A few months ago I joined a new writers group. Interestingly, some of the members are very knowledgeable about what it takes to write a story but have difficulty in following through with their own writing (or, so I've noticed). Anyway...
I'm very frustrated with this group. I go week after week and give my thoughts & opinions & feedback & advice on how to improve their stories. But, no matter what, what I say is dismissed! I don't get it! I know I myself have room for improvement, but I'm not a terrible writer. And I do believe I know how to put together a good story. So...
When I said that I felt the writer in question needed to create a sense of urgency in her scene...the writer in question, and another writer, dismissed it "because" ""they"" already knew (from having read the first draft) what had happened before the story began & ""they"" understood why there wasn't a sense of urgency. Okay...that doesn't answer the question for me, a new reader.
Why would they choose to ignore what a new reader has to say? It doesn't make sense!! If a new reader says something other than what previous readers have said, it only makes sense to understand why, doesn't it? I just don't get it, I guess....
There are so many great books on how to write that I wouldn't even bother with a writing group anymore. There is a wonderful book called HOW NOT TO WRITE A NOVEL... it's very sarcastic, funny, but it's also very helpful.
Some people join these groups to satisfy their own egos, not to learn or to help others learn. Photography groups are the same. They love to criticize but don't take criticism too well. You're not learning anything from them. I suggest you move on!
It's not unknown for members of writers' circles to do more talking about writing than actual writing... How many members of this group have been published?
Your opinion is as valid as anyone else's, surely. It sounds as if this is a clique which doesn't genuinely welcome new members.
When a reader opens up a story and begins reading, they only have what's right there on the pages. They don't have the writer and the writer's buddies standing by onhand to explain all the missing bits - whether these appeared in previous drafts or not. So, from what you've written here, your criticism of the story seems reasonable, to me anyway.
ooh, I hadn't considered that - this group does kinda act like a clique. they meet at 7 but get together at 6:30, end at 9 but hang around conversing afterward. (not a bad thing, but with a group of over 50 people I don't even recognize half of them yet!) and every once in a while they have a potluck dinner....
Two important barriers to improving one's writing are ego and confidence. Writers, like many other performers, are an odd mixture of fragile ego and low confidence. A writer is doing something that many people of little or no creativity and talent do every day - tell stories. The writer has to have confidence that what he is doing is better than what other people are doing.
Allowing the criticism of one's work is like offering one's children up for criticism. It is not exactly easy to bare hearing something uncomplimentary about your child even if it is true.
Patience, fortitude, confidence and courage are hard enough to come by let alone when one is already engaged in a creative endeavor, How do I know that I am good enough when I am listening to criticism of my story?
You can see the challenge. Not everyone is mature enough to be open to such an objective critique.
Writers Groups, especially those who have been meeting for a long time, are sometimes hard to break into. And if they aren't diligent about their purpose--helping all of their members improve their writing, they can turn into feel good sessions for the long-time members. Maybe that's the case with the group you've joined. If so, it's probably not worth your time. But I hope it doesn't sour you from all groups. The one I belong to is open to all feedback and truly helpful.
I used to be a member of a group of writers. What I did most was review other writer's work. The group is a great group, actually a whole website). There are a lot of helpful people there who know what they are doing.
It is called writing.com. Many different styles and types of writing along with helpful reviews and tips on getting published. This site is not a place to make any money from.
I agree with you! I think regardless of a new writer, old writer, or terrible writer everyone's opinion and feedback should be taken into account. If it wasn't worth anything you wouldn't have given your feedback in the first place.
Some people just don't want to hear it, even if they ask for it.
There is no one way to write. As someone who's written a few books myself, you the author are supposed to have your own vision for your book. Having others chip in ideas might help, but it can also be incredibly distracting.
Having said that, I haven't found the need to join any writer's groups. All you need is to be secure of your own writing.
Well maybe they are in the thinking if your creating it by suggesting it, its not there own ideas. For writer's groups I've been in some but never been impressed with it, and really not seeing a whole lot of them succeeding. I think books can probably tell you more, and an editor probably point out what needs work since they are in the industry to know what will be publised.
my problem seems to be the opposite. for me, belonging to a writers group is the equivalent of a social group although I'm really not that social. lol But, I get to meet other people who enjoy writing like I do, and I get a good critique of my work at the same time. Most of the members seem to have a higher education and seem to be knowledgeable in how to put together a story (as well as saying what they feel is missing or needed or too much of - I generally agree when it's my work but don't get it with theirs). I don't really understand why they don't apply their knowledge to their own writing, but maybe they're submitting their first draft....
