Sunday, 1 March 2009

On Workshops

I say this again and again, but I think it's true. The best, most vibrant writers always engage in workshops of some kind. That collaborative element, and the help posed by letting work be seen by multiple pairs of eyes, enriches stories/poems and helps you get a degree of editing before you submit to any markets.

I am currently a member of a few writers workshops, although I find the best ones to be Critters.org, Imaginaries.org and the Internet Writing Workshops. Sometimes you get good crits (the ones that pick out flaws at the sentence level as well as the overall package), sometimes you get bad ones ('This is good!' or 'This is bad!' crits) and sometimes you get downright offensive ones ('People don't actually have S&M sex, so this story is unrealistic, and I think it's just porn anyway . . .'), but all of them can offer perspective. When you're stuck inside the mechanics and themes of a story, you often can't see the wood for the trees. And perspective always helps.

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