Wednesday, August 17, 2005

My other brains

I am a writer who appreciates a good critique group or partner. I've been in a critique group for all the years that I've been published--and most of those in a group that meets every single week. We go through stages. Stage of productivity, members moving away, and our process of screening a replacement.

It's serious business, this critique group thing. You don't invite anyone who isn't compatible. You have to respect the people who are going to offer comments on your work. For me it has nothing to do with published or unpublished; it has to do with work ethic, knowledge or willingness to learn, and enthusiasm. And another brain ain't nothin' to turn your nose up at. I love my other brains during the brainstorming process or when I'm stuck. Sure, I get the ideas on my own, I put the pieces together and make all the decisions, but I only have one brain and one life experience. Getting feedback from other writers who have different perspectives AND understand the process of story writing is invaluable to me.

I know some writers who don't like anyone else meddling in their stories--some find it changes their story too much. I go into the process with elements I've chosen that I won't budge on, so the possibility of taking my story a wrong direction isn't a problem for me. I'm flexible about everything else because new perspectives keep me fresh. If someone in my group makes a suggestion that isn't considered, it's not because it was a bad suggestion; it's just because that idea didn't work for that writer's story. We all understand that. Nobody gets her nose out of joint.

Our noses are all in joint, thank you.

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