Monday, June 9, 2008

Hitman for Critique Partners

Critique partners got you down?
It's time for the "trust yourself" lecture. yourself.

Think of how far you've come, how much you know that you didn't know in the beginning. Think of all the time you put in for other people, to help them with their writing. It's time now to think of you. To remember why you started writing in the first place.

You love to tell stories, right? You have a great story to tell, right? So tell it. It's like in the movie, The Rookie, when he remembers that playing baseball is supposed to be fun. And he was getting paid to have fun. He walked into the locker room after coming so close to giving it all up, and said, "You know what we get to do today, Brookes? We get to play baseball!"

So, you know what you get to do today? You get to play "writer". Forget those women who have nothing better to do than to drag you down, or worse yet, think they are helping you by picking you apart. Remember the important part about dissecting a frog is THE FROG DIES.

Take a break from CP's. Just trust yourself. Trust that you know a thing or two. Step back and look at the story you are trying to tell, at the people you want us all to meet, and tell us about them. Put them on the psychologist's couch and let them rant and rave while you type it up.

You have the power to save someone, to change some one's life, to rescue the damsel, to save the hero from himself. And you can do all of it. Don't let them stop you. Buy some chocolate for pity's sake, the expensive kind. Indulge in everything and let your characters indulge themselves. Take an "I'll show them" attitude and show them. Make it great.
Take your favorite scene and reveal a little more than you had. Take a bad scene and look at it. What are you trying to do here? What minor changes can you do to some one's dialogue or actions to make the story clearer? Through whose eyes you are watching this scene happen? Would a different POV make things more exciting?

And then, when you have had your fun, cause remember, it is fun....then you can say, It's done. If you don't like it, you don't like it. I like it and it's time to move on because I have another great story to tell.

Listen, I'm rewriting my first ms for about the seventh time in two years and I can't stand it anymore. So I am going to attack the story with all the energy of a ranting lunatic and shake it up. Every time I've given the reader what they expected, I'm going to turn it around and give them just the opposite. Their heads will be spinning. I have a life to live and stories to publish and this one story only gets seven more weeks of my life and that is it. Seven weeks.

Have some fun with this wip. Like a flower arrangement that just looks horrible, take all the flowers out and do something different. Use the same flowers--the same story--and wrench it around. No one ever complains about too much action, excitement, or surprises, right? So blow them out of the water.

You are a writer. You are a god in that universe inside your head, now act like one. Create. Shock and Awe, baby. Leave them panting. Exhaust them and walk away laughing.



1 comment:

Melissa Mayhue said...

Amen, my friend!

And in spite of any critique partner anywhere, we writers have to remember our very worst critic lives inside our own heads... SHE'S the one we really have to learn to ignore to enjoy what we do!!! :-)

Go get 'em, lady! Seven weeks and counting!!!

~ Melissa