Thursday, October 28, 2010

Workshopping: The Revenge of the Adverb

Okay, this post has nothing to do with revenge or adverbs, but I've got movie franchises on the brain. Last night was my first round of workshopping my own piece with my creative writing class, and suffice it to say I was nervous. I had no idea if they would like it or understand it. It didn't help that I was the last one to receive feedback, either. Every once in awhile during the other critiques I felt that familiar pang of nerves in my stomach, knowing that every plot point discussed brought us closer to my own plot points.

The critiques seemed more in-depth and pointed last night, which actually made me happy. I'd been a little discouraged last week when everyone was so positive (I know, I'm masochistic that way); I was worried people were too afraid to give honest feedback, or that they didn't have a trained enough eye to spot problems in the stories. But it was a smaller crowd last night, which allowed for longer focus on each piece and more detailed feedback from each reader. I was really proud of everyone for their great insights, and I found myself nodding along to a lot of the critiques other classmates were sharing. I'd be happy to have any of them as critique partners along the way.

Of course we took a break right before discussing my piece. Just an extra ten minutes of torture for JEM. I got my listening ears on, ready for the piece to get ripped apart, hoping that they would like at least one or two parts of the story. Writing is like cutting your own hair without a mirror - you think you've got the back part right, but it falls right in your blind spot so you're really just hoping you didn't cut an entire chunk of your hair out without even realizing it. When we returned to class I did my best impression of someone who wasn't at all worried about the next thirty minutes of class, but I'm not sure everyone bought it.

The instructor had each person start by reading a piece of their story, and of course she chose a dialogue bit for me. Not to go too in depth on my story, but the dialogue is made up. As in, I'm not really sure how to read it out loud. I gave it my best shot, though, and chalked it up to preparation for all those millions of author events I'll do someday (right). Then I braced myself (I know, I'm building up tension, so sue me) (please don't actually sue me).

They loved it. They loved the characters, they loved the writing, they loved the story arc (or what little they saw of it). And what's more, the feedback they had was so awesome I couldn't even be mad about it. Many of them pointed out weaknesses I already knew I had - I don't describe scenery, I hadn't done enough research for the piece, etc. - and I found myself nodding along to several of the suggestions. Like as soon as they said it I realized how true it was. Although it was surreal to listen to a discussion about my own work and not be allowed to participate. Surreal and fun.

And the best part? They were disappointed when I said I'd be bringing in a different piece for the next round, and they asked that I bring in the next chapter of the story instead.

So last night brought me two great boons - a confirmation that I'm on the right path with my writing, and much needed feedback and insight into the mind of the reader. If you need me, I'll be on cloud nine.


Lola Sharp said...

Awww. I'm so happy for your happiness. :) And that they are turning out to be better than you previously thought.

I wasn't worried about your writing one bit. I told you a long time ago, you've got talent that is obvious from your blog posts alone.

Yay! Enjoy your floating on cloud nine. *hugs*

Christina Lee said...

*thumbs up* YAYAYAYAY!