The Power of Critique and My Funky Writing Week


I know that it’s Accountability Friday, and I really should break out my task list right now to show my failures.

Fuck it. Let’s just go ahead and do that:

1. Aside from the 3 progress report posts, write 2 blog posts about my writing and who I am writing for.

I didn’t even get through my normal 3 this week! I am going to be thinking more about this blog and platform, and figuring out a way to make it more doable as well as successful.

2. Write a 1000 word Flash Fiction for this week’s challenge. My rolls: Weird Western and Haunted House. I have such a great idea for this!  Post fiction by noon on Friday.

I DID manage to do this! and I feel like I created a cool idea, too! Unfortunately, horror/scary really isn’t my gig, so that idea is going to die with that story. Maybe someday I’ll genre bend again and return to that world. There might be a way to save Richard…if Richard is worth saving?

3. Work on Escort Mission and start another work, 6:45. 

I didn’t work on any short stories this week beyond Never a Day and that Flash Fiction.

4. Polish current edit in progress: Never a Day Quiet. Already got some great critiques for this.

I was given two great Critiques this week on Never a Day, and while one of them was interesting, the other was devastating. I am considering rewriting the story for a second time. The majority of my writing/editing efforts this week went into this piece instead of other works. To realize last night that I will probably need to whip the slate clean and try again was simply heart breaking.

5. Work on Haley, a secondary character in my novel, A Terrible Thing to Waste. Post excerpts (along with the other excerpts from previous weeks) on Sunday.

did work on Haley this week and I love her. She is going to be one of my more fun and stronger characters in my novel. She was probably the only highlight of my week. I’m almost ready to put up excerpts. As soon as I’m done developing characters (there are 6 characters who I want to highlight and follow), I’ll put up all of their excerpts at once.

6. Critique at least 3 other short stories in the forums of my two writing communities this week.

I got 2 powerful critiques this week, yet I wasn’t able to replicate the same sort of commitment to other pieces. I did read one…and it confused the hell out of me. I couldn’t decide if it was because of my own stupidity or if it was because the author missed something. I couldn’t bring myself to write the critique because I was a coward. I do want to commit to reading more of my peers’ work and critiquing them, so as to get more critiques for my own work.


I realized this week how hungry I’ve been for critiques. I submitted a work for an anthology two weeks ago and wasn’t accepted–the notes were very positive, with only a few minor edits suggested. But one of the notes made me angry. Instead of finding the nuance and subtlety in the conflict, a person wrote “nothing happened. No conflict at all.” What made me angry was not that the person didn’t like the work, but that her note was not helpful. I realized that I needed to go searching for more people, more eyeballs on my words.

I found two great writing communities–one that I had sort of forgotten about and rejoined, the other a totally new one but part of a corner of the internet that I’m familiar with. Both welcomed me with open arms and both have given me a lot of great feedback.

And then I made a mistake.

I gave a family member Never a Day because I consider her to be a brutal editor and I wanted her to tear it apart grammatically. Instead, she tore apart the content in a way that has made me re-consider the entire piece.

Before you say “you should just ignore her critique,” you must understand that her critique was very specific and insightful. It wasn’t about content, it was about message. Where I thought that I was writing about something specific and important, my reader couldn’t get passed the message that she had found on her own. Once she gleaned that message, she couldn’t get passed it. Indeed, she said that the message that she found made the story “fucked up” for her.

At first I thought that I had done something right. The story is designed to make people thing. She was thinking and it moved her.
But it moved her in the wrong direction about the wrong things. She got distracted somewhere.

And now I feel compelled to rewrite and try again.

I don’t mind re-writing. Indeed, I relish the opportunity of rewrites. I recognize that first drafts, even second drafts, suck. But in this case, I’ve been working on this story for a month and I thought that it was in a great place. I thought that it was ready to submit or be put aside for some e-publishing.

So now this story is a time suck. It’s taking away from my novel, from other pieces that could garner me more opportunities to publish and grow. I’m anxious to get beyond this piece, as much as I appreciate the process that I’m going through.

So that’s why my task-list is all sorts of fail.


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