Friday, November 11, 2011

1000 Gifts

One of the things I am very grateful for is the number of fellow writers who have come alongside of me as I pursue using my words for God. In the last year I have become involved with a local critique group and they continue to inspire and encourage me.

We meet a couple times a month to read each other's work and offer suggestions and encouragement. While it's sometimes hard to hear critiques of what Stephen King refers to as our darlings, critiquing is an important aspect of the writing process.

During our meeting one person reads another person's submission aloud while the group makes notes on the manuscript. Then we use the sandwich method - start with something good about it, talk about things that need work or might need to be changed, finish with a second dose of something good.

We move around the table until every one's work has been critiqued.

One aspect that has really appealed to me is hearing someone else read my words. Not because I'm such a spotlight hogger (although sometimes that's the case) but because having someone else read it reveals areas with the wording is awkward or doesn't make sense. As a writer I want to keep my reader immersed in the story and if the wording confuses them and they have to stop and think they get bumped out of it. This isn't a good thing.

The other aspect of reading aloud is hearing other's put voice to my characters. It is enlightening to witness how they perceive the people in my story by the volume and tenor they use to "be the person." Sometimes I listen and think, "They understand this character." Other times I think that's not the way I "heard" them. I actually learn things about my story as the folks who have lived only in my mind thus far come alive in the reader. It's a very cool thing.

Today I am thankful for the peeps in my little critique group. And, if you are a writer without a crit group, I highly recommend one!

Also, don't forget to come back next week for the give way! More details to come.

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