WRITING: Feedback

As I’ve said here before, I’m a huge fan of workshopping.  Sometimes however, it produces feedback that is unexpected and confusing.  Everything said is legitimate.  But the problem then is to weigh everything and consider what counts and what doesn’t hold enough water to create changes. 

You’re never going to please everyone, but it is eye-opening to see how your work is read–not received, that’s a personal predilection for a style of writing or genre–really understood and read.  That’s what’s telling.  Sorting it all out has left me with a feeling that I’m just not doing it right.  From a stance of total author control, I’ve jumped to a position of vague subtleties that are lost.  Some interpretations of the story made me wonder if it had even been read.  The answer, of course, is yes.  Therefore, I’m back to the writing not being, well, I guess it would have to be "correctly" presented when grounded details are not reinforced and the picture is fuzzy.  An alley that is mentioned several times, that is the entire and only setting, is fed back to you as a bridge underpass.  A disoriented college student becomes a drug-using homeless person. 

That’s poor writing.  You can’t blame the reader, the burden is on the writer.

I think I just have to get away from it for a while.  Overenthusiasm has clouded my vision.

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9 Responses to WRITING: Feedback

  1. ntexas99 says:

    It is crushing when our words don’t line up appropriately to deliver the intended meaning. We’ve seen this demonstrated in conversations (where one person says something, but the other person hears something else altogether); so I suppose it should be no surprise that it can happen with our writing just as easily. Of course, finding a solution could be an exercise in futility. Perhaps the real joy of writing is that you are given the opportunity to write for EVERY voice (or every set of eyes).

    Feedback is helpful, yes. It expands your own voice as well. What you meant, and what is heard, may not be equal. Which can only mean that your own voice is multiplying.

  2. susan says:

    Wow, you really know how to soften the blow! But I think most of what was offered needs serious consideration, and the hard part will be to decide what suggestions are taken seriously and what was not strong enough to warrant change. We can’t write for everybody, and I’m not going to try. But it did tell me a lot about where I thought I was, and where in fact I am.

  3. Jason says:

    Send me the story.


  4. susan says:

    Thanks, Jason. I am not exactly the mistress of the subtle whine, am I? Wish I could channel some of the drama I create in my own life into that of my characters. “Few” is on its way to you–I’d really like your honest opinion, thanks!

  5. ntexas99 says:

    I don’t do honesty, otherwise I’d love to offer feedback as well

    How about I just shine a light on your effort, and stand in the shadows and applaud?

  6. Jason says:

    Ok, I read the draft they did…public comments or private? 🙂


  7. susan says:

    Public’s fine. Go at it.

  8. Jason says:

    Here’s my 6.5 cents.

    The overall impression is that you are telling a story, but only to yourself. And since you already know the details, you don’t have to flesh out a full picture. Your usual imagery feels undeveloped, thus leading to the noted problems of setting and character misidentification. This also makes it difficult to tell what’s going on (I couldn’t tell if Few was an insane derelict or a living trashheap, or something else altogether).

    Other than that, the literary references(lost on those who aren’t so widely read), and some of the dialogue that made me want to bludgeon the college kid to death, I think you have a salvagable concept.

    This is clearly an idea story. Show me.


  9. susan says:

    Aha! From blabbing every little detail, I have since ventured into being mystery woman! Actually, this is a very astute observation,and something I myself suspected. I think I may have answered some of your critique by the latest draft, at least as far as imagery adding to the characters. Although perhaps Few could use a bit more building up. Have to go back and check the dialogue of the kid–I don’t think I’ve changed that much so it would probably still irk you. Thanks, Jason, I appreciate the your taking the time to go through it. Your opinion is always welcome in that it is honest and specific. It makes me want to go back over the story with an eye for these particulars.

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