Friday, June 02, 2006

working writers

For the past two weeks, our lit crit/writing group has been critiquing original fiction by the writer-members. The overall quality of the six pieces discussed and workshopped is quite good. Two of the stories are ready for publication, while others will soon be so after some tweaks and rewrites. In a few weeks we'll be critiquing a new set of stories by all of us, written in June/July. I'm happy that we are all gungho on writing and open to critiques that lead to improvements in terms of craft.

It is a learning process for all of us, as we deal with the dual modes of writer and critic, and it leads to long and interesting discussions. Last night, for example, we spoke about point of attack, literary aesthetics, the subjectivity of subject matter, thematic patterns, expository techniques, surrealism, psychological space, the unreliable narrator, story structure, prolepsis/analepsis, and several other craft-related things. It is important for writers to understand what they are doing and how they go about it. At certain point, you do not just "write a story", you create it using tools of craft with a lot of thought (which is not to say you cannot just write when you're in "the zone", but certainly in the post-zone rewrites, craft comes in).

The best thing for me, in the midst of all these writerly concepts, is reading new fiction - seeing the first draft worked until it tells the story in the best way it can. And knowing that the writers have more stories to tell.


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