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Writing Tuesday

Tuesday critique group keeps getting better! We have now left copy-editing behind, and everyone is pumped up about making real, structural improvements to their work.

The beauty of a weekly group with the same people is that we all commit our pet faults over and over, so I get to see Faults A, B, and C* every Monday, and every Tuesday, I get to dig deep and find constructive suggestions for fixing them. And every Wednesday, when I go back to my own writing, those faults leap off my page at me, like whoa, I didn't realize I was doing that!--and I now have an idea of how to fix them.

And in this way, little by little, I'm learning to fix the faults before I commit them! Like, not committing them in the first place, almost!

I never realized before how valuable a writing group could be, but it's turning out to be priceless.

*Here are the some popular recurrent problems I've learned to see so far, thanks to this group:

Pulling punches: can't bear to be so mean to your characters. A comfort after every hurt. People agree. Things Are Nice. This is a beautiful place. Please don't fight. (I am so GUILTY of this!)

Swallowed the SHOW DON'T TELL pill which is a beginner pill that should be spat back out as soon as possible: dares not tell us a character is surprised; instead bends over backwards to describe surprised facial expressions and body postures. AKA The Eyebrow Problem. (I err in the opposite direction.)

Telling the Truth Instead of Telling a Story: "but they need to eat! This restaurant scene makes perfect sense" in the middle of an action arc. AKA "shoe leather", "stage directions", and "macro lens". (Still struggling with this one every day. I suspect it will only go away completely in third drafts.)

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
roxymissrose
Sep. 9th, 2015 03:28 am (UTC)
SHOW DON'T TELL

I thought that telling was a major crime! I'm showing all over the place in my stories! :D
emeraldsedai
Sep. 9th, 2015 03:50 am (UTC)
Yeah, but you show the hot stuff!

I don't honestly think SHOW DON'T TELL is bad advice, but I think some writers treat it like a religious commandment. I've read your stories, and I've never struggled to understand what a character was feeling because you were trying so hard NOT to tell me!

Like, you know, it's one thing to say, "She stalked across the room and left, slamming the door behind her" instead of "She left angrily." But it's quite another to say, "His eyebrows met in the middle of his forehead" instead of "He was puzzled."

Fine line. Fine line...
emeraldsedai
Sep. 9th, 2015 03:51 am (UTC)
I mean, it's good to show. But it's not uniformly a writing crime to tell.
emeraldsedai
Sep. 9th, 2015 03:52 am (UTC)
Also, your Jared "oops" icon is hilarious.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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