Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Last weekend, I had the opportunity to go to an amazing writers' conference.  Attendees had the option of getting a manuscript critique, so I jumped all over that.  An editor and agent read a poem of mine aloud, leaving it anonymous, and then gave very blunt and descriptive evaluations of it in front of about thirty other people.  Years ago, I was a member of a critique group, so I know how the process works.  It's a sandwich.  If you can find anything nice to say about the piece, say it first.  Then add all of the constructive criticism you can.  Lastly, say something else to encourage the writer, lest they commit literary suicide and stop writing. 

Both editor and agent were extremely flattering about my work in the first layer.  Then, somewhere during the "meat" of my critique, the editor said, "It doesn't have a plot.  It just goes from one d*&# thing to the next."  Somehow, between the nervous anxiety I was experiencing and the good old-fashioned flippant honesty she gave, I started to see the whole thing in cartoons and I laughed.  It wasn't a big, belly laugh, but it was loud enough that the ladies sitting beside me and in front of me couldn't help but take notice.

I'm sure that wouldn't have been a problem if the other writers knew it was my work she was critiquing.  Instead, it made me look pretty ridiculous and insensitive.  It got me thinking about how often I make snap judgements about things and don't get the full picture first.

I don't know if there's really a point to this blog, but it's not a manuscript, so I guess it doesn't really need a plot.roll

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