Perception part 2 : Too close

I know I praise the merits of a crit group often, but I think this last week was a real clear reminder of it for me.

We’ve got a few really really really talented writers, really. As in “they’re so bad ass I feel like a complete newbie when I read their stuff.” There were times when I couldn’t give anything in the way of critique because their first drafts were so solid. (fuck you, Dan)

While they’re total badasses, they still bring in their work, and with good reason. This last week a couple of them were writing furiously while we were giving them our thoughts. They walked away with some really solid critique and I thought, “why the hell are they taking advice from n00bs like me??”

Perspective. We has it. 

I fell into this category too – I brought in a section I was ok with, but it turns out that in some places I’m too close to the text, so I don’t have perspective on it. They pointed out some rather large, glaring structure problems, and I’m not talking about bad sentences. I’m talking about “hey you already had the climax, why are we still doing X and Y?” Whoa. 

See, an artist SHOULD be pretty damn involved in their work, at least if they’re interested in making it good. The problem with that is this : we’re human, and we tend to (not always, but most of the time) lose perspective on something we’re really close to. 


About benjamininn

About myself are papers, lots of tea, computer monitors, a stapler, pens, an ancient phone, more tea, some paperclips, and a lot of air.
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2 Responses to Perception part 2 : Too close

  1. Word. I was actually just emailing with Russ about this, sort of. I think part of it is that anyone can critique anyone. Often we tend to conflate writing skill with critiquing skill, but they’re not always directly connected, and certainly not mutually inclusive. Of course a pro would likely have a lot of advice to offer a noob, but a noob can push a pro to be better, assuming the pro is open to critique. And I think most really good writers are aware of that, and don’t discount any critique based solely on who it’s coming from. I believe that’s because the best writers always want to be better. That’s what breaks my heart about famous authors who get too big for their britches and stop listening to their CPs and editors.


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