A lot of writers post about writing. I don't. Not because I don't enjoy talking or reading about writing but because, after spending hours upon hours immersed in any given WIP, I need a break.
And to kick off the week I'm going to make what, might possibly be, a controversial statement.
I'm allergic to critique groups. That is, I'm allergic in exactly the same way my oldest child is allergic to broccoli. In short, I hate them. Passionately!
Right now some of you are thinking, "She's just never had a good critique group." And the rest of you are thinking, "What's a critique group?" For the rest of you, here's a quick explanation. A lot of writers give their unfinished WIP's to other writers who then provide feedback. Many, many writers swear by this process. And, in theory, I can see how sharing your fledgling baby bird could have a tremendous amount of value.
Unfortunately, I went to law school. It was those (not so) hallowed halls that sparked my critique group allergy. Even though in law school we called it a study group, the net result was the same.
There was the jockeying for position, the quoting of arcane rules and cases to make equally arcane points. There were different study styles accompanied by protracted arguments about which study style was the most effective, the most certain to guarantee success.
Outlines of the course material were shared and then picked apart. One person thought the outlines needed more case background, another thought they should be focused only on rules of law.
Let me rewrite the above paragraphs with a twist.
There was the jockeying for position, the quoting of arcane rules of grammar and punctuation to make equally arcane points. There were different writing styles accompanied by protracted arguments about which writing style was the most effective, the most certain to guarantee success.
Works in progress were shared and then picked apart. One person thought each WIP needed more world building, another thought they should focus on the characters and their internal motivations.
At some point during my first year of law school I decided squabbling study groups were a waste of time. It seemed more efficient to just prepare my own outlines and then swap the finished product with a friend, so we could make sure our Torts were elemented and our Contracts analyzed.
After reading other writer's blog I've realized my novels are written just like my law school outlines. First I write then I edit. When I've built the whole book I send it out to the Betas.
But I'm curious.
I want to hear about all of your writerly processes. Do you forge to "The End" on your own or do you get your feedback chapter by chapter? Have I got it all wrong about critique groups?
Do the writer's who read this blog found that if the writing styles are too far apart the critique group melts down? If they're too similar does it end up being less valuable? Which bring me back to Goldilocks
Stop by on Wednesday and I'll tell you about the chair that fits just right.