I've seen this myself, both in writing groups to which I've belonged and when I am facilitating writing groups as a mentor. I think many people feel that they have 'given birth' to their poems or stories. They feel any criticism is an attack on their 'children.' I've had poets say things like, ...if you don't get it, then you're stupid...' Some writer don't realize that some story or poetic constructions don't work! The garbage poetry I've read could wall paper the inside of the Statue of Liberty! But the same writers who create flat characters who lack personality or depth defend these hollow characters to the death. Don't take this personally. They are looking for applause, not growth.
I have thought of joining writers groups before, but have never followed through because I was not comfortable sharing my work with people face to face . . . I find sharing here on Hubpages is so much better for me. And just like you experienced, Rafini, I didn't want to come across people who didn't want to listen or instead of being gracious with your advice - whether or not they were going to take - instantly became defensive . . . which to me indicates that they know work needs to be done and does not want to do it.
I would suggesting sticking to Hub pages here and maybe connecting with some Indie sites where you can connect with real writers - like ourselves - who take what they are doing seriously.
I've considered the idea of the 'group' but I never developed the 'stones' to actually go to any meetings. To be honest...that is what I'm using Hubpages for...and...it's better than a group as I can do this in my underwear. Not that I'm typing THIS in my underwear...or am I? Yeah...you get the point...
One obvious solution would be to look around for a different group or start your own, or take a creative writing course. If the group your with is disatisfying for whatever reason, then why stay?
Ya, you are right. I am sure when a child start walking, he falls again and again. But it does not mean that he will leave this activity. So don't bother what others say (i am not saying to ignore others). Just believe in yourself- and always try to improve your knowledge by reading good works. So you will be able to compare your knowledge and level with others. Keep giving your ideas and comments. Your work is to criticize, it is their problem ho do they take it.. .
You sound as if you take writing well quite seriously. I applaud you for that. There are many people (writers) who would love to be part of a group with someone like you. I agree with Adele (above) and would suggest you start your own group. If the existing group just isn't working for you for whatever reason, just move on. And don't place blame anywhere -- you just don't "fit" the existing group no matter how wise your comments and advice.
If you like the existing group for its chance to socialize, then stay with it but on a different basis. Why not back off (with this group) your desire to help and be helped. What if you were to write a hub on the dynamics of a writers' group. That would make your interaction with the members of this group quite different -- maybe more interesting and more worthwhile.
thanks Maralexa, for the good advice. I have backed off a bit with the critiques but continue to go for the social aspect (although, I'm not very social, lol) and to receive critiques. Fitting in isn't easy, but taking what you can get usually is.
One of the hardest parts of writing (aside from actually forcing yourself to put words on paper, knowing you're just going to shred them on the editing floor later) is learning to take criticism from other people. Learning to step back and critique your own work is hard enough. Letting someone else tear into hours of your labor with the red ink is even harder, however necessary it may be. Some people handle it better than others.
There could be a little arrogance at work, too. It sounds like the author know what he wants to write, but if he doesn't listen to reader feedback, he may wind up with a fine piece of work that no one cares to read.
Excellent feedback, Dust2dusk. I agree with everything that you have said.
Writers are an odd lot. It is what it is. I dumped my writers' group and didn't renew. They were disorganized. Lots of jealousy in the group, too. Their idea of a critique group was to read the chapter and forget about getting any kind of feedback. Which is a waste of time. Observe these people in your group and lower your expectations. Real low. You have to understand that there will be people who will try to impress you, but once you look up their websites, they have nothing. Collect those business cards and see who the real writers are. If you have any published writers at all. You may discover plenty of wannabes, instead. No matter what level experience of writer you are, your voice will probably not be heard. You will find that people show up to impress, but can't even write themselves out of a paper bag. If you want a group to help you, take the time to be selective.
I think that it has more to do with groups of people getting together for anything. Have you ever seen people actually agree with anything without at least one of them going off the track somewhere. I have thought about writing classes of one kind or another . To tell the truth , I just don't mix well with others , with the exeption being here . I think its called the twelve percent solution where a jury trial will never agree with anything and all the defense has to do is get one of these people on the jury .
On Novelty Fiction's private network, of which you are a member, we collaborate peacefully and constructively - every day. The key to success seems to be specific projects such as novels, novellas, and short stories being created, revised and edited through the network. That and then fiction contests.
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