They Weren’t as Bad as I Thought

writing editingMy read and critique group meets the third Friday of each month.  We submit our pieces by midnight on the first Friday of each month,  One of our group leaders assembles them in a PDF document and emails them to us the following Monday or Tuesday.

Depending upon whether we are in two or three groups and how many people submit pieces, we each have four to six approximately 10-page submissions to read.  The guidelines say 10 pages per month, but people submit up to 19 pages so that an entire chapter can be included.  Most of the submissions are fiction.  A few are memoirs and occasionally someone submits poetry.

This month I submitted poetry that had been posted to this blog.  Titles included The Feral Wind, Assaulting the Beaches on Christmas Day, What Book is This,   How Fast Are You?, and a few others.   In the two weeks between submitting them and having them critiqued, I wondered why I had taken the easy way out and submitted poetry.  On a few of the poems like Feral Wind and Assaulting the Beaches on Christmas Day,  I had spent some time molding the words.  Most of the others were dashed off as quickly as I could get the words typed and the mispellings corrected. (Thank you Grammarly, even if I don’t always agree with you.)

Anything can be improved.  Removing most “the”‘s from The Feral Wind really smoothed out the flow.

Original lines

The playful breeze

Tossed birds into the air

To soar with the currents

Swoop with the downdrafts

Gliding and pirouetting

Between the cliffs of the cove and the point

Where the sea cave channeled the waves through the jutting land.

Revised lines

A playful breeze

Tossed birds into the air

To soar with  currents

Swoop with  downdrafts

Gliding and pirouetting

Between  cliffs of the cove and  point

Where the sea cave channeled the waves through  jutting land.

The other poems were critiqued because of imagery (or lack thereof like How Fast Are You which is just a word play on the number of words that end in fast like breakfast or steadfast.)  The uneven cadence in some poems like Be Leaf in Yourself were highlighted with re-write.  Everyone had a differing opinion on whether a poem had some or no meaning.

People seemed surprised and liked the variety.  No one shredded the poems with criticism.  The light hearted poems were as well received as the more lyrical or highly scripted poems.  I told them I was regretting the submission of some poems.  They asked which ones.  I said I would tell them after the poems had been critiqued.  The ones I had not wanted  to include were Be Leaf in Yourself and Valentine’s Day: Day of Love,.

Take away:  Be brave.  Let your work be judged. It is often not as bad as your inner critique would have you belive. The insights of others, may just improve your work.  It improved mine.

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BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

We’re gonna write…ya wanna make something of it?

Remember that class where the teacher put people in groups and everyone shared a grade? How there was always that one person who slacked and drove everyone else crazy, and someone (possibly you) who worked double overtime to get the project done so you didn’t all fail?

Yeah, groups can really suck. Even writing groups, where we’re all there voluntarily…but so is That Writer. Plus the people who read too long, or ask for professional-level editorial feedback for free, or are all at wildly different levels.

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