The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Writerly Friends

       Perhaps when you share your work with friends, you want them to gush. You want an outpouring of praise. In other words, you want to be part of a mutual admiration society.

       "I love this. It's great."
       "Oh, thanks but yours is so much better. Your   
          story is absolutely incredible." 
       "Thank you...You think so? Your images are
        simply phenomenal!"
         Yadda, yadda, yadda...
        If you share your work enough with people like this, you will need a thesarus with you at all times,  so you can get some words and phrases like "earth shattering" and "life changing" and "moving" and "chilling" sprinkled in with the normal great/fabulous/wonderful.

       However, if you are serious about writing, and you genuinely want to improve your story/poem/essay, you need to share your writing with people who are armed with spears.  And when they raise their spears, you need to raise up your shield and see where the spear points land.  And you need to write down where the dents are, so you don't forget...

photo by spaceninja

       With your writing, it's good to get constructive criticism.  A friend who can pick apart your who reads with a writer's eye...a friend who is not afraid to make suggestions...That is the kind of friend a writer needs.

       Yesterday evening, Linda O'Connell , while she was busy doing the sacred "Snow Day" dance over and over again (it worked!), she made some time to look at a story of mine.  Not only did she read it, but she gave me a bunch of much-needed suggestions to improve it, she gave some specific images to jumpstart my revising, and she sent me several places for resubmitting the story.

        Now, that does not mean I agree with all her suggestions.  There is one I've got my heels dug in about, but I did not use the strategy well, so I will tweak it but keep the technique. However, when a writer re-examines their work to "make their case" about a word choice or metaphor, their writing becomes stronger. 

        Thanks, Linda.  I will resend you the story when it is revised.  And I want to know from all the blogging writers that might read this:  Who do you share your writing with when you want some real feedback?  How do they help you specifically?  After all,

    Writers do not let friends write crap.


  1. Hi Sioux,
    I love "writers do not let their friends write crap."

    Although I belong to a critique group, because my essays are personal I don't always share themm with the group. Most often I e-mail one or two trusted writer friends who always give me great suggestions, and they definitely don't let me get away with writing crap.
    Donna v.

  2. Aww Sioux, Thank you for that shout out. I hope I didn't offend you with my edits. Your story is powerful and moving. Can't wait to see the final product and in print, at that.
    Any time!

  3. Donna--I understand. There are different levels (or depths) of sharing.

    Linda--NOTHING was offensive. I'm grateful, I have a thick skin, and you gave me exactly what I needed and what I desired. Again, thank you.

  4. Hey Sioux - Never underestimate the power of a good writer friend! I belong to a small critique group (4 of us). We meet every other week, and the feedback is amazing. The honesty is necessary for real improvement, and I always come away revved up to write.

  5. This is true. It's kind of a test of who your real friends are...
    Happy weekend,

  6. Hey Sioux...this is so weird that you wrote about this today, and that I'm seeing it this evening. It goes right along with C. Hope Clark's blog post AND the little Searchlights & Signal Flares I have to submit by tomorrow, to Tiny Lights. (If you haven't known me long enough to know all about Tiny Lights, zip me an e-mail and I'll 'splain it to ya! AND, my answer to your question is the same as Donna's!!

  7. My oldest daughter is blantantly honest and I have a friend from high school who will tell me the truth. I also value many of my blogging friends... I like your quote too...

  8. Great post. So true! I'm also a lover of "Writers do not let their friends write crap." May I quote you?

  9. Great advice! I will never let my friends write crap again!


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