Friday, April 23, 2010
Snowbird--Wrong and Right
Snowbird came back from her southern island and re-entered the critique circle, which I was quite cozy with by then. She looked at the first sentence of my week's output and said, "Cross this phrase out, you don't need it." "Get rid of this 'was' and the word 'never.'" "In the second sentence, why are you saying 'in the house?' Everyone knows it's in the house, delete that phrase." "Tighten this third sentence up by..." Sentence by sentence, word by word, she was re-writing my chapter. I was furious. Had the woman no sense of how to give constructive criticism? I gave her a glare that would have stopped a rhino. The next time she opened her mouth to re-write what I had written, I glared fiercely at her. Eventually, she got the message and quit re-writing. That was a year-and-a-half ago, and I have now matured enough in my writing to realize her corrections were exactly what I needed to do. I wish, though, she had said, "You're over-writing and it looks amateurish. You need to go back and pare this down to nice tight sentences that flow smoothly." Now THAT I would have understood. And now that I'm writing less amateurishly, I look forward to her return north. It is hoped that she will have fewer edits, and no doubt she hopes that I will quit glaring at her.