I did the two crits I had planned to, and wrote about it here over the last few entries. I wrote two crits, one for an author who was at the mieeting and one who was not. The one who was there had also worked on a writing for me. We both looked at Na No excerpts for the other. I liked hers, interesting word choices and phrases, and so forth. I had a few comments and "corrections" and only one overall problem. The story take splace largely in a cafe, and the word cafe is used probably 15 times in the first few pages. I commented that maybe there existed synonyms that would work as well. Such as bistro. Such as joint. Such as coffee shop . . . whatever. But overall it had a very nice feel and I am intrigued about the story. She did actually finish the story, though she did not like the finish of it. Anyway, I think I was helpful, and certainly not overly negative.
She gave me her crit of my work, and it was helpful and overall pretty positive. I did not get my feelings hurt, and I appreciate the way this group seems to do crits. These crits were not posted online, as the original works were not posted online, either. This seems to be the way this group operates, which is cool to me. She said she liked the building of tension between the two characters, and had the feeling that she wanted to know what was going to happen next to Annie and Brian. I should have told her that this excerpt is from the middle of the book, actually about a quarter of the way through, and not the first chapter, as she may have thought. She liked the dialog, which sounded natural, but did not like the narrative, which she found sometimes rough, as it does read more like narrative. Since this is first person, I do not think that is critical, but I will think about it as I revise. She also didi not like the dual fist perosn POV thing, which I am going to keep nonetheless because it is absolutely critical to the novel. I think the interior thoughts and voices and attitudes of the two are key to the story. So that I am going to keep. I appreciate the crits I have gotten and the way that the group does those crits.
Then we moved on to the homework from the last meeting. This was the A S L story that I wrote. None of the other two attendees at the meeting had accomplished this feat, so after tsk tsk tsk-ing them appropriately, I went ahead and read what I wrote. They seemed to like it and they seemed to laugh at the right parts, so that was pleasant. The others talked about their writings and we talked about the future of the group and the future of the what we are going to do. We did a few exercises, which I will recount at a later date, because right now I do not have the notes of what I wrote at the meeting. But it was a good assignment and a good time and I will tell you all about it soon. The next meeting . . . in a month . . . will have an assignment similar to what we did at the meeting, so I will tell you all about that at that time, as well.
Then we retired to the kitchen for snack time, a wonderful innovation that I heartily support. We chatted about our writing, but mostly about the group. Our master plan is to move to two meetings a month, one at a person's home, probably the same person's home to alleviate the feeling that everyone has to host and to get us comfortable in one setting, and the second meeting would be back at Borders. The first meeting (at the home) would be the writing meeting, where we do writing exercises, when assignments would be "due", etc . . . this might be a better location, it will be quieter, no strangers around . . . and the second meeting of the month would be more of a social and a talk about writing. For example, for the meeting in 2 weeks, we will be discussing any book that has had an influence on our lives or our writing. I am leaning towards "Tess" by Thomas Hardy. I have read the book twice, once in high school in AP English which must have been twelfth grade and then again as a young married person when I was still an auditor at M & P. Both times were important to me in my reading and writing life, which was the start of my overall creative life and began to fill out the skeletons of my writing life. I cannot think of any other book that has had such a profound impact on my life and on my writing.