Public Scrutiny 101

Dear Readers:

My critique group was originally composed of five members. We met weekly. Each attendee sent at least ten new pages several days prior to the review session. This lofty goal kept me scrambling. First, I consulted my working synopsis, to refresh my brain on where my story was going. The synopsis was the briefest of outlines that needed major fleshing out. I found my most creative thinking moments were those occurring during rote activities – cooking, laundry, hedge trimming, scrubbing toilets, etc. – all things that require low brain maintenance freeing my “little grey cells” to wander the universe in search of possible story scenarios. After the ideas came, I had research to conduct which usually boomeranged me right back to the outline for more revisions. So far no pages sent out. Next, I dashed off first draft pages and then let my story percolate overnight. My brain worked its way through the assorted dialogues and narratives while I slept and, viola, the missing parts, unresolved conundrums, intriguing details, came to me first thing in the morning. So more revisions, spell checking, removal of the dreaded weak adjectives and adverbs (the writer’s bane) and printing of a final hard copy to take to the meeting. Meanwhile, my critique partners had been doing the same darn thing, probably with less stress (they all seemed to be natural-born writers.) When their pages appeared in my inbox, I began pouring over their offerings. And, of course, the pages I produced concerning their pages also had to be revised, reprinted, softened, hardened, spell-checked, whatever was called for. This writing is hard work. And now it was time to head for the meeting. The plot thickens.

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