Since I'm switching around and working on two novels actively, with a third simmering on a back burner (is your brain like a stovetop, too?)--I need a group that will hang with me as I alternate between the novel excerpts I bring to the group each week. I had one character tossing a tennis ball around, so of course, somebody sharp had to ask, "Where did the tennis ball come from? What's the story with that?" The others chimed in--they want to know, too. I had to give that some thought, but it came to me pretty quickly. When I got home, I began my editing--adding in suggestions from the group, including the story of the tennis ball. I sort of ignored some of their ideas about what it might mean (she was a former star tennis player??) and used it to help create a picture of her office environment. She's come down in the world from being on her way to a partnership in a huge legal practice to a crummy building where former tenants leave things behind (dirt, chipped light fixtures, and tennis balls) and nobody cleans it up. I see her office as a reflection of the crummy life she now has to climb out of. Now, what would I have done without them insisting they needed to know about the tennis ball?
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Praise the Lord and send in the critique group!
Okay, I know I'm constantly yammering about my critique group. I can't figure out why we all clicked so well, but these women hold me accountable and tell me terrible truths about my writing--things I need to pay attention to if I want my book to really zing along.