There are characters acting out entire chapters in my head. Sort of like a movie. My characters are alive and adventurous— or so I THINK! My exciting plot builds and never waivers from the theme. Hmmm. Not so sure about that one. Surely the dialog I’ve written is natural and flows. Uh, oh. I think I need help with that as well. Why? Because it’s impossible for me to step outside of myself and look OBJECTIVELY at my writing. I need help. I need a critique group.
Once I’ve put pen to paper, I hope I’m translating that “movie” in my head so my critique buddies will “see” exactly what’s going on in that crazy brain of mine, but I know better. I’m going to need their objectivity.
As a group, we strive to help each other get that exciting, funny, or thought-provoking story out of our heads and onto paper. A writer’s brain can be Disneyland ten times over when it comes to imagination. But moving those images from your head to the page just as you “see” it, can be a challenge. Sometimes there’s a gap.
Nancy Kress talks about this in her WONDERFUL book, Beginnings, Middles & Ends. She writes that we can see the story in our head like a movie, with all its action and dialogue. But once we sit down to write, something happens. It isn’t the same. There is a gap between the story we see and the story we actually put down on the page.
When any one of us in Wordsmiths presents something we’ve written for critique, we’re actually asking this question, “Are you hearing what I think I said?” I know that after reading my manuscripts aloud, if the group hears something other than what I intended to convey, I have a “gap” between the story I visualize and the one I need to write.
To me, one of the most valuable things about belonging to a critique group is their OBJECTIVITY that helps me fill in a gap or two, or three, or—well, you get the idea. Their comments and direction have helped me to become a better writer!
I believe that continued growth as a writer depends greatly on an objective, yet kind critique group like Wordsmiths. I know they’ve filled a large “gap” in my life for sure!