Friday, November 28, 2008

Editing Circle

This blog is an oddment among writers groups.

Most beginning writers look for a CRITIQUE GROUP -- crit group -- a group of writers at about their own level who are willing to read and comment on drafts of manuscripts the writers want to develop and sell.

I was mentored by Marion Zimmer Bradley, who thought critique groups a total waste of a serious writer's time. She coined the Darkover saying that if you listen to the dogs barking, you'll go deaf before you learn anything.

What does that really mean?

I can interpret it to mean that emotional reactions to a manuscript are useless noise.

What a serious writing student needs is not praise, or criticism or critique or snide comments -- or polite responses meant not to hurt the writer's feelings.

A writing student needs EDITING. More, a writing student needs to learn to think like an editor, to write to notify an editor that they are professional and can take editorial comments and improve a manuscript, and to respond to input from readers in a way that can broaden his/her intended audience.

So instead of a "critique group" or "critique circle" -- this blog is intended to be an EDITING CIRCLE.

Critiquing will not be allowed. Criticism will not be allowed. ANALYSIS is what we're looking for -- and that analysis is to be focused on the structure of the story, not the content.

That terrible, crippling pain writers feel when negative comments are made about their work arises from the comments that target the content of the story -- the author's heart and soul, what was poured into the art.

Comments that target the structure, techniques, sentence formation, paragraphing, pacing, plot, theme, characterization, climax placement, dialogue technique, description, narrative language, and other structural fundamentals don't hurt, they help.

The objective of an editing circle is to improve the work to above the threshold where it is publishable in mass market.

If there's anyone who would like to post a 500 word excerpt for editing commentary by readers of this blog, please drop a comment on this post with a way to contact you by email. Then click the box that will email you when I post an answer to your comment.

If you would prefer editorial input on your story OUTLINES, please say so.

The intent here is to avoid posting any material that you might eventually want to sell -- so that copyright is not compromised. Post a swatch of writing that you consider of no consequence, just to demonstrate your current technique.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg