Thursday, 18 March 2010

The value of critiques


Some wonderful comments attached to the last post, and all worth reading. I shall certainly read them over again from time to time to keep myself grounded. I sympathise with the writer who said she got too close to her own work - yes, recognise that trait! When a critiquer asks a simple question and I realise I've missed out a whole chunk of information because it had all happened in my head, but never got to the page.... oh, yes, been there!
And the critiquers who are too nice - that's a difficult one. We all like praise, don't we? One of the good things about critiquing is that it allows us to see other writers work before it reaches the final, polished stage. There are two ways to go with this. Personally I don't see much point in showing a first draft - unless you write comprehensive first drafts! - my word count alone grows by at least a third in a second and third draft. I like to get the outline down and then go back and layer in description and emotion, but that's just me. So asking people to read one of my first drafts wouldn't be fair to them.
On the other hand, it is intriguing to see how works grow from first draft to finished product. Doing that gives us some sort of yardstick with which to judge our own work. Are we really as good as those nice critiquers say we are? Or are they simply being kind to encourage us on to better things?
I've spent the last three days in Stirling, and have come back with 99 photographs, lots of booklets, maps, handouts and notes jotted down while listening to guides...it may take me a while to get organised, but I welcome it, becuase at least I can sit down to do it. I have walked so many miles, and so many of them uphill that sitting is good right now.

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