Thursday, December 13, 2012

I'm A Great Writer...In My Own Head

                A few years ago, I was listening to a series of audio books; while recovering from a kidney transplant. These particular novels were topping the best seller lists and taking the country by storm. I hated them. The characters were underdeveloped, the story line was too slow, and I was not engaged in the plot…blah, blah, blah.
                I can do better than this. I told myself. If I know what’s wrong with these books, then I can write better ones. Armed with my sure knowledge of how to be a great writer I set out to write a series of stories that would top this pathetic group I had been reading.
                A year and a half later…I can’t read what I wrote; it is so bad.
                What was I thinking? Well, I was thinking that a little talent and determination are all you need to write good stories. While that may be true; being a great writer in your own head leaves your stories good for… only you.
                Learning How to be a good writer takes patience and hard work. More importantly, it takes readers who like what you write. If it doesn’t make sense, capture, or entice a reader; it is worthless. One of the best tools I have found in my quest to be a better author; is a thorough critique.
                I am part of a critique group. A group of writers who listens to my work and then tells me what does and doesn’t work. The other members of the group get the same feedback on their work and then each of us has more than just ourselves to impress.
                I also send out short stories, essays and shorter work to on-line critiques, and to members of the three writing groups I belong to.
                The feedback of other writers is invaluable. Not only do I get to hear what readers will be thinking, but I get the talent, expertise and know-how of an entire universe of great writer’s. It’s like living in the library and having the books converse with me          
                My critique group made it possible for me to get Killing Casanova ready for the publisher. Thanks to the hard work done by the critiques, edits were minor and the manuscript was immediately accepted for publication.
                That original set of stories I wrote all those years ago, are being critiqued right now. I hope to get them in to publication sometime this next year. Rescuing my writing from my own flawed perceptions of what works is the reason I love critiques.
If you want people to read your work and then gush about how brilliant it is; give it to your mom or your best friend. If you want to be a great writer, not just in your own head; join a critique group. You won’t be sorry

1 comment:

  1. Hi traci, I couldn't agree more. I belong to a couple of critique groups: one for poetry and one for fiction. The poetry group meets once a month at the senior center. Besides critiquing each other's work, we take turns facilitating our meetings and providing writing exercises to work on for the next meeting. The fiction group meets once a week online, using Team Talk, and we e-mail pieces to be critiqued to our list serve. These groups have inspired me over the years, and I don't know what I would do without them.

    Abbie Johnson Taylor, Author of
    We Shall Overcome
    How to Build a Better Mousetrap:
    Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver