I found this post in a recent perusal of the interweb, and it got me thinking about writer groups, workshopping and feedback. Giving a useful critique of someone's work is hard. I'm still improving in this area I have to say, but generally I try to make sure everything I say is helpful in some way.
On the other hand, when receiving feedback, it's a bit like art - I don't know much about it, but I know what I like:
- NOT a copy-edit. No punctuation corrections please. It can wait til the final edits. I don't need to know I haven't separated two clauses correctly when the whole novel's about to fall into a plot hole the size of the MCG. Unless you suspect I don't know the difference between a full-stop and a comma, in which case go for it.
- Someone who can see what's missing, not just what should probably get taken out (this is far more common!). It's so valuable when someone says, 'I think what you need here is a bit about how the mother never really loved him and drowned his puppy when he was a kid. That will explain the whole chainsaw thing.'
- A little bit of praise. It helps. And makes you feel like maybe writing some more.
- Insights into your characters that you were lacking
- Insights into situations that you've thrown at your characters ('Did you know that chainsaws actually run on diesel, not petrol? So he couldn't have siphoned the fuel out of her car.')
Fortunately, my workshopping group ticks all of these. If only someone could tell me exactly what to write so it would get published and earn me millions.
The NBN is supposed to be "fast"
8 hours ago