A week or so ago, I blogged about having found a couple of new critique partners. Well, I’m still slogging–somewhat painfully–through one of the critiques. Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons.
For one thing, whenever there are several comments on every page, at some point it all just becomes white noise. Some of those comments are valuable, but it takes a lot of work ot separate the diamonds from the dross.
I’m reminded of Orson Scott Card’s “wise reader” questions–So what? (“That was boring.”), Say what? (“I didn’t understand that.”) And Huh?! (“I don’t believe that.”) Those are the most important questions a reader/critiquer can answer. Of course, it’s always really nice to know when something works well, too.
Too many of those comments I’m skipping over are of the form “I think this would sound better . . .” which is basically an attempt to rewrite my prose. That’s a no, no. In fact, in at least one writers’ group to which I belong, Hatrack River Writers Workshop, it’s specifically forbidden.
Point out writerly tics, certainly. Typos and repetition of words that cause a kind of echo are fair game, too. But, well, there’s a line that can be crossed.
On a completely different subject, I found an ebook of all fourteen of L. Frank Baum’s Oz stories cheap on Amazon. If that doesn’t help jog my inspiration for that story, I don’t know what will.