Saturday, March 27, 2010

Trying new things.

With my last book I used friends and relatives as beta readers.  However, most of my social sphere is comprised of people from a fairly conservative religion, a religion I left several years ago.  My current WIP is, in a lot of ways, incompatible with the way of life this religion champions.  I need new beta readers.

I met a couple of writers, one published, one aspiring, at the community readings I've attended over the last couple of months.  Within the last week both asked me to be part of a critique group. 

I sent out the need.  The universe provided.  Damn, if I would have known that was the wish the universe would choose to grant I would have used it on something way more worthwhile.  World peace anyone?

But, hey, who am I to question to cosmos, so I agreed to go to both groups' meetings.  The first one was today.  And I think it went pretty well except all members of it are also members of the aforementioned conservative religion.  Nuts!  Should have been more specific with my wish.  However, the guy that started the group seems to be pretty open minded and not averse to dealing with some dark material and he's published.  So that's good.

The other group's meeting is next month and I'm looking forward to that, but I'm also a little nervous to be a part of either group.  I've critiqued other writer's work before but it was always with this sense of 'I don't know what the crap I'm doing.  How can I tell you what to do?'  Also I don't want to be a dream crusher.  Also I don't want my dreams crushed. 

Despite my worries I plan to persist with this whole critique group thing in hopes that I'll get something helpful out of it and perhaps be able to be of help to someone else.  I guess to sum up here's to trying new things *raises glass*( Don't worry.  It's sparkling cider.  None of the heavy stuff for prego me). 

Stay tuned to see how this particular new thing works out and if anyone out there has any advice on how to conduct one's self in a critique group I'd love to hear it.


KarenG said...

Religion and writing don't go together very well, imho, because I don't think spiritual things translate well in fiction. I'm talking agendas here, NOT truth, because truth MUST be in fiction-- in how characters react & respond, in how plot turns play out. That said, I would think that if the writers in this critique group are serious about their craft, then one's religious beliefs, or not, shouldn't play into any of it. If the members of the group are all about pushing agendas in their writing, then it's probably not for you (I know it wouldn't be for me, even if I shared their beliefs!) But if they're all about the writing, and the craft of writing, then it should work out well for all of you. Good luck!

Tahereh said...

hey angie!! best of luck with your new search -- have you checked out the AW forums yet?? if not, definitely look into it helps tons with finding a great writing community and beta readers for your work.

fingers crossed for your success!! :D

angfla said...

Karen, I don't yet get the feeling that there's an agenda, but I agree with you. If I get an inkling that there is I'll probably bow out. It's more just a problem of differing veiwpoints of what's 'appropriate' I guess. My new WIP has some language and sex. And I don't want to offend anyone, but at the same time I don't want to detract as you said from the truth of the work. I'm hoping they are all definitely there, as I am, to hone my craft.

Tahereh,thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I'm a lurker over at AW. The forums are great. I'm not sure why I haven't got up the guts to sign up and comment yet. Silly I know, but I'll get there eventually.