The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Monday, August 10, 2015

Two (or More) Heads


        When I was hiking surrounded by the Pyrenees in France a couple of weeks ago, I saw these horses. (I have to keep going back to France mentally, as I officially returned to work last week. Alas, the summer--as I know it--is over.)

Look closely. Two of them (the two on the right) are facing in opposite directions.




        When the horses are standing like this, one horse can use its tail to keep the flies off the other horse's face.

         Every other Wednesday, I have a writing critique meeting. Each of us has the expertise of four other writers to improve our pieces. Words are scratched out. Parts are rearranged. Alternative endings are suggested. Five heads are way better than one.

        In my classroom we use the PQP method when working on our writing. When small response groups get together, they first give Praise (specific compliments about the writing), they then Question the author (asking questions that will help improve the piece) and then they offer the chance for the writer to Polish their story by giving suggestions on different techniques the writer could use or different directions the writer could take.

       When was a time recently when you collaborated with someone to complete a task? Was it easier, or would you preferred to have worked alone? Minds who have to go back to work want to know...

        

       

22 comments:

  1. So those horses literally cover each other's behinds? Sounds like a great arrangement to me.

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    1. Tammy--I know. What a wonderful arrangement!

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  2. One of your writer's group helped me recently with a story by her input. Was so glad to have it!

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    1. Claudia--I think I know who your helper was... And since she's now retired, she has oodles of time to help other writers... in the midst of sending off sixty-five writing submissions every day. ;)

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  3. I work best when I work alone. It's a character flaw.

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    1. MZ--If I could write like you, I wouldn't have to rely on the kindness of strangers (or the patience of my writing friends).

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  4. That's a loaded question. Under normal circumstances I'd rather work alone---bad memories from my school days when we had to work on group projects, which always meant I did most of the work and everyone else collected the A. With my writing, I appreciate the help of fellow writers. When it comes to household chores, well...everyone should pitch in!

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    1. Lisa--I was a "Solitary (wo)Man" when working on school projects. (I couldn't resist a little Neil Diamond) But if I had to revise my writing alone? Well, I'd probably have only a few publishing notches in my belt, for sure.

      And housework SHOULD be done by a handsome Viggo Mortensen-lookalike man, but if someone like that is not available/affordable... yeah, everyone should help out.

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  5. My most recent collaboration occurred on Saturday, when a SOUPER writer who may or may not be cohabiting with SasQ, gave generously of her time to steer me through the pitfalls of a piece near and dear to my heart. A couple of tweaks, and the new version was ready to send off to seek my fortune.

    UN-fortune-ATELY, the storms last night wreaked havoc with my NewNewDelly, and I was without internet for most of the evening. I had to report back to school today, so I'm just now getting ready to shove that gem into the cold cruel world.

    Being a know-it-all, I am not generally a trusting person, and collaboration comes hard for me. My benefactor is better than gas station chicken, 44 oz Diet Coke, and slaw all rolled into one! I appreciate her suggestions like my husband appreciates Auction Meat. I don't think she can get a much better endorsement than that!

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    1. Val--She's known as the Queen of Chicken Soup... Perhaps her new title should be Princess of Slaw?

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  6. I prefer to do most of my work alone. However, once I think the piece is ready, I value the input of others who will see it with fresh eyes.

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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    1. Pat--That's how I work. I need fresh eyes that are wide open...

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  7. I collaborated with MZ's daughter and it was lots of fun.

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    1. Shay--I'd love to hear about that collaboration. If she is only a fraction as talented as MZ, she is oozing with giftedness...

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  8. I am usually way too close to the project, and in writing, I appreciate suggestions, but in most other things, leave me alone and let me do it my way. That worked for me in a classroom for almost four decades.

    Um, some of your readers are giving accolades that are much appreciated.

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    1. Linda--The accolades are much deserved!

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  9. Oh, I like that PQP! The older I get, the more I appreciate any help given. My standards have slipped, but then again, my standards were kinda ridiculous. Now, I just want to get the project done! :-)

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    1. Cathy--Getting it done is important to me as well. And I embrace any suggestions, too. Writing is too hard without taking a needlessly independent stance.

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  10. What wonderful thoughts and a fine photo indeed. Greetings to you!

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    1. Blogoratti--Thanks, and greetings right back at you!

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  11. Aside from being distracted and distressed because that dark horse looks like it may have a bad hip, I must say that I have to write alone, for the first few drafts. But then I must take my work to my critiquers for polishing. By their initial reactions I can tell if I've hit the mark or thrown out to left field.

    This week I took a new piece for review and they gave glowing comments, nods and smiles. They caught the foreshadowing, the nuances. I was very pleased. And then I took home their written edits to review, and I was even more pleased. Because they took my wonderful work and scratched out words, rearranged clauses, cleared up details, and made it all so much better! That's what I love about the process. Not everyone has a good group to rely on, so I cherish mine, like you do yours.

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  12. Marcia--It is amazing how much whittling and resculpting and rearranging a good group can do with a piece of... well, a piece of writing. ;) I agree. You and I both hit the jackpot--and we found two different pots of gold.

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