Monday, March 5, 2012

What Not To Do (As A Writer in a Feedback Group)

Chasing my own tail, I originally posted this at Lisa Kilian's blog, pointing back to my own Ten Things Not To Do As A Reader in a Feedback Group.  'Cept I discovered Lisa's not only stopped posting, but has taken down her blog, altogether, wah!

And of course, I'd kept a safety copy (not!) so I wouldn't have to reconstruct from memory.   

Ten Things Not To Do as a Writer in a Feedback Group

1)  Never arrive on time.  If the session is already in progress, rather than doing a Walk-of-Shame slink to the nearest seat, interrupt with a big, dramatic entrance, and chat everyone up until you feel ready to settle in to work.

2) Never prepare a short bring-me-up-to-speed summary so you can catch new readers up as to your genre, what went before, and what you are trying to achieve.  Make 'em guess, or, deliver a long-winded, rambling explanation that takes longer than actually reading the pages.

3) Ignore any guidelines your group has set re: number of pages, reader copies, formatting, etc.  Your pages are special.

4) Pout if you aren't first up, or sit and Tweet your friends until it is your turn to read.  Why should you reciprocate with feedback if it's not your genre or up to your standards?

5) Never take notes.  If a comment is worthwhile, surely you'll remember it.

6) Disrespect the readers who offer silly suggestions and tell you they don't understand something.  Add heavy sighs, eye-rolling, and cut them off while speaking.  It's not as if they represent a potential reader audience you want your work to reach.

7) Defend and explain your work.  It's not like you ever experience a gap between what you intended and carried in your head, and what made it down onto the page.

 8) Keep bringing back pages with the same mistakes.  If you were told that your head-hopping induced vertigo, the narrative was too long and wordy, or YOUR ALL CAPS DIALOGUE WAS HARD TO READ, don't review the next set of pages and try to eliminate those elements.  You wouldn't want to give the others in the group the mistaken impression that you are actually learning and growing as a writer.

9) Take all feedback personally; if they don't like your work, they don't like you.  It can't mean simply that they feel this particular work falls short in some way, or that particular reader doesn't care for your genre.

10) Never thank the readers for sharing their time and energy to help make your work better.  The opportunity to enjoy your fabulous prose or poetry should be thanks enough.

What, readers make mistakes too?  
Click over to my previous post on 

(As a side note - speaking of Walk-of-Shame, I have probably committed all these sins myself at one time or another.  Both as a writer and as a reader.  So you're in good - or bad- company.)  

Your thoughts?