I wrote some time ago that, through the Writer's Alliance of Gainesville, I would soon be participating in a small critique group, dubbed a "pod." Well, last week four of us met in what I hope will be just the first of many good sessions dedicated to fiction writing. We seemed compatible, which is great for a bunch of folks crazy enough to want to write who have never met before. That was hurdle one.
At that meeting we each gave the other members a copy of several pages of our respective works-in-progress, to be taken home and critiqued before this afternoon's meeting. Hurdle two.
Will they like what I wrote? If they don't, will they say so? And if they do say so, is that bad or good? There's something about putting your work in someone's hands and saying, "Critique me" that is akin to sticking out your chin and saying, "Gimme your best shot."
Well, wouldn't you know, right when these thoughts were swirling through my head, Glenn Pearsall just sent me the following quote:
"Asking a working writer what he thinks of critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs." (Attributed to Christopher Hampton, Academy Award-winning British playwright)
Perfect! Today I am a lamppost.
But now I have to ask myself another question: How will the other writers react to my critique of their works? Were my comments on the mark? Will they be regarded as helpful and constructive or negative and picky?
Either way, I'm not just a lamppost, I am also a dog.
I'll let you know how it goes, and what wisdom I glean from this experience.
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