Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tell 'em what they did right!

Another fun morning at Hastings Books & Music. Eight of us showed up this morning. As usual, it was great coffee along with very stimulating conversation. Many topics were covered, including movies, children, God, war, a touch of politics and writing/critiquing techniques.

One of the things I brought up was how at the critique sessions we tend to skip over a really good piece of writing by saying something like, "Oh, that was great." "Any other comments?" "No." "Okay on to the next piece to be critiqued." I think this is short changing the new writers in the group. Yes, we need to point out flaws in plot, grammar, pacing and the like, but good examples of the right way to tell a story can be invaluable, especially to the new writers.

Karen mentioned that occasionally she will try to use very long sentences, a technique she studied with the group last year. When no one mentions the long sentences, she's not sure if she met the goal of what a long sentence is supposed to do. A good hook, believable conflict and a reasonable resolution are also things that should be discussed. What made it work, why was the conflict so effective and even though it may have been a surprise, why was the resolution logical. These positive things need to be addressed. So often, it's the stories that need a lot of work that get talked to death. So do the stories that jog memories, when everyone has to chime in with the details of a similar person/situation in their life. Just some thoughts that were thrown around over our coffee this morning.

Talked with Peter at Hastings and found out that all my copies of After the War, Before the Peace have been sold. They only have one copy of Hannah left. He said to bring in some more copies and he will put them on the Hastings shelves for me. Yahoo!!

Putting more focus on the things we do right with our writing brought this quote to mind. "To be good is noble, but to teach others to be good is nobler - and less trouble." Mark Twain.

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