Thursday, October 23, 2008

Where Did the Rhythm Go?

Or Rethinking Who Reads Your Story

I’m sorry to admit that the rhythm I spoke about last time didn’t last, and I’ve been struggling a bit—until today (more on that in a minute). In the meantime, other things have come up that I could have talked about, but I never got myself to sit down and do it. But I’m here now.

The online course from my American Christian Fiction Writers’ group right now is about critique partners and groups. That’s when authors read each other’s work and offer feedback. The two authors teaching it are two I’ve mentioned here before—Deb Raney and Tamera Alexander, and they are gems. They’ve been “crit partners” with each other for five years now (get used to that term; you’re going to hear it here), and a beautiful friendship has resulted for them. Tammy is the one I chose to do my paid critique at the conference last month; Deb did it for me the year before.

One discussion that developed in the class was whether ever to use non-writers, including family members, to read your work. Whereas I had been exposed to the idea that feedback from non-writers’ didn’t count (“your mama’s gonna like your story no matter how bad it is”), these two successful authors and others who chimed in say they definitely use “readers” in addition to those who formally “critique” their work. That was good news because I have valued the opinions and feedback from non-writers over the years, including family members. In other words, there is a place and a need for both. That’s great to hear.

The best news for today is that I think I have come to the “end” of the new beginning of my story. If you haven’t been following this saga, you won’t know what I mean, but that’s okay. It’s not all polished yet, but it is well along to way to that. I feel like I am getting back into that rhythm. What I am going to need now is two or three friends who have never read it before (or not in the last four years) to give it a read and see how it flows and whether it has any gaping holes in it. After a little more work, I’ll be ready to share it with those who have read it before. And of course I’m going to have to get feedback from some “writers” as well.

No comments: