Friday, May 9, 2008


After a nice stretch of warm sunshiney days (Cheese even hooked the hose up to the top of the swingset so it would drench him as he would swing), we are on our second day of rain, but tis good for the flowers so I don't mind. I even ran out earlier and tucked a few seeds into the ground, I am never very good about remembering to keep seeds moist in the beginning so they can germinate and grow, so I thought as it is raining, and supposed to continue raining off and on for several days, I should let God water them. God's watering I notice is much more thorough than mine.

I have two empty binders staring at me from across the room. I have set them there for that purpose on purpose. My mom told me earlier this week that she, and my cousin, and grandmother have all volunteered to read my story. Either the whole rough draft (whenever I manage to be done), or chapter by chapter (which is a bit scarier as I could start doing that um....right now, tightening up each section then sending it out). I know it isn't often considered ideal to have family members reading one's attempts at writing, but I do need feed-back and they did (under what circumstance of talking to my mom, I do not know) offer. The idea of actually having readers/someone read the story is really exciting, and really really terrifying. It is also motivating, to get it done (they are waiting, expecting me to hand it to them any minute) and to get it done well enough to not feel a huge barrage of horrible emotions at the thought of someone peering at the pages. The binders? Well there should be a third, they are what the draft will go into, before I hand it out to them. They are propped up to call to me, finish, fill me, finish, fill me.
It is intimate this sort of sharing. I would be handing out a piece of me, one not usually seen (not ever seen?). I can think of no work it reminds me of that I would be able to hand it to them and say, you know it is kind of like this story, or that, so they would be prepared and look at it in that kind of light. I'll just tell them "it's a fantasy story only it isn't" and leave it at that. And I'll set down questions for them concerning the story, so as to prompt usefull feed-back.
I am hoping they will be helpful and kind (honest, but in the kindest way possible),
I am concerned they will just think it odd.
yeah, even more so than badly written, which hopefully one can learn one's way out of, work on and improve, if they think me, the story, incredibly weird, and the whole thing just oddball chaos, then...oh
(crazy crazy crazy, but it is music to me)
(sentimental saccharine, my tongue tastes ripe sweet fruit)
And then too death is there, and I worry that might hurt them. (knowing as I do, their loss)
I don't want to hurt them

Well thinking about writing it isn't the same as writing it, off I go.
If someone should happen by and read this,
what do you think-
give them the full rough draft
or
chapter by chapter?
Or do you think the whole enterprise too risky, and I best hide under a rock instead?

9 comments:

Mediterranean Views said...

Hi, Just happened by, so as you asked for opinions...try chapter by chapter, that way you break up the monumental task of re-vision into manageable chunks. This method is feedback in and of iteslef, if they beg you for the next chapter then you've done well at hooking the reader, if not, well then there's some valuable feedback too.
Wish I were a family member to get that priveledge!!
Hugs and encouragement from Spain,
Amy

bleeding espresso said...

I've been a voluntary reader (I'm here if you need another set of eyes!) for a writer friend, and I actually prefer the whole thing at once; that way I didn't feel pressure if something came up and I couldn't read for a few days (if I had only had one chapter, she probably would've thought it was out of boredom, etc., that I wasn't saying anything or tearing through it, but honestly I was busy!).

Anyhoo, I'm nervous for you sharing yourself in this way. It's definitely not an easy thing to do, but so inspiring to the rest of us :)

Taffiny said...

Amy,

Thanks for the insights.

It would be less overwhelming for them as readers and for me, that way. My only hesitancy, is I am afraid I will be sluggish with doing certian parts and we will lose any chance of flow/ seeing how it all feels together.
Also as I am not fully done with the draft if I focus on them needing whole draft, that is a good push forward, but if I focus on them needing the first chapter, I very well might stop working on the part of the draft I am on at present and start trying to tidy up Chapter one instead.
I guess I will finish the draft, then rework chapter one, then....decide how to send it out.
Maybe I will give them a choice.

Thanks for thinking of it as a privilege (nasty word, I spelled it wrong 8 times, before I forced my computer to tell me how to spell it. I kept putting a's in it) for them to get to read it. I'm nervous at the thought of the words they might use to describe the experience after they have stepped into it. (I like your vote of confidence :) and thank you for the hugs and encouragement )


B. Espresso,

Thanks for the offer (depending on how it goes with the family, as long as I still have some hope for the work after they have read it and told me what they think, I will use their insights and then do a better draft, and then once again gathering my courage...I probably will be looking for more eyes. So don't be surprised if my eyes look to you :) ).

