A to Z Challenge 2013

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday - Criticisms and Class Notes

Today I'd like to talk about my thoughts regarding my short story class session this past Wednesday. Jody Hedlund is responsible for getting me going on this though, since she put up a great post on handling feedback on our writing. This particular topic is important to me because (as I've mentioned previously) I just handed my short story to everyone to workshop it.

This is an interesting feeling, putting my work out there to a group of relative strangers and waiting for their feedback. On the one hand, I like to think I enjoy sharing what I write whether it's first draft quality or revised a bit. I know how good (or bad) a writer I am, and I don't have a problem facing up to the mistakes I make.

On the other hand, this is the first thing I have written where I am actively hoping to work it up to publishable quality. What I mean by this is that with the WiPs I've written before, I would like to publish them but that destination is a long way off. With this short story, I can actually see the glow at the end of publication tunnel (and I'm hoping it's not a train). With this thought in mind, I guess I'm a bit more nervous about what these other people might say. I'm trying to remain positive, trying to remember that whatever criticisms they have will only improve my writing. I won't deny however, that part of me hopes they aren't cringing or feeling frustrated at having to workshop a story that (in their viewpoint) obviously isn't ready.

No matter how it turns out, posts like Jody's helps me keep in mind the positive things that can come out of criticism.

Besides turning in my story, class was really fun. We had a few people read off their flash fiction exercises (I didn't do any since I was getting my story ready). I was extremely impressed by the quality of the writing that my fellow students displayed. If I can capture even a little bit of what these people do so well, it'll be awesome.

We also had some on-demand, timed writing exercises that really challenged me. I liked it alot though, because the pressure of time made me just write and not think. That's not to say I didn't pause a couple times, but for the most part I just kept my fingers typing away and it was fun. The exercises involved being given a single word and using that as a launching point for writing something creative. If you've never done this before, I highly recommend it. Just pick a noun or a verb at random, set yourself a short time frame (like 5 - 10 minutes) and write. It was really cool and it was probably the first time I've ever felt like I was writing almost nonstop.

I will pick things up again probably on Monday, since I have alot of reading and class exercises to do this weekend. I also want to mention that I received my copy of Hearts Of The Morning Calm by Galen Kindley a couple days ago. I'm a few chapters in and I am blown away. His writing is phenomenal and I am so happy to be the recipient of this book. I will say that I'm not exactly thrilled by the cover though. Pink is not a color I spend much time with (okay, I actually avoid getting anywhere near pink), and this book has lots of pink on it. The words within the pages however, are more than worth dealing with the barrage of pink.

Sir Kindley has been gracious enough to agree to an interview, which I will conduct once I'm through reading his wonderful tome. Keep your eyes peeled for that coming up soon. And if you haven't entered my contest, get on it. There is only one more week to go, since it ends on April 30th. The prizes to choose from are awesome folks; you'll be kicking yourself if you miss out.

In closing, remember this:

You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose.

But you can't pick your friend's nose.

Ba dum dum dum!

Happy Friday, everyone.


Michelle H. said...

You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose.

But you can't pick your friend's nose.

I'm not so sure about that. It depends on just how big of a friendship you have and whether or not they are physically able to do it for themselves ;-)

Kat Harris said...

OMG! My junior high social studies teacher used to use that "pick your nose" line on our class when he was reassigning seats. But he would change it to, "You can pick your friends, and you can pick your seat, but you can't pick your friends' seat."

Note the double entendre. He was a naughty boy.

Anyway, pink is not my favorite color either, but I can't wait to read your interview with Gaylen. Sounds awesome. Have a great weekend!

Jody Hedlund said...

Glad I got your wheels churning, Eric! Hope you survive the critique and come out tougher and better for it! :-)

Galen Kindley--Author said...

So, I'm reading through your post thinking, "Oh, yeah. I've been there, done that." Suddenly, my name and book title pop-up. Took me by surprise! Thank you for the mention. I know you're not enamored of first person POV, so, I hope that's not a problem.

Anyway, seeking out constructive, well-informed critical analysis from people qualified to give it is a key component of getting your document ready for the greater world to see. Good feedback is hard to come by. You can't just run down to Costco and buy some. (I wish) Sounds like you're wired into some great feedback people. I know what they provide will be useful.

Best Wishes, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Eric said...

Thanks everyone. Today is the day, and I am really looking forward to it (even if I am a bit nervous too). Thanks for stopping by Galen. I'm loving the book so far.