Earlier this month, I attended a fiction workshop at Susquehanna University, where I wrote two short stories and received feedback from teachers and peers on them, and then continued to edit those pieces. I learned a few things at the workshop, and I’m going to write about them while they’re still fresh in my head.
It’s not enough to just listen to advice, I need to take it. In the past, I had heard from many different people that it’s very valuable to have someone else look at your work. I thought it was good advice and talked about it with my mother for the purposes of having her take a look before I published something, but never really applied it. I’d also learned that it’s important to edit. I had never seriously edited before, and decided to do it for a piece I had high hopes for, Water Phoenix, in hopes of making it the best I could. Mash those two scenarios together, and… Uhh.
In the past, I had never really felt that my family had the time to look over my work and provide feedback. Now that I have some other writer friends, I hope I can do better in this area. Which leads nicely into the next point… Perhaps too nicely, but eh.
Talking to other writers is important. Before, I would always be talking about my writing to people working in other fields. The issue here is that I didn’t have a place where I could discuss my work seriously. Before going to Susquehanna, I would try and talk to one of four groups of people about my writing, which failed in different ways: My mom and pop support my work and try to give me the best advice they can from their experience, but ultimately they aren’t creative writers. My sisters are another story altogether. There is one writer friend I talked to occasionally on Facebook, but it’s never a guarantee that she’s there to talk to and she doesn’t really know my work that well. And finally, whenever I try to talk to other people about it who are outside the field, they rarely know me or my work well enough to talk about. In fact they never do because I have practically lost contact with all of the friends I made in school. However, talking to peers in my field was incredibly helpful because they not only knew the subject matter, but could make good suggestions and ask serious questions about the story and plot.
It’s also really motivating to have other writers in the room writing with me. I dunno about you, but if I hear other people typing when I’m working it almost turns into a game to see who can type faster. 😀
I’m trying to think up other things, but I can’t remember them right now and I couldn’t remember them a week ago when I was trying to write this post originally. So, I’m going to leave it here. I hope this is insightful, and happy writing~!