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World of Magic

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Slings and Arrows

Recently, I bared my soul to my writing group, and once again started the process of giving and receiving feedback. It is a tight-rope every writer navigates in the process towards publication.

I posted the opening scenes of my ‘Fairy-Tale’ on our group board and held my breath as the members read my story. Initially I created the story, to fill in some gaps for myself while I was world building. Every lost and mysterious world has myths and legends. Who hasn’t heard tales of Atlantis or Shangri-La? So my world, Chamoura, needed some myths and legends of its own.

Around the table at Starbucks, we took turns, reviewing what each of us had offered up. Eventually it was my Fairy-Tale’s turn for feedback and I did my best to sit back and take it all in. I lead this group so I didn’t want to be the cougar mama defending her cub. One member said he hated the main character and wished he had been murdered in the first scene. Someone else liked it. As I sat there listening to the lively conversation over the table, I actually surprised myself. These characters must have struck a chord for such a reaction. I wasn’t handed a list of typos and grammar issues with the ‘nice job’ and a ‘See you next time’ dismissal.

Just as I tell the other members of the group, my suggestions on your work are yours to do with as you wish. If they don’t work, then ignore them. And, I get that option as well. Did the feedback have validity even though it stung? Yes. Did my inner critic go on a tirade about what a lousy writer I am and I should quit? Nope. When I first started my inner critic’s voice was louder and had more emotional weight.

Today, I know that I can not please everyone that reads my work and I do not want to even try to do that. I have to remember that each reader comes to my story with their own filter they read through. That filter is their life experiences, beliefs, memories, and values. Each person is going to see my characters through that filter.

I find value in the feedback, all the feedback. It may sting, but it also pushes me to be a better writer than I was yesterday. All good writing is in the RE-Writing, and I am grateful I have people in my life, ready to offer me the slings and arrows that push my writing to be better!

Thanks to all of  EAC for making me a better writer!!!

10 Responses to Slings and Arrows

  • Walker says:

    Coming from She Writes, love this… my inner critic is still alive and well at times!

  • Walker,

    That inner critic’s voice gets quieter as time goes on, I promise. Remember when someone dis-likes elements of your story, it is their opinion….and you can’t please everyone.

    Thanks for reading 🙂
    Maryellen

  • Yesterday at my writers group, one of my friends said that writers group is the one place where you get to be torn apart but you’re so excited to hear it. (Assuming you take it with the right attitude, right? 🙂 ) Yay for critique groups!

  • I agree Karen, as long as you view it within that frame of mind, it is fun 🙂

  • I’ve been without the Internet for a week and just caught your comment on my blog…so came by for a visit. I once had a friend at a critique group tell me, “I’d never read this book.” (Based on the opening chapter, only she didn’t say that). That comment, taken at face value, paralyzed me and I didn’t write for a while. Then I sat back and heard what she was trying to tell me…that the opening wasn’t working for her. I think it’s so important to be able to listen, ask clarifying questions and then believe in your own vision. It’s a matter of discernment…and my friend was right. Although, I don’t know if I would phrase a critique exactly like that.

    • Sometimes the feedback gets lost in translation and it is important to ask for clarification.

      Groups should nurture and help us improve 🙂
      That is what I’m hoping for with my group anyway….

      Thank you for visiting!!!

      wishing you continued success with your blog and your writing,

      Maryellen

  • Maryellen, I gave you an award. It’s at my blog when you want it. 🙂

  • Thank you Karen!!! This is the perfect Friday the 13th wake up email 🙂

    Love all the blogs on your list! I’m glad to be in that circle…

    Maryellen

  • Lisa says:

    Your honesty and clarity inspire me. I passed along a blog award to you today: http://lisarivero.com/2010/08/27/interview-and-blog-awards/ Thank you for such a beautiful blog!
    Warmly,
    Lisa

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