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Writing Whenever, Wherever, Whatever. Of Editing And Evolution: He Said, She Said: How to Format a Short Story Manuscript. Improve your writing by receiving detailed critiques Scribophile is famous for the detailed and helpful critiques our members exchange.
A good note does not make demands. Most of all, a good note inspires. Copy that principle down and laminate it so you can look at it during your writing group critiques. It is so smart. And it is not about ways the writer should fix the problem. This is, in fact, often the reality. These are very different skills. Some writers are native geniuses at it, but those people are very rare. Most writers are honing their story analysis and narrative design skills in terms of their own writing, not in terms of being able to articulate it to other writers.
So how can you help each other with your work? Consider skipping the editorial analysis completely and make the group be about accountability, camaraderie, support, and information-sharing instead of about the words on the page. Writing is a creative undertaking, and all creative undertakings are messy.
Things sometimes get worse before they get better. Things can take a long time to come into focus, as you ping back and forth between what you thought you were doing and what you are actually doing, between the start of the story and the finish, between one narrative thread and another. Failure is part of the territory—a big part of it. Writing groups, however, tend to exclusively celebrate forward progress, and clean, linear thinking.
This happens because writing groups focus on only on one tiny slice of work at a time. If that slice happens to be logical, chronological, clear and well written, you get a thumbs up. Problems related to how that slice fits into the whole sweep of the story, or how it supports the premise, or how it aligns with the overall structure are largely ignored—and yet many of the most common problems I see are the result of flaws in these areas.
When seen through a micro lens, a chapter can be beautiful and moving and polished yet be an utter failure at doing what it needs to do on a macro level—which is to drive the story or the argument forward towards a clear and resonant resolution.
Can you imagine Woody ever being a character who was fuzzy and unformed? He was, and as you can imagine, that impacted every element of the story. The writers and producers wrestled with his character for a long time before hitting on the slightly neurotic little toy cowboy who adores his owner Andy and is nervous about the newcomer, Buzz. Sign up for her weekly coaching lessons at JennieNash. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
I belong to an online critique group on Facebook. The comments on excerpts I have posted are great. Thanks you Writers World and Randall Andrews for all the help you have given me. How to Edit a complete manuscript was one of the most lucid and practical guides on the subject I have read and I have read more than a fair few.
Thank you for this excellent article. We get a lot of support from one another and some good critiques. But I am aware that we are all less than candid at times. Good points on both sides of the argument. Perfect timing for me — Thanks so much do sharing this!
I read this post, loved it, and then saw you had written it. Hope all is going well for you and that we cross paths again soon.
Finding people who are willing to give honest criticism and accept honest criticism in return in a writers group has been a real challenge for me personally. Even getting clear, concise feed back, is like pulling teeth. The flip side is, without it, we need it to grow and improve as writers.
In our exchange, Nash referred to the […]. It seems to be a popular method that is a little insane…. This was a great and timely post for me. I recently joined a critique group, and some nights I come home confused and discouraged. I can give general encouragement, or even specific praise, and I can give my opinion if something is missing or confusing.
This article came at the perfect time. Thank you so much! Presently I am in a group that understands the need for honesty and forthrightness in their critiquing. I was in another group with 2 very good friends. One of the constant things I needed to remind one of them was to be honest. I think she now understands. Thanks for the post, Jennie! Here is a list of the disadvantages of writing groups. When I first became serious about my writing, I joined several online groups.
Over time, I left all but one group due to many of the reasons cited in this excellent post. Finding people willing to give and, perhaps more important, receive honest critique was a challenge. Everyone loves hearing how their writing is fantastic and their story compelling. But the reason why I joined a writers group was to get honest, in-depth and thoughtful critique, not empty praise. I joined a writing group of five 27 years ago.
One member died of breast cancer and is still missed. We allowed another member through the years, but have returned to our foursome.
Our critiques are honest, forthright and of great benefit. We are boosters for each other and celebrate when one of us has a book published. We saw it from birth. We have book launches, book lunches, awards ceremonies, tears, extravagant themed Christmas dinners.
We are a family. Writers join a group for different reasons. We have people come to ours that seldom write. Maybe they are lonely and need the social aspects of being with writers.
But we do critique writers with gentleness in mind. And once we get going, good group editing usually occurs. It takes trust to be willing to open up and really address the issues at hand.
Some nights it goes well, other nights it could be better. But we have writers of all levels. Some published with degrees, and some like me who have written since birth. I have yet to find a truly helpful and encouring group.
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A platform for writing groups and an online space for writers. For hundreds of years—thousands if you count the Socrates school—writers have come together to . Aspiring Writers Group This is a brand new online writing group where aspiring writers can come to meet other writes, find tips to combat writers block, get feedback on their work, read or post a book review, and more.
The online writing group, writing workshop, and writing community where writers get quality critiques and feedback on their writing. Find the Right ONLINE CRITIQUE GROUP For You! By: Kate Reynolds | March 11, Every writer needs honest, constructive feedback. With increasing frequency, writers turn to online critique groups for that support. These virtual fraternities come in all flavors and sizes, from those specializing in science fiction, horror or children’s books.