Friday, December 30, 2011

THTH : the basics

Work to be read is distributed the week before on Thursdays. 

Critique is on Thursdays at 11 am eastern time zone in google chat. If you are a part of the group you will be invited to the chat if you are online at that hour. 

During the hour before (at least by 10:30 est) critters will deliver a critique narrative. The narrative includes things the reader liked and saw possibility in along with problems. I also believe that our job as readers to try and give feedback appropriate to where the writer is in process. It seems like many of us are going to float things to the group that are realitively new and unseen by other eyes. So the most helpful kinds of feedback will encourage the writer to work forward and help them see what our readerly response is to the writing, subject, characters and setting.

That said, as the writer being critiqued our job is to stay out of the discussion and try to hear the chat dispassionately. Reading is a subjective act and everyone's response will come from different places. Our goal as writers is to figure out how to influence those responses with our prose. So, writers, listen to the chat with the vision you have of your work in mind! Perhaps paste a picture of that vision behind your computer but remember that that is what is important and not necessarily what the critters want from your work but what you have seen in your mind's eye for it all along. Your job is to learn and experiment until you can create that vision on the page. It's yours, that is what makes it special.

Here are two things you can take from a critique:
1. Learn how the reader responds to your specific story. Are the readers seeing what you want them to see?
2. Listen closely to how readers respond to different craft choices and learn to wield them like weapons. What are these words causing them to see, understand?

Learn from each crit how prose works and what to try next time (this is something you can also learn from fellow critters when critting someone else's work).

We shall meet at google chat. I will make sure that the group chat gets started (anyone can start it, I am just happy to be the point person). The readers shall use the narratives as the jumping off point for discussion. The writer can ask that the readers discuss specific questions. Readers can ask the writer for clarification. But the most helpful thing would be for readers to discuss the work without explanations, justifications or input.

(Thank you Tina for typing up our guidelines!)