Writers in the Storm

A blog about writing

storm moving across a field
September 4, 2010

Three weeks ago at Crit Group

Oh, shoot me. It's been three weeks that I've licked my wounds enough to write this. My beloved friends hated, I mean really hated, Chapter Eight. They said my character would never have made the choice she did.

Now, normally, I don't argue with their opinions, because they are talented writers and adept readers. If they say something doesn't work, it doesn't work on some level and must be re-written. But this character came about as a form of catharsis after the death of my father. And I know her like the back of my hand. Apparently not, because not a one of my critique partners agreed with what she did. They said she would never have chosen to do what I "made" her do.

In the interim, I've thought about my husband's answer years ago to "Why did you fall in love with me?" My alpha-male-to-the max husband said, "Because you're not a normal woman." Well, after I almost cold-cocked him, he explained that I didn't behave like most women. He reeled off his list of "typical" female behaviors. His comment still makes sense because I was "socialized" by a pack of wolves taking the same physics and math classes. My geeky guy friends had no more social skills than I had. With no close female friends during those formative years--thank goodness that's very different now!--I still, obviously, at times think as I did years ago.

So I've examined my heroine's actions and revised them for her true character, instead of forcing her to do what I would have done. Interesting how we conceive a character, but that character grows beyond us into her own person. I guess that's one reason I write.

0 comments on “Three weeks ago at Crit Group”

  1. I know just how you feel, Fae. I've done the same. Hard to change the traits of a heroine when they're yours - feels like a personal attack! But if the trait is so eccentric that you have to go find readers that would understand it, you're going to have problems selling. And that's the LAST thing your crit-groupies want!

  2. Thanks, Laura. In such cases, thick-skin is also a great trait as a writer. The wonderful thing is, I know my critique group wants the book to be as good as it can be. When I get choke-chained, once I settle down, I know whatever has been said is given in the best interest of my characters and plot. That's why I need my writer friends. Otherwise I'd go on my merry way and never have a clue why an editor didn't snap up my precious words!

    Keep writing.


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