Friday, July 9, 2010

Hey, That's My Story!

Recently I've been exchanging drafts and comments with an online circle of writers who are the remnants of various in-person writer's groups to which I used to belong. I'm glad there are still people with whom I can exchange drafts, since I enjoy reading drafts and I like the accountability of doing my revisions semi-publically (years of temp work has addicted me to external feedback).

One of the things that I don't like about exchanging comments is that there isn't as much possibility for discussion regarding the comments. What this means is that there is a greater possibility of misinterpretation/offense, which acts against the effectiveness of receiving comments. It usually stings to hear that there are potential challenges with your scenes, characters, and plot and everyone needs space for reaction to that; however, it's sometimes easier to take in a setting where everyone is receiving feedback and you're with friends rather than receiving paragraphs of "change this, change that" from someone whom you haven't seen in a while.

Maybe it's just that I've been a little sloppy with my comments lately, forgetting to indicate the places where I particulary enjoyed the text or becoming hooked on certain plot twists of my own that don't tell the story the actual author wants to tell. That's another thing that it's easier to do online--give opinions that veer into rewrite territory instead of indicating where you feel the narrative loses your interest or becomes too complex to follow. I think I'm being a little too stingy with acknowledging the good and too eager to jump with both feet on the stuff I don't prefer. I've been hijacking the plot and trying to steer it on a different course.

That I'm trying to redirect other plots probably means that I'm not doing enough revising on my own and that I'm once again letting comments (and blog entries) substitute for revision. Drat my devious brain!

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