Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Writing Prompt – Holidays From Hell

Hurray! July 4th is nearly upon us.

I love Independence Day: the parades, the flags, picnics and cook-outs and barbecues. I love that its the birthday of my country. I love Old Glory and the Star Spangled Banner and everything that means to me for my freedoms. As far as I’m concerned, it’s one of the BEST holidays I celebrate.

But that’s too easy a topic…

Here’s Your Prompt: Choose your least favorite holiday and talk about what it means to experience it. Don’t cop out: don’t say, “I hate Christmas, so I stay home and avoid everyone.”

Write about a holiday you are forced to endure either through familial, religious, or some other pressure. Tell about a particularly horrible experience. What were your feelings? Describe through the senses everything that is WRONG about this holiday.

Do you hate Arbor Day because you were forced, as a boy scout, to plant 100 trees with your bare hands? Explain how much your hands were hurt and cramped at the end of the day. Describe the odor of the turned soil and the leaves and how it makes your stomach turn. Don’t leave out that to this day you can’t stand the sight of elms…

And, do as I say, not as I do: choose a really gut-wrenching holiday. Brownie points if you share in the comments below.

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

A Question for Fellow Writers

What do you do with all your old notes?

Last night was my monthly meet up with my critique group and the topic of critique paperwork came up. The majority of our group does as I do:

  • accepts the paper-based copy of the critique
  • goes through it page by page as we edit and update our WIPs
  • files it away for future refernce

One brave soul in our group updates his work in progress and then tosses all the critiques he received!

I’m not the only one who was sitting at the table stunned and amazed. Why would you ever throw out notes? What if you needed to refer to them later?

I’m in the process of editing a novel. To the right of me, on my desk, are all the copies of the critiques I’ve received from my current group, and some from fellow on-line writers. (Those I could have kept electronically, but when I refer to one document and am typing on another, I like to have a hard copy.)

As I’m working, I realize that I’ve worked through some of these crits already…but advice I wasn’t willing to take a few weeks or months ago is starting to look pretty good right now. What if I’d tossed these papers when I’d done my initial re-write?

I know of one author who painstakingly logs into a spreadsheet each comment from every critique she receives for a story. I’m not sure if she tosses out the critiques when she’s done — though having gone that route she certainly could. But to me, that just seems like too much work. I’d rather spend my time writing something new.

So: what’s your process? What do you do with your critiques once you’ve evaluated them…this inquiring writer wants to know.