discovery #18

first, i must share some very sad news: my laptop is in critical condition. she began feeling the effects of old age a few months ago, but has recently experienced a sharp decline in health. this has resulted in numerous symptoms for the silver beauty, including, but not limited to: slow movements, increasing time to process simple commands, occasional outbursts, and a tendency toward sleep. i regret to say that over the holiday weekend things took a turn for the worst, and she is now in a coma. the light in her screen has gone out, but there is a faint glow...i can see the icons, but they are very dim. we have been hoping that with rest she will come back to life, but so far: nothing. we will seek medical intervention very soon and keep you posted on her recovery.
this discovery is almost 2 weeks late, but important to my growth as a writer, nonetheless...

how to handle a critique (without crying)

i'm sure it's a similar exercise in most creative writing workshops, sitting with a group of strangers, listening to their feedback on your most personal thoughts, and not being able to utter a single word. don't get me wrong, i think it is helpful that the writer in the hot seat is not able to respond, but for me, it was a nearly impossible task.

first, i love to talk. second, they were asking me QUESTIONS...how do you expect me to sit there in silence? third, i already KNEW some of the criticisms, i felt the same way...couldn't i at least agree with them? but all in all, it was a great first experience. i was nervous the whole week leading up to it, and then it was over so fast! i wanted MORE! (more compliments anyway)

but i did have some written feedback as well...i finally got through all of the comments the other day. overall, it was a pretty positive critique of my first "story." this is something i probably shouldn't get used to, if i'm planning to start submitting my writing for publication. i'm guessing most editors aren't as kind as my classmates...

so, despite my discomfort with the process--or at least the anticipation of it--i really gained some valuable insight for the story and hopefully a future book. (everyone seemed to agree that short story is not the appropriate format for such a complex narrative.) i also learned a lot about writing in general...some of the take-aways included:
  • know your audience. and ensure every word is tailored to the reader.
  • build your characters. readers are interested in details. and be clear on who's who!
  • stick with action. stay in the moment...reflection can become redundant.
  • don't use italics for emphasis. if the writing is good, you shouldn't need to emphasize your words.

once i get my external hard-drive hooked up to this computer i'll get some photos up...and if my trusty old laptop goes to the grave, it will be the best money i ever spent!!! thank god for back-ups.

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