I didn’t get any writing done this week. Not that I was lazy, I had to critique three stories for my critique group that met yesterday. Usually I try to write during the week and do my critiques on the weekends. This time we got the submissions late and I didn’t start until Monday night.
I find that the critique groups are the most beneficial part of being in GLAWS. I learn a lot from the instructors at the Special Speaker Events and at the writer’s conferences, but it’s in the critique groups that you practice what you have learned. You go home and practice your writing, and the critique groups let you know how you are progressing.
I’ve been in three critique groups now. One for screenwriting at Los Angeles Valley College that has since been disbanded. Then I joined one for novel writing that meets in Pasadena. Since my screenwriting group stopped meeting, I’ve been submitting my second steampunk screenplay to the novel group. The group leader was fine with that and we do have a second screenwriter in the group. It’s interesting. Even thought screenwriting is not their interest, they still point out things that the screenwriting group didn’t. There may be little room for writing style in a screenplay, but there is still plot and character development: Does a story flow? Do the character’s motivations make sense? Are there any plot holes?
Different people see different things in a story. Some will take a page or two and do line edits, pointing out punctuation, word choices and sentence structure. Others are more focused on character development and motivations. Still others look at the overall story arc. With a small group of six or eight, you get a wide variety of viewpoints.
You learn just as much from critiquing others work as having them critique yours. Sometimes you see others make mistakes in their work and realize you do the same thing in yours. Other times you see someone write something really well and you try to emulate that element of style in your own work. Critiquing others can take away time from your own writing, but it’s well worth the time.
My novel group is currently meeting virtually via Zoom. It’s not the same as meeting in person, but it has allowed some members who can’t make regular physical meetings, particularly one who moved out of state, to participate. My screenwriting group is currently on hiatus until we can meet in person again.
Feel free to critique this post. I can always use the feedback.
Dennis Amador Cherry
7th article completed.
First Steampunk novel: 9647 words.
3 Critiques done.