhat embarrassing for me since I write things I like to think of as lyrics, and I didn't think of that idea. I don't write them to music though so I have no idea if they'd really work as songs, but I try, and to have somebody totally out of the blue come up with a great suggestion was a bit embarrassing and pretty humbling for me.

Critique Circle--always fascinating points of view and opinions on the forums. Different from a live group because you can take time to really think about your answer and edit it as you're typing it into the box, I never fail to get a kick out of the ways people express themselves. Some folks clearly type and hit "send" before thoughts are fully formed and others seem to be meticulous about how, and what, they type.

And if I see that some people's posts are routinely riddled with typos and badly worded ideas (such that they often have to explain what they meant), then I'm not likely to read their stories. That's just how I feel about writers. Express yourself as clearly as you can, if you're going to say something where others can read your words.

And for those who obsess about such things, I realize everybody makes mistakes. I'm talking about routine mess-ups. My backspace key gets a serious workout, and everybody who uses a computer has one though not everybody uses it. That's my opinion, and this is my blog.

Will not turn this into a rant. The other thing I love about a site like Critique Circle is that it really helps me feel that I'm part of a community of writers. You've got to observe people (if not interact with them) in order to write about them and writing websites are excellent for that.
Space Stock Photo
The mélange of topics in the "forums" lets you see what makes these people tick. I'm fascinated by how different people think differently and this comes out vividly in a website, where members come from all over the world. Some evenings I just lurk in the forums and never get to my WIP.

I'd rather stay home and write than go out most of the time, but I've never regretted going to a single meeting of my local writers' group. What do you guys think? How do you balance the need to do the actual writing all by yourself with the human need for some contact?

(BTW I'll be back on May 20th with Six Sentence Sunday--issues with Blogspot tripped me up this week)


  1. I understand what you mean about critique groups. I recently joined CC and love the crits. The comments have me smiling, shaking my head in agreement and I've made friends whose insights I've found valuable. I'd rather stay home and write too, but I'm with you- writers' groups are awesome.

  2. Ashlyn, welcome. You have to find a group that you click with, but when you do, it's a beautiful thing indeed. Thanks for commenting!

  3. :-) Bummer about the blogspot issue with sss. I came here to see if he popped the question. :-) But I will be back next week.

    Last week I read a rather scathing post about critique groups--and how utterly useless they are. It was written by a blogger who insists that --other than for queries and blurbs, they consume time that should be spent on writing and editing.

    I didn't comment. There were comments from both sides of the fence, and when I read the few responses to comments that the blogger left, I decided to just lurk--rather then comment.

    I think it depends how social we want to be. Writing is solitary enough without purposely not interacting with other writers. I am driven to reaching out to other writers, and discovering kindred spirits.

    I am not active in any critique groups--I do belong to one. But, part of that is because I have until recently, felt inadequate to comment on someone's writing.

    I do see their usefulness. Not everyone approaches writing in the same way. And for some of us--it is nice to get a another set of eyes on our work--before we stray so far off the beaten path with our story, that we can't find our way back.

    Boy! lol...when I start to babble, I really babble ;-)

    See you next week, Owllady!. :-)

  4. "...rather than comment..." Sheesh, lol, I need a critique group for my comments.

    It's not always the problem, but I really do need a new keyboard too...