Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I joined a writers' group last March. I was enthusiastic about the group.

I was looking for a peer group to have my work judged, encouraged, revised and corrected. perhaps I set my expectations too high.
last September, I took up singing in a women's choir. Since sessions overlap, I preferred singing.
I am still on the mailing list and can reach anyone I wish; I know about the events (e.g. public readings) going on, I receive the monthly assignments via email.
but I don't actually get to those monthly meetings. I miss the lectures, the practical instructions, the on-the-spot exercises, and most of all, feedback.

To be honest, I've never found the amount of feedback sufficient enough in these meetings either.
Especially in the case of those home-works. I think designating homeworks is a great idea. None is expected to came out with the next piece worthy of a new Nobel-prize in literature. None believes these home assignments are the best pieces of one's either . They are exercises, and should be considered as such. They all need a revision.

For example, the latest task was to write a dialogues for stage performance. The limit was one page. We had to focus on the movements, bodily actions of the speakers. The main task was to write an accurate, minute decription of the participiants. There were three themes, and we had to write one dialogue per each theme.
I wrote two dialogues, and compressed as many sorts of body movements as possible. I visualized my characters on stage. Sometimes I added a verbal (spoken) line or two just for the sake of adding more actions to the scene.
I submitted my work to the group.
I expected a feedback on my job along the lines of... 'scene1 is not realistic, because the female character moves too much. such movements are not justified by the theme. Scene2 is better. there is a definite action-reaction going on between the movements of the two characters' or... you know... something like this. something very short would have sufficed for the purpose quite fine.
but you know what?
I received no feedback at all.
I know people are busy... everyone is.
erm, everyone, including me.
a home work is a job for both parts.
I do expect a teacher to revise and comment on the job I've done.
that's what teachers are for.
the result?
I somehow no longer find time to do the homeworks.
I am very sorry to have gone through this experience.
on the mailing list however, I came up with the idea of setting up a blog where we can debate over the piece of writing. in the case of a invited-commenters-only version, privacy and publishing rights issues are not a problem.
the reply from the administrator of the mailing list was that there was a blog for this purpose, but it was not used.... well... it was not advertised among the members of the group.... it was not a really alive blog either :S
no other reply to my idea turned up on the list either.... :S
so I keep on reading your blogs (listed on the right bar beside the body of the post), keep picking up information, experiences, hints and experiments about and with writing.
I write whenever I have to, and stick to it. that's all.
how do you get sufficient feedback? what is your opinion about an appropriate feedback, anyway? :)
your bitter but faithful reader.