Thursday, 1 March 2007

Critique

I didn't realise I had been quiet for a while. Rest assured I have been busy with writing projects. Ok, by saying that I'll be honest and admit to not having started the REAL re-write of my novel yet, but I have been getting some advice in regards to it and I have been critiquing other work too.

I usually get a favorable response to the critiques I give and it is something I enjoy doing. Not for the first time I was told this week that if I can look at someone elses work with such a clinical eye then my own work will be fantastic. Well unfortunately some early critique of my own early work shows that is not the case. Because of this I have been trying to work out why I seem to do such a good job at examining other people's writing yet fail a bit of some really obvious stuff regarding my own.

I think I know why.

It's not that I was expecting to be a brilliant writer with my first novel, far from it. But I think I missed a lot of basic structure in my first draft and first read because I have half an idea of what's coming next.

Because I think I know where my own story is going I am probably not giving it the writing detail that I should be. When I am critiquing other peoples' work I, of course, have no idea where the author is going so it is much easier for me to identify when I think a story or character is weak.

Like with everything I guess I just have to make myself write the same way technical documentation is written, with the assumption the reader has no idea about the subject and needs to be told everything.

Of course this then runs into the risk of over telling, so of course there is a fine line between improvement and making the story worse.

But hey, it's my first novel, I have a long way to go and a LOT to learn.

6 comments:

Jennifer Talty said...

I should have read this post before I sent you babble. You made much better sense than I did.

One bit of caution. I get nervous when you say "tecnical" and "the reader needs to be told".

You are a great storyteller. I can this because I know. You're writing is good. So is mine. we both can get a whole lot better. Craft is a learned process. You are now learning craft so with that I say, bring on the "craft" and "Show" the reader.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

You are not alone in this, Ozzy. No one can be completely objective when it comes to their own work. That's why we have critique partners. Others can see if something doesn't make sense because they don't know what you are trying to say, whereas you do. Just remember everything they say is subjective, and ultimately, it is your story. Good luck with it.

OzWriter said...

Jennifer Talty said:
...sent you babble. You made much better sense than I did.


You never send me babble, Jen. And you always make sense. Even if you are only running on a thimbleful of sleep.

One bit of caution. I get nervous when you say "tecnical" and "the reader needs to be told".

I know what you mean, I didn't explain myself too well. We always prefer to show the reader. Problem is I haven't been showing my readers enough. Characters are already cemented in my head so I have to make sure I cement them in my readers too.

Kari Lee Townsend said:
You are not alone in this, Ozzy.


Thanks Kari. A critique I did for an already published Australian author has shown me full well it doesn't matter how many books you have had in the stores, those early drafts still have a lot of work to do. I'm trying not to let myself be daunted by the whole process and so far I am surviving. All too easy to let these walls cave in on me though :-)

Glenn

Jennifer Talty said...

Ozwriter,

Just keep writing. It will all come together and in the end you will have a great book.

And I do babble. All the time.

Kari Lee Townsend said...

We as writers have to develop a thick skin or we'll never survive. It has to be the most frustrating yet exhilerating profession out there. So never give up;))

Jennifer Talty said...

Let me be the first to say this publicly - OzWriter is brilliant. Just brilliant. Shall I go on?