Writing groups are, on the whole (he he), a good thing for a writer. That sentence should come with the caveat ‘the right writing group’, I suppose. A bad writing group will undermine a writer’s confidence and, worse, soak up time which could be used to write, but let’s ignore those for now.
I’ve been a part of a group before, and I miss it, so when I saw another group advertised through the Victorian Writer’s Centre I jumped at it.
I met the guys last month for the first time, got along, and think I may have found a new home, but something which happened in the feedback session made me realise the ability to receive feedback is a necessity for a writer.
The guy in question (used here in the gender-non-specific sense to keep things nice and safe) when someone said they didn’t understand a particular paragraph, the writer was straight on the defensive, saying the reader ‘did not get them’, and suggesting it was her fault, not their’s.
Woah, woah, woah, I wanted to say (but didn’t, because it was my first time and I didn’t want to rock the boat). If a reader says they did’t understand something then the writing is suspect, full stop. Perhaps they’re wrong, but even if they’re not suspicion has been raised and needs to be satisfied.
What writing is is story telling. We as authors need to get the message, be it action, descriptions, feeling or dialogue, across to the reader as clearly and concisely as possible. If that does not happen, the fault lies at the source.
I was made more thankful for the CAE Novel Writing course I took which made receiving and giving feedback its own syllabus. I’m happy for any feedback I get back, even if it’s only ‘It’s sucks’… at least as long as I can find out why said suckage happens.