backbends, flips, and more

Feedback, feedback, oh what a wonderful thing!

I’m not talking about receiving, but giving,

In this last week because I’ve been reading and giving feedback to three members of my critique group (we have just resumed after the summer break).

I love commenting on the work of others, I find it so calming after editing my own stuff. There is no attachment to it, no prior knowledge, everything I wish to be able to bring to my own writing when editing. Except that I have no idea what the author intended and I can only hope my interpretation is what they were striving for.

Critiquing the work of others has really helped me develop my own. It has enabled me to see the common problems so many writers have. I have learnt about pacing, motivation, character development, plot, and on and on. The biggest thing it has brought me is clarity. I can see so many of my own flaws in my work since I began steadily critiquing, and more I can see the path to correction. Before what would have seemed daunting can now be broken down and analyzed and adjusted.

Are you part of a writing group? if not, why? If so, how do you find your own work has developed from it?

I’m off to see what’s been happening here in blog land this last week!

Happy writing.

I can see clearly now the rain has gone,

I can see all obstacles in my way,

Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind

It’s gonna be a bright, bright sunshiny day..

Johnny Nash

22 thoughts on “backbends, flips, and more

  1. Just recently I joined a writer’s group. So far it’s been great. The diversity of writers and styles never ceases to amaze me. I find myself looking forward to the next meeting so I can read what they’re developing.

  2. I’ve been part of writing groups for two years, two at the same time for six of those months. The one I’m in now is just four members.

    I, too, have learned to check my own work for the flaws I see in others. But I think the most important thing I’ve learned is the necessity of feedback. It’s amazing how we each find different things in the same piece, from plot problems to typos. I certainly wouldn’t have the ms I do today without my critique partners. 🙂

  3. I can relate to the calming aspect of this – even though I have never really had a writing group. The only reason I want to go to grad school for writing is so that I can have such a group. Greedily, I was looking more forward to others’ critiques of my writing, but you have reminded me how wonderful (not to mention educational!) it is to work with other people’s work.

    I’ve shared writing with this or that friend before, but I think the value of a group discussion is exponentially greater than a one-on-one discussion. Different people see different things when they read, and you can hear multiple interpretations, criticisms, and responses as they go through it together. I’ve seen this as a high school English teacher amongst my students.

    My wife patiently listens to my long stream-of-consciousness monologues as I attempt to analyze my own writing. Thank goodness, cause I think I’d be ranting to a wall if she weren’t around. I suppose that means she keeps me from going crazy.

    1. yes, my hubby and family listen to me as well, David. We need to talk it out, make order of it all.
      That must be interesting, seeing how your students respond to each others stories. Are you beginning grad school then?

      1. We’ll see about grad school. That is to say, yes, I am applying. But ten or so rejections is certainly within the realm of likelihood. I’ll figure the rest out when I get to it.

        More victimizing of my loved ones, I imagine.

  4. No writer’s group for me. I live in the boonies without another writer in sight. I wouldn’t care to drive 45 minutes one way to join a group in the nearest town.

    To be honest, when I started writing, I didn’t even know writing groups existed. I’ve been having some help with my lasted WIP which is a first for me. It’s been an eye opening experience. I’ve enjoyed it very much.

  5. I’m looking forward to become a part of a critique group this September.
    I had a group for two years and I loved (LOVED) giving & reviving feedback. I really think you need a fresh pair of eyes who can look at your book from the outside and see the things you can’t because you’re standing way too close. Feedback is the best hehe 🙂

  6. I was for a long time but recently stopped going. I haven’t had time to write fiction for a while and felt embarassed turning up empty handed every week. Silly me. Like you pointed out, giving feedback to others helps develop your own writing so I should probably go back.

    1. you know we have writers who only submit a few times a year. We know they are busy with other things, but we also know their commitment to writing is what keeps them with us giving feedback.

  7. Hi, I used to give lots of feedback to writers. It really helped at the time, developing all sorts of skills. I haven’t been down to the local novelist group since I met with an editor last December. Kind of feel that only I can write my own story. Plus, a couple of the writers objected to what I suggested.

    Best wishes with your writing,


    1. I have worked with an editor for my fiction once for short. it was quite an experience, and surprisingly great. I was so nervous given all I had heard about editors, but mine was quite wonderful!
      thanks, and same back to you, Lawrence

  8. I loved being in a critique group, but had to end that because of time constraints.

    One thing I took with me from the group was the realization that over 98% of the comments I received for scenes/characters/passages that “didn’t work” I had already felt in my gut before receiving feedback. This helped me learn to listen to my gut and act on its suggestions. 🙂

  9. I’m a relative newbie when it comes to crit groups but I find the process of reviewing another’s work to be, as you said Jennifer, so liberating, especially after spending weeks with my own draft and not being able to see it as freshly as I need to.

    1. It really is!!!!!!! I hope it keeps going great, Erika.
      I was so nervous when I began giving feedback, wondering how useful it would be, would I say the wrong thing, would other writers be offended – but it turned out I love it.

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