Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Taken apart

Today I had my text "Sacrifice" critiqued in class. The whole class gets the texts in the morning, and then usually we have the afternoons and evenings to go over them, by marking the printed manuscripts with comments and corrections, and also writing a separate critique, a few pages in length.

"Sacrifice" was written before Odyssey, and it was one of the pieces I really wanted critiqued. The feeling of being critiqued is hard to describe. At the CWA gatherings (props to my CWA dawgs!) we listened to the author reading the text in class, and then gave response right after. Here at Odyssey we have hours to process and write up our crits, even sleep on them, and as such they are much more thorough. And in many ways, we're exposing our inner selves here, to be dissected and analysed.

It is a learning experience. There are 16 people in that room, including Teacher, with a much better chance of seeing the flaws in my work than I have. And they do point them out.

I got lots of positive feedback on my use of language, which feels really good coming from people for whom English is the first language. My big problem was, not surprisingly, plot. I confused most of my readers. Of course that's never nice to hear, but I knew the piece was flawed and the whole point of putting it in front of the class is not to get a pat on the head but to have your weaknesses pointed out. How else can I evolve as a writer?

After class, I went to the mail center and picked up an armful of packages for the class. Among them, two Amazon boxes and an Amazon envelope for me. Yay, stuff! I will order some stuff here, mostly text books on writing, and then ship it home with my manuscripts once the course is over.

Then I went downtown with Charley, Barbecue and Meta, to visit a second hand bookstore that is closing down in a week or so, and as such had 50% off already low prices. A Thieves' World novel and a present for Ribbed For Her Pleasure, who loves all things zombies.

The rest of the day has been spent critiquing and writing. I submit at 0730 on Thursday, and right now I can't really tie my sf story together. So I'm looking at options. My gut feeling is that I will have some late nights this week. Which is supposedly what Odyssey is all about.

Quote of the day, after we ranted at Barbecue for submitting a 5800 word story for crit tonight (the absolute upper limit is 6000). He replied:
I have a one-word story. It's just an exclamation point. Try and critique that.

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