Thursday, March 26, 2009

Intermission: The Open Arms of Critique

I would like to pause a moment to say how impressed I've been with my Anonymati.

After I posted the first few Evil First Pages and it was clear to what degree I intended to be Evil (or perhaps we should just say frank), many, many Anonymati still sent in first pages. So many I don't know when I'll get to them all.

And the people reading this blog have offered quite a bit of thoughtful critique themselves in the comments, which seems to have benfitted submitters as well.

Most of all, the people I've so far critiqued have shown a heroic willingness to hear that critique.

So while critique can be hard to hear, I hope you are all fortifying yourselves with this: It is not the willingness and ability to write well that separates the amateurs and hobbyists from Real Writers.

It is the willingness and ability to rewrite well that makes you Real Writers.

You're doing the evil secret society proud.

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Rewrite -- Amen to that!

Anonymous said...

Awww, EA...getting all mushy and stuff...

Um, are you okay?

:)Ash said...

Thanks, EA! These first page critiques have been very instructive. Thanks so much for taking the time to do them!

Merry Monteleone said...

Thanks, EA!!!

Your critique was excellent and helped me do a major overhaul of my ms... and the anonymati in the comments were more helpful than they likely know.

I have to say, too, if we're open to it, we learn as much from critiquing others as we do from applying crits to our own work - at least, I do.

Thanks for taking all the time with this blog. We really appreciate it.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Thank you for the gift of these critiques!!!!!

It can be hard watching your baby get bruised, but it's worth it when he goes from tottering uncertainly to walking with confidence! (for an overwrought metaphor! =) )

Anonymous said...

I LOVE this blog. You are insightful and blunt which is what a true critique needs to be. Why waste time beating around the bush with worthless wasteful words.

Anna Claire said...

"It is the willingness and bility rewrite well that makes you Real Writers."

I need to frame that sucker and hang it above my desk ;)

Shell I said...

So much for evil! That's more soft & squishy.

Editorial Anonymous said...

The Evil will return!

Buffra said...

I'm nervous and excited about seeing mine, but it won't be until about....oh, maybe next Christmas. In the meantime, I'm really appreciating all the work you're doing -- and all the comments of everyone else too. And I'm thinking, "gosh, I still have SO MUCH to do!"

Chris Eldin said...

Thank you so much for doing this for us! It's a terrific learning experience. I love how you provide your comments organically, almost as you're reading along and this is what comes to mind the moment your read a sentence or a passage. It's very, very helpful.

Editorial Anonymous said...

"almost as if you're reading along and this is what comes to mind the moment you read a sentence or passage"

ALMOST as if?

LOL. That IS what I'm doing.

Yat-Yee said...

Frankness is so under-rated. Everyone who wants to improve on anything, needs to hear frank responses from people who know what they're talking about.

Thanks for taking time out of your slush pile to help us out.

Anonymous said...

I wish more people would comment though. The nature of feedback is the writer is only going to incorporate it if it makes sense the them, so the more comments the better, imo.

I'm trying to comment on all of them, so when my turn comes up -- probably by next year at this rate -- I'll at least feel like I've earned my critiques. If there are 93 first pages waiting, why are there only 5 or 6 people commenting? The rest of you have nothing to say? Really? Hmmm... surely you can think of something... :)

Merry Monteleone said...

Anon,

I missed the last two because I was a little busy when they went up... BUUUUT, speaking for myself, I try not to comment when I can't add to the conversation. There've been a number of times when I got to a piece that everything I'd have critted on had already been pointed out by EA and various other comments.

So there's that... but on the whole, I agree with you. I think if you participate in a group crit situation, you have to expect to give back at least as much as you'd like to receive.

Anonymous said...

Merry --

I agree that it's usually better, when commenting on a blog, not to repeat what's already been said. But I've done a couple of "me, too" posts on these Evil First Pages. For me, it's useful to see whether many people react the same way to something I wrote.

-- Different Anon.

Anonymous said...

On another topic -- Good thing it's the rewriting that counts. My first drafts suck.

-- Same Anon as Different Anon

Laurel said...

This is by far my favorite writer's resource on the internet at the moment. So, thanks so much for doing them!

Colorado Writer said...

Thank you, EA! I love the blog.

Buffra said...

A question -- and this seems possibly the best place for it -- if I have submitted to the first pages clinic, but am already thinking of ways to improve my first page (based on your critique of others' work), is it way too much trouble for me to send a revised version? Or would that be OK?

Thanks.

Editorial Anonymous said...

If you want to submit a revision, I don't mind deleting your original, as long as you make the subject line of your email REVISION--DELETE PREVIOUS SUBMISSION!
Because I don't even open those emails until I'm ready to respond.
Be advised, if you send in a revision, you will lose your place in line.