The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, June 9, 2014

Constructive Criticism

       I must have skin that's a mile thick. (Perhaps THAT is why I'm so fat. It's not the chocolate and the buttered bread and the mashed potatoes...it's my thick skin. Halleluiah!) I ask for suggestions on what to cut. I relish offerings from others on how to improve my writing. I appreciate honesty when it comes to writing critique.




      This past weekend I went on a writing project retreat. It was at my favorite monk-ery. I didn't necessarily get too much feedback from the group I was in, but I did get some valuable critique from the guest editor (Britton Gildersleeve...I know--what a name!) who comes every year to this retreat.




      What is the best writing advice you ever got?  

20 comments:

  1. Ha, did you "monkie"around this weekend, Sioux? Glad you got to go...hope you came home infused with writing vigor.

    Thanks for tip on Muffin...I wrote of a tea magazine on tea and books...I will think about this idea of tea and writing.

    Hope the rain stops soon. I becoming a little swamped with the dark.

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    1. Claudia--I'm glad you're going to think about submitting to The Muffin.

      It's raining here today. Yuck!

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  2. Editors like short. Best advice I ever got. Or, maybe, that's just the advice that I like the best.

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    1. Mama Zen--You've made "short" an artform.

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  3. Don't be afraid to break the rules. I started out breaking the rules.

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    1. Linda--It's fine to break the rules when the rule-breaker writes as well as you do...

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  4. "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me." Okay. So maybe that advice was not specifically for me, and maybe it was not specifically about writing...but that's how I get myself going some days.

    On the flip side, I won a contest a few years ago, and the judges told me the best thing about my writing was my voice. They created a monster. I'm reluctant to tame my writing, to water it down, to conform. Besides, it's easier NOT to change.

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    1. Val--That's what everyone loves about you--your voice and your hilarious, unique perspective.

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  5. To read, I guess. I don't think a person can become a good writer unless they read.

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    1. Shay--It's surprising how many writers DON'T read. (I completely agree with you.)

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  6. One of my favorite pieces of writing advice came in the form of a poster on the wall of my high school creative writing class (even though I don't remember noticing the classroom posters in those days). It said simply, "If you wish to be a writer, write."

    I can't believe you went to the monkery without me again! I hope you stocked up on quiche cheese.

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    1. Tammy--That must have struck a chord with you, since it's a bit of advice that's stuck with you for a few years...

      Again, I forgot to buy some monk-cheese. But of course, these weren't French monks--just good ol' Missouri brothers. I don't think American cheese is as good as French cheese.

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  7. I remember the light going on in my brain when it wrapped the idea of "my truth" being as valid as "their truth" -- that is that my memories are mine alone and even if they differ from others' memories of the same event, mine are still true. As a memoirist this is very freeing. I get to keep my voice and pov!

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    1. Marcia--Yes, the most powerful pieces I've read have a true, unvarnished voice.

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  8. I'm so jealous, you went to the monkery!!!! Wah. Let's see, I've received all kinds of writing advice... I have a favorite quote that I always go back to when I think I can't write or wonder what's the point, however, I can't remember it right off the top of my head. I'll come back later.

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    1. Lynn--Maybe the quote is, "When you find a great quote, write it down or get it tattooed onto your forehead"? ;)

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  9. The BEST advice? Gak. I'm not sure which to choose as the absolute best. "Dump the adverbs," "kill your darlings," "show don't tell," are all good ones, the last one being the toughest for me to grasp. But the best? I think the thing I go back to time and again is a quote by Lady Bird Johnson (which isn't even about writing): "The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid." When I'm writing or involved with anything pertaining to writing, I'm not afraid. For my writing, I will push past my shyness and self-consciousness and force my introverted self to interact. I submit work, get on airplanes, and go to conferences, all because I'm wrapped up in writing. Without it, I'd probably be a hermit, so for me, that was the best advice ever. Especially since interacting with other writers is where so much of the best advice pops up! :)

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    1. You, a hermit? I can't imagine that, Lisa.

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  10. NaNoWriMo completely changed the way I looked at writing. "Write first, edit later" definitely helped keep me in the routine of getting words on paper.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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  11. Pat--Amen. I tell people all the time that if they try NaNo, the story will take over...as long as they trust it.

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Thanks for your comments. I appreciate you taking the time to stop by...