Friday, August 19, 2011

Critique Group

Okay, so you all think just because I get published that it is easy? I am one of those people who do best under pressure, last minute, on deadline. But sometimes, not even a donut infusion can entice my brain cells. These hunt-and-peck fingers start and stop more than a fifteen year old popping a clutch on an old car. I hit Delete more than the E key. When I TRY to write, I speed down the page with a great idea and then, I hit a speed bump that doesn't just slow me down, it lays me out flat like a road block. Especially, when I try to write fiction. I write a thousand words of good stuff and then my plot sputters like a clunker out of gas. I tell myself I am a wanna be, not a real writer, or I would easily cross genre, write as smooth as frosting on a chocolate donut. I listen to friends talk about how they sold their vacation story/photos to magazines. I sulk. I feel inadequate. I'm a chuckle writer, a feel good chickie. And Stephen King confirmed it in his book, On Writing. He said that Chicken Soup writing is not real writing. Ouch! I eat another donut and mope.

So, I have joined a critque group (again after a couple years)to get me on track. The leader, Sioux, is a powerful writer. That gal doesn't just ignite a keyboard; she has the power to yank a chair right out from under a writer. She's not a push over, she's a knock you down kind of gal. I want her in my corner. She scares me. Uhm, I mean she knows her stuff.

The other four members are outstanding, published, brilliant writers too. I am so looking forward to our get togethers. We are a critique group that really clicks and I want to thank SIOUX for leaving me with one good arm. I can at least dunk a donut ;)

19 comments:

June Freaking Cleaver said...

Good for you!

I feel like a wannabe, too. Sure, I can do chuckles, about stuff that happens in my life, but that's really for self-defense.

You know, Stephen King is just a guy with an opinion (and a zillion books)...he's not the expert of everything. Maybe he can't write nonfiction?

The group I belong to in Jefferson County does critiques once a month, but I think I need something gut-wrenchingly intense to get me off my butt and out of my comfort zone.

Bookie said...

Wow, this sounds like a great start to more new things. Tough is good. Wish I were close enough to join you...then again, maybe I am not THAT tough...Sioux might reduce me to tears!

jabblog said...

Good luck! It sounds like a great group.

Pam said...

In my opinion, no matter what skills we have, if we seek to stay on top of our game, to improve, we need to find someone who is still a level above us. Maybe they do scare (lol) or motivate us; they should! It makes me laugh when people think its easy to be noticed and accepted by a publisher, or by a gallery, or easy to accomplish anything that gains us merit or notariety in our areas of expertise. It is NOT is an easy task. When people see someone as an "overnight success" or as a natural talent, they just don't know how much practice, rejection, humiliation, self-doubt, and just how many sleepless nights existed before this so called "overnight Success!"

Katie Gates said...

Hi Linda, Just read of the recent assault on Sioux's post. Now I'm confused... Was SHE the one who pulled the chair out from under you? :) If the commute weren't prohibitive, I'd join your group!

Claudia Moser said...

Great idea!

Chatty Crone said...

Glad she is keeping you in line!

Linda O'Connell said...

Katie, you got it. I pulled up an extra chair, (wooden) so the others could sit on a soft chair and Sioux pulled it out, and kindly offered to sit on it...as I hit the floor :) It was funny, so that's why I said I am afraid of Sioux. Actually she's smart and funny.

Thanks everyone for your comments on this post and the one about The Help. I so appreciate ytour visits and wish we could all get together; wouldn't that be fun?

lyndylou said...

I feel like a wanna be too. I love words and putting them down on paper. I have so much to say but sometimes I think, no one wants to read them.

Don't lose confidence in yourself, you go girl :)

K9friend said...

A good critique group is worth so much. Maybe one of these days I can find an evening group to join.

Pat
www.critteralley.blogspot.com

Beth M. Wood said...

I am so happy to be included Linda. I don't know if I can offer each of you what I know you can offer me, but I'm very excited to be a part of such a talented group of writers. I'm looking forward to reading, writing, learning, and laughter! Hope your bum is not too bruised!!

Sioux said...

Your tongue is so firmly dug into your cheek, I'll bet there's a permanent dent in it now.

I actually think we can rent ourselves out to malls and coffeehouses. Does your business establishment have groups of teenagers who will not leave? Hire "Five Women With Cramps." Their conversation--about menopause and mustache hairs and droopy breasts-- will drive any unwanted teens away.

Debora said...

I need somebody like Sioux to kick me in the keester and get me going! That group sounds like fun!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

If I put Skype on my computer can I be a virtual member of your group? Sioux IS a powerhouse, I quite agree. Plus, if the other members of your group are as fun as you two, it will be a blast.

I read On Writing, but I don't recall the CS comment. Probably selective memory. (Besides, if I write it and get paid, it's real writing.) I HOPE what he meant was that CS writing is not equivalent to novel writing, and of course, it isn't. CS is short-story memoir, not the same process as fiction writing at all. Just like novel writing doesn't much compare to cartooning. Both are valid mediums with a significant audience. So is CS. :)

Karen Lange said...

Good for you! I think a critique group is a wonderful thing! :)

Thisisme. said...

Good luck with your new group, Linda. I'm sure that it can only be good for you. Sometimes we need a few others on board, just to keep things going.

Val Thevictorian said...

If you and Sioux ever need to take your show on the road, after being expelled from every available urban venue...perhaps I could host a hoedown for you out here in the hinterlands.

I remember Stephen King also mentioned how, as a child, he had a needle jammed in his ear for an infection. Which doesn't mean that writers have to suffer just like him to be successful. Many critics don't consider HIS writing to be real writing. But he's laughing all the way to the bank.

Alice said...

I'm a firm believer in critique groups. No matter how many times I go over my masterpiece, it's always better after my writing buddies suggest a colorful description, stronger verb or even a catchy title. Kudos to critique groups!

Reflections said...

Sounds like a fabulous group forming! I so think critique is exactly what we all need... deep down honest words of wisdom, feedback from the reader letting us know what they are experiencing from our words. Good luck with the ladies, Sioux sounds a little tough.