Thanks for the chapter versus whole insight. Hmmm..I'm just not sure, well I'll just see how it feels to me when I get to that point.
I am just trying to wrap my head around the idea that it will at some point be done, and then done enough for people to read it, and that there might actually be people I can get to read it (or at least part of it. The beginning. Page 1).

I am nervous for me too! Inspiring is a nice word. I did talk this intimate sharing point over a bit with my mom, and she said she knew that, they understand. I realized it means a lot to her that I would be willing to let her (and them) see this part of me. I am quite shy, except for a bit of silly babble that flows out in gusts of nervous excitment, so this, this will be guite different, and this, this will really be seeing me. And she wants me to be that brave, and to trust her (trust my family) that much.

Oh goodness though, when I do ( I won't type if, it is when) there will be a posts full of whining and fear "oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!".

Absolute Vanilla (& Atyllah) said...

Taff, I think it's actually necessary to do chapter by chapter and when you've worked with the revisions that flow from that, to have the whole thing read. Chapter by chapter allows the reader to focus on detail, characterisation, style, language etc. A full read allows the reader to focus on plot and storyline, to see whether the story flows together as a whole.
Critiques are incredibly important to every writer, it is from them, and from critiquing the work of others, that we grow as writers. However, you need to get someone objective and well versed in the art and craft of writing to work with. Friends and family, I'm afraid, are just too well meaning and will very seldom what you really need to know about your work.
I'd seriously suggest you consider joining a critique group - there are many online and perhaps once you've got over showing your writing to your mom and family, you'll be ready to look at that option. But, you'll have to ready to have a thick skin because critiquing can inevitably leave one feeling a little bruised as people tell you what doesn't work or what they don't like - though it's never intentional. It's a tender, delicate process and you must be ready for it. At the same time, you need to be ready for it one day, because, again, this is how we grow as writers.

strugglingwriter said...

Having the family read it is a good start. You surely need someone other than yourself read you work.

A couple problems I have with family reading my stuff:

1. I often get answers like, "That was good" or "Good work" rather than what exactly they liked or what-not.

2. I get more snippy with comments from family. This is a personality flaw of mine I'm working on.

These don't stop me from giving them stuff to read, but these are reasons why it's nice to have my critique group as well.

JaneyV said...

I think that you've had a lot of good advice here. I'd finish your draft and give the completed document to our Family members to read. This will get you over the hump of sharing something deeply personal with others. They may not be the best people to critique the draft though for all the reasons that Vanilla laid out. And that's the reason I think they should have the completed first draft. You might be tempted to make changes based on their evaluation if you do it chapter by chapter which you might regret. Ask them what they think of the story and characters and them when you're feeling braver (with that thick skin you need) ask your critique group (if you can find one) to help you with the more technical bones of it.

Sorry I haven't been by recently. I left you a comment on your Bottom Of Junk Drawer post too.

Beautiful tulip picture!

Taffiny said...

Vanilla,

Thanks.

Saying what you said.
So it is both, starting with chapter by chapter, then going to a whole read through.
Getting those versed in writing to read draft is the goal, but whimps like me, can start out with family and friends, as a stepping stone type of option.

Paul,

I like the word snippy. ( but yeah, not the experience). I could get snippy with my husband but the others will be safe.

Good things to consider, thanks for telling me about them.

I guess I really do need to work my way up to some sort of critique group, it is just that I am scared to go to any such group even without the whole showing my work and having it evaluated part, just the being with the people I don't know thing seems like a lot.

Janeyv,

That sounds like a plan to me! :)

Oh goodness please do not apologize, I have been very bad at visiting people lately. I just keep losing time. Where, where, where, does it go? I am happy to see you whenever you can stop by.

Thanks.

mutleythedog said...

Hmmmm....

I have been putting my stuff a chapter at a time on my alloted span blog... some people read it and make encouraging remarks..

Taffiny said...

M. Dog,

That is good, and bold of you. I am glad people read, and encourage your story.

I still hold to the dear notion, a dream, that a story of mine (the story Echo) will be in book form some day. True getting more feedback on a project now would help improve my writing thus improve my future chances of publication, but I couldn't put this story on my blog now, for fear it would hurt its chances of ever being published. But I will do it eventually if it seems clear it has no other chance of being read (except for by my mom).

I should probably do that with some other writing though, stories that don't feel so fragile and valuable to me. I know my writing needs a lot of tidying up. ( I know it needs more than that, but tidying sounds lots better than over-hauling)

Thanks.

Keep on typing.